4 delicious and easy meals with student budget

Eating cheap and delicious can be challenging when you are student and your food budget is limited. However, there are always different ways to eat healthy, easy and delicious by saving money. For this reason, during my blog, I will share some of my simplest and most affordable recipes that you can prepare at home. I will also give some useful advices on how to save money when you buy the groceries.

Chicken tinga

I will start with this typical Mexican dish called “tinga”, which basically consists of pulled breast chicken cooked with a lot of onion, crushed tomatoes, chipotle sauce and pineapple as an optional ingredient. The reason why I really want to share this recipe with all of you, is because it has been in my family for several generations and also because every time I prepare it I feel like home even if am far away.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 2 big onions
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 5 tomatoes or a can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle sauce glass
  • 1 pineaple can (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Slice the onions and stir-fry them in a pre-heated pan until they are golden. In another pot, boil the chicken for around 30-40 minutes and reserve approximately 1 cup of chicken broth. Pull the breasts and add them to the onion together with the broth. Next, add the crushed tomatoes, chopped garlic, salt, pepper and let it cook for 20 minutes at medium heat. When there is not much liquid left, add 3 to 4 big spoons of chipotle sauce, stir everything and finally add the pineapple. This last step is optional, and you can add as much as you like. I always add pineapple because it gives tinga a delicious bittersweet taste.

Tip: You can eat it in taco shells or tortillas and add sour cream (grädfill) and more chipotle sauce or whatever other sauce you like.

Pizza in a pan

Who does not love pizza?! I personally love pizza very, very much! And given that I do not have oven at home and no money to order it very often, I had to sort out how to prepare it myself at home for some weekends. I realised that it is very easy to prepare delicious and even sophisticated pizzas without oven!

Ingredients for 2 personal pizzas:

  • 2 dl flour
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 75 ml warm water
  • 1 big spoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cheese of your choice
  • Toppings of your choice


In a bowl, mix the flour and salt, while you add yeast to the warm water (to activate the yeast). Once the yeast is mixed with the water, add it to the flour together with the olive oil. Knead the dough until you get a non-sticky and consistent dough. Let it rest for 1-2 hours in a warm placed and covered. Once the dough has raised, divide it in 2 even parts. Extend the dough until you have formed a circle that meets the pan circumference. In a pre-heated pan, place the first pizza bottom for 2.5-3 minutes per each side. Once the bottom is cooked, place all the ingredients and microwave for approx. 1.5 minutes. Once the cheese melted, place the pizza for around 2 minutes in the pre-heated pan until the bottom is slightly crunchy.

Vegetarian zucchini lasagne

This is a much healthier version of lasagne which does not contain meat and is low in fat and gluten. I like to make this recipe at home because it lasts up to 3 days for 2 people. Additionally, you can make it either in oven or microwave, at the end the result will be very similar.


  • 2 big zucchinis
  • 3 medium size carrots
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 250 gr mushrooms (your choice)
  • 2 celery branches (optional)
  • 1 garlic glove
  • Tomato sauce
  • 2 big spoons butter or margarine
  • 1 big spoon flour
  • 300 ml milk (approx)
  • Cheese of your choice
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Slice the zucchinis and boil them for approximately 20 minutes or until they have cooked (do not overcook, we do not want them to break down). Once they have cooked, let them rinse and cool down. Next, dice one onion, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms and stir-fry until they have cooked. Add tomato sauce, basil, oregano, pepper and salt and let cook for 10 more minutes. Dice the other onion and stir-fry it with the butter until it gets golden. Then, add the flour and cook for 4-6 minutes until golden-brownish. Finally, add the milk, salt and pepper and stir until you obtain a ticker sauce (bechamel). In a glass refractory (oven-resistant) place the first zucchini layer, followed by a layer of veggies, bechamel and cheese. Repeat this step until you have filled the refractory. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 200°C or microwave for 10-15 minutes.

Meat sauce and mashed potatoes

This is a dish that I learned how to prepare when I was in Finland with my boyfriend’s family, but it seems to be very typical in Sweden as well. It is a very simple and complete meal which consists of minced meat in brown sauce served with soft mashed potatoes and sometimes scratched carrot.

Ingredients for 6 portions:

  • 500 gr minced meat of your choice (I use cow meat)
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 250 gr mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 big spoons flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 75 ml cooking cream
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Basil
  • Paprika powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 big spoon mustard
  • Ketchup (it depends on how you want the taste)


Dice the onion and stir-fry it until golden. Then add the meat, cook for 5 minutes and add diced garlic, mushrooms, paprika, basil, pepper, salt and vinegar. Cook everything together for 5 more minutes. Next, add the flour and stir for 6-7 minutes until the meat has taken a brownish tone. Add the water stirring and subsequently the cream. Incorporate the mustard and ketchup until the sauce has a brown colour (brown sauce) and let sit for 10 minutes at low heat.


I perfectly know that some vegetables and meat products are not always very cheap and for this reason I will give you some advices on how to boost your food budget.

  • Check the week supermarket sales, they usually have very good ones
  • If there are sales of meat products, buy extra ones so you can have frozen reserves
  • Buy canned products, such as mushrooms or tomato sauce
  • Get your supermarket membership, this will give you access to special sales


These were my recipes; I hope you liked them and that you try them some time at home. Remember that you can always accompany your meals with fresh salads to make them even more complete and balanced.


If you have questions, don’t hesitate and contact me!


Aline Colonnello: gloria.aline.colonnello.montero@stud.ki.se

Aline Colonnello - Toxicology

Aline Colonnello - Toxicology

My name is Aline Colonnello Montero, I am twenty five years old and I come from the wonderful but busy Mexico City. I consider myself to be a perseverant person who works hard to meet all my goals and ambitions. I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and I currently study the Master’s programme in Toxicology at Karolinska Institutet. My job as part of the digital ambassadors’ team consists on writing blogs




I'm going to try that Chicken Tinga. Thanks! I also go with hummus and bread for a quick and cheap lunch sometimes. Cajun red beans and rice mixed with some tomato sauce and spices for dinner occasionally when money is low.

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