The Not-So Starving Student—

Have you ever been dying to host a dinner party, wanted to impress the guests, but also not to drain your wallet? I realized the crux to hosting an excellent party doesn’t all depend on the food, but it certainly is one of the highlights.  So instead of going out of your way to scroll through Pinterest or watching endless Youtube playlists of Gordon Ramsay recipes, we’ve compiled a list of delicious, simple, and budget-friendly dinner menu items.  Next time you host your very own dinner party as a budget conscious student, you’ll be equipped to wow your guests without hurting your savings.


One of my personal favorites to serve is perogy dishes.  These are versatile and allow your guests to customize their favorite toppings.  For me, I like to purchase frozen perogies and prepare my favorite sauces made with tomato sauce, cream, and caramelized onions.  The task could not be made simpler and looks gourmet when sitting next to green onion, cheese, sour cream and chilli toppings.  The perogies can keep your guests fulfilled and satiated for the rest of the evening.

Chicken waffles

Chicken waffles sound anything but budget.  You might wonder about the difficulty of the chicken-frying process or the headache of preparing the perfect sauce to top the appetizer.  However, much of the work you’ll need is done for you.  You can purchase store bought Eggos and Nashville hot wings from just about any convenience store.  I didn’t forget about the sauce either! Simply whisk together hot sauce and maple syrup for your own gourmet spicy maple sauce.

Hot dog chillies

I’ll skip the hot dog preparation part as this is quite self-explanatory.  For an extra touch of gourmet, replace traditional wieners with smoked summer sausage or even bratwurst.  My favorite part of this recipe is creating the chilli, which takes less than five minutes.  If you’re constantly hustling between school or work, this recipe is meant for you.  Stir some canned chili over the stove and add in some fresh tomatoes and herbs.  Before the guests arrive, prepare some simple toppings such as onions, coriander, and shredded cheddar and you’re ready!

Loaded baked potatoes

Even without the anxiety of cooking for your guests, I customize my own baked potatoes for the regular school day.  Baked potatoes are simple, hearty and can be the highlight of any party.  To prepare the baked potatoes, wash and lightly coat the outside of each potato with salt, which helps to keep the potato inside fluffy.  While the potato bakes in the oven for about an hour at 425 degrees C, you can begin preparing toppings such as sour cream, chives, bacon bits, cheese and green onions.  When the potatoes are ready to serve, make a single incision and load the toppings up.

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