The $5 a Meal College Cookbook Makes Cooking Cheap and Easy

My parents warned me that when I went to college, I’d have to learn to cook. The week before freshman year, I went to the grocery store with my mom and picked out all of my favorite foods: popcorn, cereal, sandwich stuff, and a few frozen entrees. I moved into my dorm, set up my mini-fridge and microwave…and didn’t cook a single thing all year long. Why would I? I had a meal plan!
Sophomore year was a completely different story. That year, there was no meal plan. I survived off cereal and Pop-Tarts for the first few weeks, then resorted to Taco Bell and McDonald’s dollar menus to stay alive. They were cheap and easy, but not at all nutritious. If only I’d had The $5 a Meal College Cookbook: Good Cheap Food for When You Need to Eat.

The $5 a Meal College Cookbookis a new cookbook designed for starving college kids who aren’t exactly on their ways to becoming Master Chefs. Rhonda Lauret Parkinson, an excellent chef, and B.E. Horton, MS, RD, a registered dietitian, partnered up to create this book, which gives cheap and easy foods a healthier spin by using quality ingredients. The book covers meals, snacks, desserts, and leftovers and also has recipes to use for date nights, parties, and unexpected visits from your parents. If you’ve never cooked before and don’t know the difference between slicing and dicing, there’s a glossary of cooking terms that will make you sound like you should be hosting a show on The Food Network. Each recipe includes the nutritional information you need to make healthy choices, in addition to the cost per serving. Hint: This makes it easy to “charge” your roommates for your expert cooking skills if you all are splitting the cost of the meals.
One of my favorite breakfast recipes is the Cinnamon Toast with Ricotta and Raisin Spread. Here’s how you make it:

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons raisins
  • 1 slice bread


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mash the cinnamon and marmalade into the ricotta cheese. Stir in the raisins. When thoroughly mixed, spread over the bread.
  3. Place the bread on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Increase temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve warm.

Sounds pretty tasty, huh? To see more meals that won’t break the bank, check out The $5 a Meal College Cookbook.
Check Out These Other Cookbooks for College Students:
Freshman in the Kitchen
Vegetarian Cookbooks
The Healthy College Cookbook
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