Food For Thought and Your Wallet


Peanut butter rice cake

Cooking on a college student’s budget is often difficult to do, but hopefully these recipes might help inspire some new additions that are relatively cheap and can last a couple of days. Some of the ingredients are “staples” that should in your fridge or your cabinets (such as honey, olive oil, butter, etc.,) The initial cost might be high but you can use those ingredients in other meals or snacks down the line.


Peanut Butter Rice Cakes

Makes 1-3 servings


2 rice cakes

2 ounces peanut butter (a small jar is 16-ounces)

1 banana, sliced

2 ounces honey



Spread as much peanut butter on one side of your rice cake as desired. 

Drizzle honey on the peanut butter. 

Slice your banana and place on top of peanut butter.

Drizzle honey on top and enjoy.



Rice cakes: $2.99

Peanut butter: $1.99

Bananas: $0.76 (i got 4 for $0.19)

Honey: $5.99

Total: $11.73



Parmesan Mushroom & Broccoli Penne


16 ounces penne pasta (1 box)

1 cup broccoli, frozen

2 ½ tablespoons butter

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup of Parmesan

1 tablespoon olive oil



Boil a pot of water that is large enough to hold all the pasta. 

Add a pinch of salt to water and bring to a boil. 

Add the desired amount of pasta to water (I used about ¾ of the box). 

Cook for about 10 minutes. Taste pasta and see if it’s to your liking. 

While pasta is cooking, take out the broccoli so it can semi-defrost. 

Slice mushrooms and chop garlic. 

Cook broccoli and mushrooms in another pan.

Drain pasta then pour back in the pot and place on the stove on low heat.

Add in the broccoli, mushrooms, butter, olive oil and parmesan cheese. 

Dish and serve. (add more parmesan if it is not cheesy enough)



Butter: $2.99

Penne Pasta: $1.29

Mushrooms: $1.79

Frozen Broccoli: $1.69

Garlic: $0.29

Parmesan: $2.99

Olive oil: $3.95

Total: $14.70



English Muffin Sandwich

Makes one serving


1 english muffin

1 egg

1 slice cheddar cheese

1 red onion, sliced

3 leaves spinach



Toast English muffin (it can be warmed in a frying pan if you don’t have a toaster). 

Fry egg (I keep the yolk intact that way it’s runny. However you like your eggs will work.)

Slice a ring of red onion. 

Build your sandwich: English muffin, cheese, egg, onion and spinach. 

Start your day off deliciously.



English muffin: $1.69

Eggs (half dozen): $2.49

Cheddar cheese: $3.99

Red onion: $0.89

Spinach: $1.99

Total: $11.05



Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon)

Makes multiple servings


1 pack rice paper

1 pack Banh Pho noodles

1 head leaf lettuce

1 bunch cilantro

1-3 Portobello mushroom

1 pack bean sprouts

2-4 slivered carrots



Hoisin sauce


Roasted peanuts



Rice paper: $1.88

Banh Pho noodles: $3.99

Leaf lettuce: $2.49

Cilantro: $0.99

Portobello mushroom: $3.99/lb

Bean sprouts: $3.49

Slivered carrots: $2.50

Hoisin sauce: $5.98

Sriracha: $3.49

Roasted peanuts: $1.28/lb

Total: $30.08



Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Fill a plate or shallow bowl big enough to fit the rice paper with warm water.

Place noodles inside a strainer and dip them and the strainer in the boiling water. Let them cook for no more than 2 minutes or until the noodles are soft but firm.

Rinse under cold water (make sure they’re constantly wet so they don’t stick together).

Put rice paper in the plate or shallow bowl with warm water and let them soak for 30 seconds.

Wet a counter and spread out rice paper on top.

Place down a piece of leaf lettuce, grab a small roll of noodles and place them on top of the lettuce. Add cilantro on top.

Thinly slice portobello tops and put one or two slices on front side of noodles.

Sprinkle carrots and sprouts on top.

Fold the edges in and roll like a burrito. 



In a saucepan, put appropriate amount of hoisin sauce and add water until sauce thins.

Add sriracha to taste.

Simmer on low.

Crush your desired amount of peanuts with a pan or knife

Add peanuts into the sauce while it’s simmering and stir for 30-60 seconds.

Garnish your sauce with more peanuts

Eat while hot.