Gourmet meals on a budget – for students!

Is it possible to create gourmet meals on a budget? With a bit of creativity and a few simple ingredients, even a busy student can enjoy flavorful and fun meals that do not break the bank. Read on to discover a few recipes that will save time and money, without compromising your taste buds!Cut Mushrooms

Sausage and Mushroom Risotto (courtesy Familycircle.com)


• 2 14 1/2ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup diced sweet onion
• 10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 cup arborio rice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Warm broth in a small, lidded pot over low heat.
2. Crumble sausage into a large, nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Brown 5 to 7 minutes, breaking apart meat with a wooden spoon. Transfer sausage to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.
3. Pour oil into the same pan. Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; saute 5 to 7 minutes until they are browned and soft. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Transfer mixture to bowl with sausage.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add rice; toast 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup of the warm broth. Scrape brown bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a very low simmer. When liquid is almost absorbed, add another 1/3 cup of broth. Continue adding broth 1/3 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until it is gone and rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Stir in cooked sausage-vegetable mixture, salt, pepper, cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Cheesy Ramen Meat Pie (courtesy budget101.com)

A lasagna style layered Ramen dish that is cheesy, hearty and quite filling.


• 2 packages beef flavored ramen noodles
• 1 can Hormel chili with or without beans (25 oz. can)
• 1/4 bag of nacho cheese tortilla chips
• 1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper
• 1 T chili powder
• 7or 8 thin slices of Velveeta cheese

1. Boil about 3 cups water, add noodles and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice until noodles are tender. Drain the water, add seasoning packet to noodles and set aside.
2. Heat chili in small sauce pan just until hot.
3. Crush tortilla chips and add about 1/4 to the bottom a lightly buttered pie pan until bottom is covered.
4. Add about ¼ of the noodles to cover the tortilla chips. Layer next with the chili mixture, and a few slices of cheese. Repeat until all of the ingredients are gone making sure cheese and tortilla chips are on top.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly. Serve and enjoy!

Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers (courtesy thecheapgourmet.com)


• 2 small Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 teaspoon Sunflower or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 6 medium Green Onions (or Scallions), white and green parts cut into 1-inch strips
• 1 15-ounce can Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
• 1/2 cup Ketchup
• 1/4 cup Sunflower seeds, toasted and ground into a coarse powder in spice grinder or blender
• 1-1/2 cups plain Bread Crumbs
• Sea Salt (to taste)

1. Add 3 to 4 inches of water to a large saucepan. Add potatoes to a steamer basket, cover and bring water to a boil. Cook until tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes and transfer to a small bowl. Mash with a fork.
3. Transfer 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes to the work bowl of a food processor.
4. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and cook until limp, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Add scallions, chickpeas, ketchup, and ground sunflower seeds to food processor. Pulse on and off several times until ingredients are well blended.
6. Transfer mixture from food processor to large bowl. Add bread crumbs. Mix by hand using a large spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
7. Season with salt to taste. Mixture will be moist, but should hold together well.
8. Divide and shape mixture into eight patties approximately 3-inches across and 1/2-inch thick. Add extra bread crumbs if patties don’t hold their shape.
9. Prepare grill or preheat broiler.
10. If using a grill, place patties on vegetable grid to avoid sticking. If using the broiler, place patties on a broiler pan or large cookie sheet lined with lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil.
11. Grill over medium-hot coals or broil 3 to 6 inches from heat until lightly browned, approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side.
12. Check often to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Transfer to serving platter and serve with favorite toppings and condiments.

These three recipes are just a few samples of many different options. Planning is crucial to staying on a food budget, so be sure to plan meals and shop for groceries accordingly. Not only will this keep your wallet in check, it will decrease your stress level overall, allowing your mind to focus on other areas of your life, including your family, schooling, and work.

Why building a resume is an important step to your future

In the age of technology, a resume may seem like an outdated way to get a chance at your dream job. However, this piece of paper is not to be Keyboard_Fingers2underestimated. Potential employers look at your resume on average for 20 to 30 seconds and decide if you will be in the pool of interviews. In that short time frame, it must be made clear as to why they need to meet you about the opportunity they have available.

When finding a job, there are four steps that must happen in some form or fashion:

1. You must find the opportunity you are seeking
2. You must be considered as a viable candidate by the person doing the hiring
3. You must present yourself as the right person for the job
4. Terms and conditions of the job must be agreed upon by both parties

The second step is where having a good resume is crucial to the remaining steps in the process.

So what is it that potential employers are looking for in a resume? In short, they are looking for a cohesive document that showcases what you have to offer to the company/business. They are also looking for some information about you that prompts them to want to get to know you better or to know more about you. Often, a cover letter is also required with your resume. That letter will give the employer an idea of your personal style. One style is not necessarily better than another, but a good presentation is a must.

In the world of business, we all need some kind of shorthand way to represent who we are, what we have done, and perhaps most importantly, why we are a great fit for the job opening. Consider the alternatives for a hiring manager. Interview every applicant? Some jobs receive hundreds or even thousands of applications. That would be a daunting and time consuming task for even the most ambitious of employers. The resume provides a filter for these individuals to weed out the bad, and use their time to evaluate the good.

Most job applicants go through some sort of filtering process. Sometimes it’s the direct supervisor that sorts through resumes, sometimes it’s a Human Resource Manager, and some larger corporations use software that specifically seeks certain qualifications. In each scenario, the resume is the ticket for additional communication. Building a resume is crucial to the job seeking process and should not be taken lightly.

Scary and irrational though it may seem, this means that, to most hiring managers, you are really little more than that one piece of paper.

The more time and effort that you put into your resume, the more you have a chance of getting into the door for an interview. Take proactive steps to making your resume stand out. Some schools, such as Western Dakota Tech, offer assistance in resume building, interview skills, and offer career guidance. Take advantage of these opportunities to help make your first impression the best it can be.