Gourmet meals on a student budget

Gathering friends around a table to chow down on homemade eats is a great way to kick off the school year and catch up after a summer apart. Here are four easy recipes that all cost less than $10 to make.

Brunch: Frittata with feta and sundried tomatoes. Serves four.

What you’ll need:

  • Sundried tomatoes (Safeway) $3.54
  • 6 eggs (Safeway) $1.49
  • 1 container of feta cheese (TJ’s) $2.99
  • Total Cost: $8.02

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle oil in a ten-inch skillet on medium heat. Add sundried tomatoes and any spices you have on hand – garlic, thyme and oregano work well. Lightly beat six eggs in a large bowl, then add salt, pepper and a little milk. Add 1/3 cup of feta cheese into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture onto the skillet and lightly stir until eggs set. Once the bottom is firm, place in the oven for four minutes or until the frittata is set and dry to the touch. Serve with your favorite bread and jam and you have a delicious brunch.

Lunch: Grilled cheese with pesto and sautéed red peppers. Serves two.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 red pepper (TJ’s) $1.99
  • Sourdough bread (Safeway) $2.39
  • 1 can of pesto (TJ’s) $2.49
  • New Zealand cheddar cheese (TJ’s) $2.99
  • Total Cost: $9.86

Cut the red pepper into long vertical slices and sauté in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until they are soft. Meanwhile, cut thick slabs of sourdough bread and spread the pesto sauce on each piece. Cut several slices of the cheddar and place it between the bread. Once peppers are soft, remove from heat and place them in the sandwich. Butter the outsides of the bread and grill the sandwich until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is oozing out the sides.

Dinner: Ginger sesame steak with black bean and tomato salad; lime corn on the cob. Serves two.

What you’ll need:

  • Beef pepper steak (Safeway) $3.87
  • Sesame ginger dressing (TJ’s) $1.99
  • 2 limes (TJ’s) $0.58
  • 1 can of black beans (TJ’s) $1.09
  • 2 tomatoes (Safeway) $0.90
  • 2 ears of corn (TJ’s) $0.78
  • Total Cost: $9.21

Place the steak in a plastic bag and fill it with about a third of the ginger sesame dressing bottle, the juice of one lime, salt and pepper. Let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Drain the black beans and place them in a bowl. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the beans. Season with salt, pepper and half a lime. If you have any peppers, cilantro or feta around, they would also be great additions.

Shuck the corn and place in boiling water for ten minutes. Take corn out of the water, brush ears with butter, salt, lime and whatever else you desire – chili powder adds a kick.

Heat a skillet on medium to high heat with a little olive oil. Place the steak on the skillet and add the remaining marinade. The meat only needs about a minute on each side. Check that the meat is cooked to your liking and let it cool on a plate for a few minutes before eating.

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