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Put down the burger and pick up a pan: How-to eat on a budget

A+well-prepared+meal+of+pork+chops%2C+broccoli%2C+and+mashed+potatoes+that+any+college+student+can+manage+on+a+budget.
A well-prepared meal of pork chops, broccoli, and mashed potatoes that any college student can manage on a budget.

A well-prepared meal of pork chops, broccoli, and mashed potatoes that any college student can manage on a budget.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

A well-prepared meal of pork chops, broccoli, and mashed potatoes that any college student can manage on a budget.

Scott Redmond, Staff Writer

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With tight budgets and hectic schedules, many students substitute fast food or what happens to be served in the cafeteria for the home-cooked meals they may miss or think they have no time for.

So if you’re tired of the pizza and burgers for a night, put them aside and give this a try. A little variety and saved money never hurt anyone.

What if you could have those meals from home on your own and for a price similar to buying a pizza? Well the good news is, you can.

A simple home cooked meal for under $20 is a very real possibility. One such simple home cooked meal is pork chops and fresh broccoli with a side of mashed potatoes made from scratch.

Those are just three choices, as any of those items can be swapped out easily.

Any potatoes will work, but to get the most for your money a 28 oz bag of Honey Gold Potatoes cost around $3.49 at Raley’s, and is similarly priced in most stores.

To prepare to turn these full potatoes into a fine mash, prepare a medium sauce pan or bigger with water and once the water is at a boil add in add in the entire bad, as this will leave you with leftovers for future meals.

While the potatoes are boiling the pork chops can be prepared. The pork chops themselves can be found for just around $4, depending on the weight and amount in the package.

Any type of flour to coat the pork chops can be found for $2.48 for 5 lbs at Raley’s, and Raley’s brand Seasoned Salt in an 8 oz size will cost around $2.19.

After the pork chops have been taken out of the package and washed, and patted semi-dry, roll them around in a bowl that has flour and seasoned salt to taste, to coat all sides of the chops.

In a lightly oiled or sprayed pan, place the chops on medium to medium-high heat. Depending on the thickness of the chops, with one flip halfway through it should take about 10 minutes to reach a nice golden brown color on each side.

Of course you’ll need to check to make sure that all the pinkness within is gone.

Frozen bags of broccoli florets or cuts, around $2 each for 16 oz bags at Raley’s, are just the same as the florets you’ll find in the produce section.

Most frozen broccoli takes a few minutes in boiling water, and then a lid placed over to steam, before it’s ready to be served.

Once the potatoes are done and are soft, try using a fork to check softness, they should be placed in a bowl and smashed up and mixed around until reaching a mashed consistency.

Depending upon taste, salt and pepper and sour cream can be added to make the potatoes even smoother and add flavor to them. Any other items can be added depending upon how you prefer your mashed potatoes.

Once the chops have been removed from the pan and the broccoli drained, your dinner is ready.

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Put down the burger and pick up a pan: How-to eat on a budget