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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Putting the name “cheap and easy college recipes” to the test

With a new wave of seniors graduating and heading off to college, it has become a widely-accepted fact that some college students save money by eating meals that often times compromise healthy food choices and affordability.

At first we were skeptical about whether a one-pot budget recipe would work and taste well. We cooked a one-pot sausage and mushroom pasta recipe that claimed to be perfect for college students and put it to the test to really see if the claims were true. 

The recipe we used was from Gal on a Mission, a website where the author, Chelsea, posts recipes that she enjoys. The recipe we used is as follows and the approximate prices of each ingredient are listed.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2-3 links Italian sausage $1.99
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16z
  • 1 small onion $0.52
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms $1.99
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 1 lb. Rigatoni $1.89
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan $0.41
  • handful fresh parsley (optional) $0.23

The recipe serves eight people and costs approximately $9.23 in total, which equals $1.15 per serving.


  1. Add the olive oil and sausage links to a large pot and cook them over medium heat until they are browned on the outside and firm enough to slice into rounds. Remove the sausage from the pot with tongs, slice into rounds, then return them to the pot, and cook for a few minutes more until fully browned.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, slice or mince the garlic, slice or dice the onion, (depending on how big you want you pieces) and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Once the sausage is browned, add the crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms, basil and oregano to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the vegetable broth and pasta, then stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high and bring it to a rapid boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, give it a stir, replace the lid and turn the heat down to low. Let the pot simmer on low for 15 minutes. Stir it every five minutes or so while it’s simmering. Make sure it’s simmering (bubbling) the whole time. If it is not, turn the heat up slightly.
  5. After 15 minutes of simmering, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed. If there is still too much liquid, let it simmer without a lid for a couple more minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and top with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

After completing the recipe and tasting the final product, both of our writers shared their thoughts about the recipe after making it.

Teddy Huang: The mushroom and sausage pasta tasted good given the fact that it was cooked all in one pot, which makes cleanup convenient. The sausage was flavorful and juicy, and the mushroom complemented the taste of the sausage. The pasta had a good texture and the sauce was tangy and added to the already great taste of the recipe. The recipe took approximately 40 minutes to make, which is a downside if a college student is looking for a quick meal, but if they have he time, this recipe is well worth it as it serves eight people. 

Rating: ★★★★

Eddie Wang: First, I thought the pasta had a really nice aroma and it was almost like you could taste the food before you ate it. The flavors of the pasta, the sauce, the sausage, and the mushrooms came together better than I expected. I especially enjoyed the sausages, which were really tasty and had a great texture. The only downside to the recipe was the fact that it took a really long time, and if I were a college student, cooking a meal that long would be hard considering a college student’s busy life. However, I think this recipe would be really nice if anyone had friends over because it can serve many people at an affordable price, considering it only costs a little over a dollar per serving.

Rating: ★★★★

The visual guide to make the sausage and mushroom pasta is provided below, along with the link to the recipe we used.

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About the Contributors
Teddy Huang, Author
Eddie Wang, Author

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