College / Cooking / How To

Adventures in cheap dinners.

I’m currently in the middle of more pre-semester drama. I would explain but, hell, I am still confused. I’m sure the crazy amount of coffee I’m drinking isn’t helping my nerves but it is convincing my remaining bit of sanity from jumping ship. Maybe this is the universe telling me to be happy, thrilled even!, that I graduate in a few months. ‘Look how insane university is,’ it’s saying. ‘Get out now! Save yourself!’

Note: My coffee is a homemade dirty vanilla chai iced latte. And it is awesome. Tutorial? I’m thinking it should happen.

That being said, I’m stuck in the waiting portion of the day. I suppose I’ll use this time to catch up on Pinterest, plan ahead, make lists, respond to emails… And blog!

I haven’t had much of an appetite this week. I feel fine, just not too hungry. Last night I starting thinking about the teeny amount of protein I’d received in the previous days and decided to make one of my favorite, easy meals: chicken fajitas.

For college students, or other cheapskates/budgeters/busy people, fajitas are an incredibly cost and time efficient meal. I use a handful of pre-mixed frozen peppers and onions, threw in some frozen corn, then add pre-cooked chicken breast strips. Ta da. Super easy. I’m sure if you like — gag — cheese, this takes a second longer.

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I’m not assuming you don’t realize how to make fajitas, but perhaps you forgot about them like I did. It took me all of five minutes to cook dinner for myself and I was able to prepare just enough for me. This is great for nights when Lance is working or eating something I don’t like, or even to bring to work (the one with the fridge) for lunch!

While I can’t find reliable, realistic online prices for groceries, here is my guess at a price breakdown.

  • Market Pantry Tortillas, 10 pack – $2
  • Trader Joe’s Frozen Pepper and Onion Bag – $2
  • Market Pantry Frozen Sweet Corn Kernels – $2
  • Oscar Meyer Selects Pre-Seasoned, Pre-Cooked Chicken Breast Strips – $4
    Note: This is what we had on hand. We normally use Market Pantry or Tyson frozen, pre-cooked chicken breast strips which are roughly$6 for a much bigger package.

Let’s assume you buy the frozen bag of chicken, mainly because it is practical but also because I ate all of the Oscar Meyer chicken and can’t remember how many servings it would have created. Using the giant frozen bag you could easily make 10 single fajitas (5 servings for someone my sized) for $12, which breaks down to $2.40/serving. Even better, use coupons and sale prices to get the items lower. A normal sale/coupon combo price for me would be $7 for the frozen veggies, frozen chicken, and tortillas. That ends up costing $1.40/serving. And it took five minutes. Why have I not been making these on a weekly basis?

Now that I’ve seen the numbers and tasted the awesomeness that is chicken with peppers and onions in a tortilla, I’m sold. Cheap and quick dinners for everyone!

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