Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Week of College Budget Recipes-------------Fearing Money

Somehow I managed to never get a picture of my college budget meals! Anyway...

My last semester of college, I was married, cooking for the first time, and financially poor.  But my husband and I survived and came up with a couple of tasty, cheap, quick meals in the process.

Sunday: Easy Burrito
-Ground Beef
-Soft Tortilla Shells
-Shredded Cheddar Cheese
-Taco Seasoning

1. Get your rice cooking according to package instructions. The less processed kind is cheaper and yummier, but it cooks slower, so do what you need to. Cook a lot of it, the left overs are great!
2. Brown your beef in a frying pan, adding the seasoning. Again, cook a lot of it for left over use. Be sure to drain the excess grease after cooking through.
3. Heat your tortilla shell, or however many you'll eat, in the microwave for a few seconds.
4. Use a vegetable peeler to shred some celery off the stalk.
5. Spread your tortilla on a plate and load up with beef, rice, cheese, and shredded celery.
6. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Note: Why celery? Because it's hard to eat lettuce before it spoils. Celery, on the other hand, lasts longer, has a subtle taste, and makes for a great snack, especially with peanut butter!

Monday: Superhero Ramen
-Package of Ramen (spicy chicken or regular chicken flavor)
-Half a chicken breast
-Baby Carrots

1. Boil chicken on the stovetop until cooked through (about twenty minutes.)
2. Chop up a handful of baby carrots and celery.
3. Get your ramen ready according to package directions.
4. Chop up the cooked chicken.
5. Add the veggies to the ramen and heat on low for two minutes.
6. Add the rice (Already cooked! See the leftover use!) and the chicken.
7. Heat on low for another two minutes.
8. Enjoy your souped up (aha) ramen.

Note: Baby carrots are cheap, nutritious, and also great for snacking! Especially with peanut butter.

Tuesday: Fancy Mac n' Cheese
-Deli Ham (like you'd put on a sandwich, or, the single slices found near the frozen meats)
-1 Box of Macaroni and Cheese

1. It's exactly what you think. Make the macaroni and cheese according to package directions, and add the chopped ham in.

Note: If you want to get extra fancy, chop up some bell pepper, warm it up, and add that in too.
Extra Note: Extra, extra fancy meal? Add a little extra milk and some of your own shredded cheese. When the new cheese is mixed in well, crumble some bread in along with the pepper and ham bits. Then bake at 350 for five minutes. You now have cheap macaroni and cheese casserole.

Wednesday: Beefy Quesadillas
-Soft tortilla shells
-Leftover taco meat
-Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Mexican Blend)

1. Place a tortilla on a plate.
2. Cover with leftover taco meat and cheese.
3. Add the second tortilla on top.
4. Microwave for about 40 seconds or until the cheese is melted.

Thursday: Chicken and Veggies on Rice (2 options)
-Leftover chicken
-Leftover Rice
-Chopped Veggies (carrots, celery, bell pepper, and add in some broccoli if you can)
-Soy Sauce OR Butter
-Garlic, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Pepper

1. Heat a little oil or butter in a frying pan on medium.
2. Drop chopped veggies in and cook for two minutes.
3. Add soy sauce to taste, along with seasonings.
OR 3. Mix butter with seasonings until it smells great, then pour over vegetables.
4. Sprinkle chicken bits with salt and pepper and then add in.
5. Keep the meat and veggies on the stove over low heat. Reheat rice separately.
6. Spread rice on plate, add meat and veggies on top.
7. Voila! Flavorful meal!

Friday: Ham Baked Potato
-Deli Ham or a Slice of Ham
-A baking potato or two
-Shredded Cheese
-(Sour cream, if that's your thing. Yuck.)

1. Rinse your potatoes and wrap in foil.
2. Poke some holes in the potato with a fork.
3. Bake at 350 for about an 50 minutes.
4. Pull out of the oven, unwrap, and slice open potato(es). Add butter!
5. Tear up some ham and cover the potatoes.
6. Return to oven for 10 minutes.
7. Add cheese to the top of the potato(es) and ham. Continue cooking until cheese is melted.
8. Enjoy the carb-o-load!

Saturday: Poor man's Pizza
-Soft tortilla shells OR slices of bread
-Tomato sauce (like the pre-made stuff from a jar)
-Shredded cheese (cheddar works)
-Left over meat (bacon, chicken bits, ground beef)

1. If you are using tortilla shells, all cooking will be in the microwave. Bread will be oven baked.
2. Heat tortilla shells in microwave for 30 seconds or bread on a tray in oven at 350 for 2 minutes.
3. Spread a layer of sauce on top of the carb base. Heat in microwave 45 seconds or bake for 2 minutes.
4. Add cheese. Microwave for 1 minute or bake for 5 minutes.
5. Add meats on top. Microwave another 30 seconds or bake another five minutes.
6. Cheap sort-of pizza! Yum!

Note: Garlic bread on the side? Rolls work best, baked in the oven for a few minutes with butter and garlic powder on top. If you have to use sliced bread, use the toaster. When the toast is just slightly brown, butter and sprinkle with garlic.

These recipes are certified by someone who can say:

Thoughts on Fearing Money

"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless." Ecclesiastes 5:10

My goodness is money an eager, tempting, and demanding master! Everything in this world suggests you need money- and lots of it. Not just to be happy, but to survive. And it is so easy as a person who seeks to honor the Lord to become obsessed with managing finances because it is easy to believe that if money is something God gives you, it is up to you to be righteously responsible with it. 

The trouble with such thinking is the assumption that God actually handed something over to you completely and that you, yourself, actually have the wisdom to use that resource entirely to His glory.

I'm guilty of that sin. For years, I hoarded money. It was better, in my opinion, to never have new or unnecessary things, like cookies or socks without holes in them, than to lose the precious money God gave to me. When friends wanted to have fun, I would generally only participate if it was free. If it came to eating just one small, pseudo meal a day, I would do that rather than spend $5. In my "spiritual logic," I reasoned that other people lived on less than I had, so I should live as their equal -in a form of self-decided poverty. 

There were other reasons I lived that way, too. I was afraid of a lot in life (some things even justifiably, in the world's eyes) and money in the bank was security that something could always work out. That I denied myself and friends opportunities to grow together, that I wreaked havoc on my health, that I barely got by a lot of the time....these even became sources of pride at times. 

And isn't that how it always goes? 

We want to please God. We are afraid of something other than God (like money.) So we seize control of that thing, simultaneously succumbing to it as a new master by allowing it such influence in our lives. The more we cling to the reins, the less we realize that we are doing things for God (that is, instead of relying on God.)

When we suffer to maintain our own reign, we are "nobly" living in this wretched world, ruling over ourselves and the things that we fear to make God proud of us. Which, in turn, makes us proud of us. 

"Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have." Hebrews 13:5

When we find ways to cope with the things we are afraid of other than looking to the Lord, we grow prideful in our solutions. Our fears are only multiplied as we struggle to remain in control and to gain even more control. Every little situation is cause for distress. 

(For example, even things that should assuage our fears cause great confusion. Like a gift of money from friends who felt the Lord ask them to support you. Receiving such a gift sends us into turmoil -we could use that for good. We could use that to glorify God. And it would be wrong not to, right? Or would it be wrong to give it away because He gave it to us? How do we do the right thing??)

The Lord has promised to provide. In the well known words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 6:31-33:

"Do not worry, then, saying 'what will we eat' or 'what will we drink' or 'what will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you."

There is no need to fear money (I tell myself as much as anyone else.) There is no need to fret about controlling it and mastering it (lest it master me!) Christ is our master and Lord. If we serve Him and look to Him in all things, then we can trust that whatever we need, whenever we need it, will be there. 

Why do such simple things escape us and morph into lies that misguide us?


  1. A very timely word :) Thanks my friend! How crazy (and true!) that money can become our master both in wealth and in poverty. I've experienced that myself.

  2. Thank you! You summarized what I've been learning perfectly! : )