Five Easy and Affordable Summer Recipes

Posted by Deea Deb on June 10, 2021

Student Life

Collage of the 5 summer recipes in the article.

I realized something about myself today—I always feel hungry when I sit down to study or attend an online lecture. Often, I end up nibbling on some unhealthy snack, which, let’s face it, isn’t good for me. And honestly, who has the time to spend searching for easy recipes to cook? I figured that there may be other students like me, who need easy recipes that are not only delicious and budget-friendly but also great for making leftovers! So, I did a little bit of research and here are five summer recipes to die for!

Burrito Bowls

Try this bowl of healthy yumminess!

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 25 mins


  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 15oz. cans black beans 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 16oz. jar salsa 
  • 6 oz. shredded cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions 
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) 


  • Add the rice, salt, and three cups of water to a medium saucepot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat on to high, and allow the water to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit, with the lid in place, for an additional five minutes. Fluff just before serving.
  • While the rice is cooking, make the beans. Add both cans of black beans (undrained) to a small saucepot, along with the cumin, and garlic powder. Heat over medium, stirring often, until heated through.
  • Slice the green onions and jalapeño (if using).
  • Once the rice is cooked, build the bowls. Add one cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup warm black beans, 1/3 cup salsa, and 1 oz. shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup) to each bowl. Top with a few sliced green onions and jalapeños, then serve.

One Pot Chili Pasta

This is one of the best home-cooked pastas I’ve had!

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 40 mins


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef 
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder 
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce 
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15oz. can black beans 
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans 
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels 
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni 
  • 2 cups beef broth* 
  • 1 cup shredded cheese 


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until soft and transparent. Add the ground beef and continue to stir and cook until it is fully browned. If using a high fat ground beef, drain off the excessive after it is browned.
  • Add the flour and chili powder to the pot and stir to coat the meat. Continue to stir and cook the coated meat for 1-2 minutes more. The flour and chili powder may coat the bottom of the pot, but that’s okay. Just be careful to not let it burn.
  • Drain and rinse the black and kidney beans. Add the beans, tomato sauce, diced tomato, and corn kernels to the pot. Stir well and dissolve the flour/chili powder mixture from the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the dry macaroni and two cups of beef broth to the pot and stir to combine. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and let the pot come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, give it a quick stir to loosen any pasta stuck to the bottom of the pot, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pot simmer on medium-low for about 15 minutes, or until the pasta is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid. Stir the pot one or two times during the 15 minutes to loosen any pasta stuck to the bottom.
  • Once the pasta is fully cooked, turn the heat off and add the cheese. Stir the cheese into the pasta until it has melted in and become slightly creamy. Serve hot.

Success Tip: I used bouillon to prepare beef broth rather than using canned or boxed broths, which are more expensive.

Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles

Just look at these noodles!

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 25 mins


Dragon sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce 
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 

Pork and noodles:

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork* 
  • 2 3oz. packages ramen noodles   
  • 3 green onions, sliced 
  • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped 


  • Combine the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl.
  • Add the ground pork to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it is fully browned*. Once browned, add the prepared dragon sauce and chopped peanuts. Allow the pork and peanuts to simmer in the sauce for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half.
  • While the pork is browning, begin boiling water for your noodles. Once boiling, add your noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain the noodles in a colander.
  • Once the sauce has reduced and the noodles have drained, add the noodles to the skillet and toss until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Top with sliced green onions and serve!

Success tip: The pork I used was about 25% fat and did not need any extra oil in the skillet. It did not render a lot of grease while cooking, so I did not drain the skillet. If there is an excess amount of fat after browning, drain the meat and leave 1 Tbsp fat in the skillet to combine with the dragon sauce.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Easy and super filling! What else can we ask for?

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 15 mins


  • 1 15oz.can black beans 
  • 1 cup frozen corn 
  • 1/2 cup red onion 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (about ½ cup chopped) 
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 batch taco seasoning
  • 10 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter) 


  • Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, shredded cheddar, and taco seasoning to the bowl with the beans and corn. Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in seasoning.
  • Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat on each side until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted. Slice into triangles then serve.
  • To freeze the quesadillas, stack the filled and uncooked quesadillas with a piece of parchment paper between each quesadilla. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This is the best dish for multitaskers!

If you like to meal plan, this is the perfect recipe for you! It takes time to make Quinoa Tabbouleh so it would be a good idea to do this over a weekend and enjoy it through the week!

Prep Time: 45 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 1 hr


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa 
  • 1 large lemon 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 large tomato 
  • 1 large cucumber 
  • 1 bunch curly leaf parsley 


  • Rinse the quinoa under cool running water. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with 1.75 cups of water. Put a lid on top, bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat. Allow the quinoa to cool before making the salad or else the heat will wilt the parsley and vegetables. To cool it faster, spread it out on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the rest of the salad. To make the dressing, squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl (about 1/4 cup). Mince the garlic and add to the lemon juice along with the olive oil and salt. Whisk to combine, then set the dressing aside.
  • Dice the tomato and cucumber. Rinse the parsley well to remove sand and grit, then chop well. Add the cucumber, tomato, and parsley to a large bowl.
  • Once the quinoa is cooled, add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the dressing over top, then stir until everything is well coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir just before serving.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these recipes.

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Graphics and Quinoa Tabbouleh photos by Michelle Tieu

Source for all recipes and images: Budget Bytes

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a third-year English and Professional Writing major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and writing. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

See other posts by Deea Deb