I was like just about every other college student, poor.

It didn’t matter what I did, I just couldn’t find enough time in my busy schedule to work enough to make any extra cash. Whatever money I did make instantly went out of my hands for books or other school supplies, classes, or the rare dinner out with friends. Whenever I thought about eating I would cringe, just because it was so expensive. Buying my own food was completely new to me.

My mom tried to always send me new recipes for cheap things to make. My roommate and I would often pool our money together and see what we could come up with that would be cheap, and something that would last a while.

We made this at least once a week, and it would last us several meals. It was cheap, tasty, and a big pan… just what we needed back then.

Quick Tip: Use whatever small pasta you have on hand.

To Make this Recipe You’ll Need the following ingredients:

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Not only does this taste good, it’s extremely cheap to make. It’s one of my “before payday” meals that I can make up at the end of the week for under $10. I could probably throw in a box of garlic toast and still fall under the $10 mark. There is plenty here to serve a family of four or five with no problem. If you really want to stretch it out, serve with a salad to start and some ice cream as an end of dinner dessert.

Don’t expect any leftovers, unless you make at least a double batch!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular or Healthy Request)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups uncooked medium shell-shaped pasta


  • Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat.
  • Stir the soups, water and pasta in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring often.
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