So you’ve been traveling for awhile and money is a little tight. Taking advantage of a (somewhat) fully equipped hostel kitchen is one of the ways to eat cheap while traveling.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a renowned chef to put together a meal – here’s 13 easy hostel meals that use cheap, easy to find ingredients.
1. Deluxe grilled cheese sandwich
Yes, a grilled cheese is great on its’ own but it can get boring after awhile. Spruce it up with ham and tomatoes or with pickles or peppers or anything else your mind can come up with.
Start a pizza party at your hostel! Ask around and you’re sure to get people who want pizza as much as you do. Use a flatbreads, pita bread or even regular old fashioned bread slices. Top them with a tomato base, cheese and anything under the sun that you and your new pizza crew can think of. Blast them under the grill for a few minutes and, boom, instant pizza party!
3. Eggs in a basket
Also known as “egg in a hole”, “eggy bread” or “hole in the wall”.
This can be made in 4 easy steps:
1. Take a slice of bread and cut a round hole in the middle of it.
2. Melt butter in frying pan, place bread in the pan.
3. Crack an egg into the hole.
4. Fry the bread until it’s nice and firm.
4. Ramen with a twist
Ramen noodles are always a good, cheap quick fix but, let’s face it, you’re not really getting any nutrients or protein.
Twist them up by cooking them along with fresh vegetables you find at the local market. Add broccoli, peppers, onions, carrots and anything else your heart desires. Instead of just using the included flavor packet, add some rice vinegar, soy sauce or chili sauce into the broth to give it some more zip.
For a little protein, you could crack an egg into your broth or just simply add some shrimp or chicken.
Tacos are, once again, one of those food items others in the hostel will join in with you for.
Form a group and head out to the market to pickup all the ingredients you need. You’ll need tortillas, ground meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce, canned black beans, salsa and taco seasoning. If you want to go a little healthier, pick up chicken or shrimp instead of ground meat.
Grill the beef (or healthy alternative) in a frying pan with the beans and taco seasoning. Once it’s cooked, set up an assembly line with the meat, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheese and salsa.
6. Peanut butter and banana sandwich
Peanut butter and banana are a marriage made in heaven. No peanut butter in the fridge? Why not use Nutella instead? You know you’ll find that in every hostel fridge!
7. Tuna cassserole
To make the casserole, first pick up some pasta, a can of tuna, peppers, onions, celery, black olives, some gooey cheese and a small bottle of tomato, pesto or cream sauce.
Cook up the pasta separately and put all the ingredients together in a baking dish and bake in the oven until nice and crispy. If there’s no oven available just use a pot on the stove top instead.
8. Baked potato
You usually only think of baked potatoes when you want a side with your steak dinner. Well, you know what, potatoes on their own can be a good hearty meal as well.
You can cut the cook time from an hour to just 5 minutes by cooking the potatoes in a microwave instead of baking them in an oven. Just use a fork to poke a few holes in the potato and pop it in the microwave.
When it’s done, add your favorite toppings – cheese, bacon, sour cream. Hell, be creative and top it with some local vegetable medley or even last night’s leftover pasta. Remember, when it comes to baked potato toppings – there is no wrong answer!
At its’ most basic spaghetti is two ingredients – noodles and tomato sauce. Why not jazz it up though? While the noodles are cooking, saute up some ground beef and veggies with the tomato sauce in another pan. Top it with some cheese and you’ve got a hearty meal that will fill you up.
10. Vegetable stirfry
You really only need three things to make a stirfry – veggies, rice and either a teriyaki or a soy sauce. While peppers, mushrooms and onions are common vegetables to find in a stirfry, try using some veggies unique to the region to give your meal a more “local” feel.
Simply cook up the rice and, in a separate pan, saute the veggies. When the rice is ready, mix it all together and top it with your sauce.
Oh, and don’t forget the tip about the “free food” shelf. It’s a good place to find the sauce you need!
11. Pasta salad
If you’re craving a lighter meal, why not quickly put together a pasta salad? Cook up some pasta and drain it in cold water. In a mixing bowl, add your favorite salad dressing (Italian works great), some tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions. Top with Parmesan cheese and you have a nice light meal that’s perfect for those hot summer days.
12. Mac and cheese
Yes, mac and cheese – your childhood favorite meal has found it’s way into many a hostel kitchen. Jazz it up with some diced tomatoes and onions. Oh, and don’t forget the bacon!
…and finally, if you’re just lazy – put it all in one pot…
13. One pot wonder
One pot wonders are simple meals to put together. Just follow this simple formula: one starch, one protein, lots of veggies and, of course, don’t forget the seasonings.
Starches can be pasta, potato or rice and the protein can be your choice of meat or seafood. If you prefer a vegetarian meal, use tofu or beans instead. Veggies can be anything so go to the local market and just pick up a bunch. For seasonings, try fresh garlic, pepper and hot chili flakes.
As the name of the dish suggests, put everything into one pot and watch as the flavors marry to create an amazing stew like dish.
There you go – 13 easy hostel meals you can make. So, next time instead of heading to that fast food joint, pop over to the market and make something amazing!