They’re staples for a reason, they fill you quickly and are readily affordable. I’m talking about staples that people have eaten for ages now… noodles, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, and beans. I probably missed some fancier ones, because this is all about eating on the cheap. We’ll devote a post to each staple, starting with noodles. I briefly mentioned pasta/ramen noodles before because noodles are a very cost-effective way (and easy because who has time) for turning a side dish into the main meal.

Any cream-based soup can become a great pasta sauce. Add noodles into broth-based soups for a filling meal. Toss pasta noodles with olive oil, a can of tuna, and some veggies for an instant pasta salad. If you must eat out, don’t get pasta because it’s too damn cheap/easy to make. Cooking pasta is fast and easy, but if you really can’t spare the 15-20 minutes to do it when you’re hungry, make it ahead of time, and throw it in the freezer. That’s what you buy when you get those frozen pasta entrées anyway. When making pasta, the noodles will cost you less than a dollar a pound, so it’s almost like paying $5-$9 for sauce when you buy a pasta entrée. You can do this when your income is higher, but if you’re living off a stipend, save your money and make your own darned pasta.

Here’s a ridiculously easy-to-make pasta recipe, courtesy of Campbell’s soups:
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken and Mushroom Soup (50 cents a can on sale)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (Hello Costco $5 chicken!)
3 cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
Chopped fresh parsley (you can get bunches of these for less than 20 cents on sale at the international markets)
+Whatever random seasonings you like

It’s supposed to make four servings, but I’ve personally found the recipe to be too salty as is, so usually I just use 1 pound (uncooked dry weight) of cooked pasta, which means a lot of frozen pasta entrées afterwards. For variety, you can substitute the cream of chicken with clam chowder and the cubed chicken with canned tuna.


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