A home cooked meal to sooth your homesick soul while not breaking your college budget

We all live on budget on a college budget. Every penny counts when we go out to the grocery store, but this does not mean we have to down ramen noodles every night! There are tons of under $10 dollar meals out there that are easy to make and taste just like your mom’s home cooking.

With Thanks Giving coming up I’d thought I’d share one of my very favorite recipes that will feed you for a week and only cost you $12, ten minutes of prep time, and crock pot. You may be thinking “a crock pot? Really?”, well shut up. You can buy one of these suckers at Walmart for ten bucks and you’ll have an appliance better than a toaster oven and a hot meal every night of the week.

So let’s jump into this. If you like that honey glazed Christmas ham your mom makes once a year, then you are going to LOVE this! I’m going to show you how to make an Apple Cinnamon Pork Tender Loin. How impressed is your mom going to be when you go home and tell her you made a freaking Apple Cinnamon Pork Tender Loin?!

We will start out with an Ingredients list and then I’ll show you some pictures from there.

1 Pork Tender Loin – $6 or less

3 large red apples or 4 small red ones – 99 cents a pound or about $ 1.30

1 yellow onion – 89 cents

1 small bottle of honey – $2





This is not an expensive meal, but it will look and taste like one!


Now let’s get into how you’re going to cook this thing, with pictures.


I bought a Pork Roast because it was cheaper $6.47, there is NO taste difference between the loin and the Roast, I have made both. Grab the cheapest one.

First take the apples and onion and slice them into slices:


Then take your new favorite appliance, that 7-quart crock pot, and line the bottom of it with some of the apples and onions, not all of them you will need the rest for later!


Now you’re going to take that lovey loin of pork and lay it over the apples and onions.

Once you have it in the crock pot you are going to cut apple slice sized cuts in a row across the loin


In each of those cuts you have made into the loin you are going to pour a generous amount of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper.


After each of the cuts are seasoned you are then going to place an apple slice into each one.


Take the rest of your apples and onions and place them on top of the loin and then pour a drizzle of honey over the whole thing, not too much just a drizzle. Put a sprinkle of cinnamon, salt, and pepper to finish it off.


You are then going to plug in your crock pot, do not forget this step (I have before).


Turn it to cook on LOW, and then walk away for eight hours (remember you have to start this in the morning). Go to class, go see four movies in a row, go do homework, go to work, anything for eight hours.


When you come back from doing whatever your apartment will be full of a lovely aroma and your dinner will be done!

This is what “done” meat looks like:


It will be white-ish brown. If you see any pink leave it for another hour.

Here is your Finished meal!


If you are cooking for one this produces left overs forever. It will easily feed a family of four. Share with your roommates or eat like a king for a week, up to you! Whatever you do your stomach will thank you, and your mom will be so proud you didn’t eat ramen for the seventh time in a row! You can do this!!

Here is where I originally found this awesome recipe: http://bit.ly/1nZGvqT

Some tips:

Red apples are sweeter than green, if you have the extra spare change Honey Crisp apples are the best, but they more expensive.

Always buy your pork tenderloin from Walmart. I am usually not big on meats from Walmart but it is the cheapest best place to get loins from. If you get a small one you could only pay four dollars for it, I stay below six dollars always.

More cost efficient east meals:

Salmon filets – $7 – season, stick in the oven, eat with white rice ($7 for Salmon?? I know right? you can litterally eat way better than you are right now!)

Alfredo pasta – $5 – pasta .99 cents, cheese $3, 4 oz heavy whipping cream – $1 – mix the cheese and milk over the stove till it melts into sauce and our over your pasta, done! For 5 more dollars you can add chicken.

Chicken and dumplings – $10 – Chicken $5, Carrots $.99 cents, Celary $.99, Bisquick $4. boil everything in a pot of water, make dumpling batter and put in when everything else is cooked, done.

You can eat like you’re still at home and you don’t have to break the bank. Eating ramen noodles or any cheap crap food is really bad for you. I can tell you from experience, you will not be okay. Eat healthy and stay on budget!

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism