You can eat well even on a strict budget. Eating properly is one thing that many Montreal students struggle with. University students, particularly those in residence or renting their own apartments, are usually strapped for cash. Packaged pasta is a staple that can be used in many dishes that don't break the bank.
1. Busy Day Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 1 can (170 g) tuna, drained and flaked
- 4 cups (1 L) noodles, cooked and drained (1 cup/250 ml uncooked)
- 1 can (284 ml) condensed cream of mushroom or celery soup
- 1 can (284 ml) sliced mushrooms, drained
- 1 can (284 ml) peas, drained
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) evaporated milk
- 2 Tbsp chopped pimento (optional)
- 1 cup (250 ml) crushed potato chips
- In a large microwave-safe casserole dish, combine tuna, cooked noodles, soup, mushrooms, peas, milk, and pimento; mix well.
- To heat by auto sensor: Cover completely with 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap. Heat on Cook A4. After time appears in display window, stir twice. Time: about 11 minutes.
- To heat by time: Cover with wax paper. Heat at high for 6 minutes and at medium low for 6 minutes. Stir twice.
- To complete: top with potato chips; let stand, uncovered, 3 minutes before serving.
Photo Credit: Jade Gordon
2. Sausage and Pepper Pasta
- 1/2 package Italian sausage (hot, sweet, or mild)
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium green bell peppers
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 (796 ml) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- salt to taste
- 3/4 lb. pasta (about 2 cups/500 ml uncooked)
- Add the vegetable oil and sausage links to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and firm enough to slice. It doesn't have to be cooked through at this point.
- While the sausage is cooking, thinly slice the bell peppers and onions, and mince the garlic. Once the sausage is browned, remove it from the pot and add the peppers, onions, and garlic. Let them cook while you slice the sausage into thin medallions.
- After the peppers and onions have softened, return the sliced sausage to the pot along with the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and continue to cook over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta for about 7 minutes, or just until tender, but still firm. Slightly undercook the pasta as it will continue to cook and soak up liquid once added to the pot with the sausage and peppers.
- Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain it in a colander and then add it to the pot with the sausage and peppers. Stir to combine, cover, and allow the pasta to cook in the pepper sauce for about 5 more minutes, or until it has absorbed most of the liquid in the pot.
- Serves 8.
3. Chicken Pasta
- 1 cup (250 ml) uncooked pasta, any type
- 1 boneless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) bacon, chopped (optional)
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp paprika (to taste)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Brown the chicken in a lightly greased pan. Remove from pan and slice into quarter-inch (half-centimeter) slices. Return it to the pan and cook through.
- Once the pasta is cooked and drained, put it in the pan, and add your different seasonings.
- Stir together and add the mayonnaise while still over the heat.
- Once all the mayo is mixed in, serve at once.
- Serves 6.
Photo Credit: John Bartolini
4. Aglio e Olio
- 1 lb. (450 g) linguine
- 1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp dry hot chili peppers
- 1/4 cup (62 ml) flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Cook linguine according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat until brown; remove and reserve.
- Mash reserved garlic by using the back of a fork. Return mashed garlic to olive oil and cook at high heat for 1 minute.
- Add dry chili pepper; cook for an additional minute.
- Add parsley and salt, cook 1 more minute.
- Add cooked linguine, toss well, arrange on heated serving dish, and sprinkle with black pepper.
- Serves 6.
5. Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. (450 g) elbow macaroni
- 2 1/2 cups (750 ml) half-and-half cream
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. (450 g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz. (250 g) sharp Cheddar, shredded
- 3 oz. (85 g) ounces Gruyere, shredded
- salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until it is al dente, about 6 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
- Heat the half-and-half and cayenne in a large saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Continue simmering until the half-and-half is reduced to 1 1/2 cups; about 15 minutes. Add the cream cheese and stir until melted. Whisk in the Cheddar and Gruyere until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Add the macaroni to the saucepan and stir to combine. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed. Season to taste with salt if needed. Serve hot.
- Serves 8 to 10.