Fast–casual dining is a fast, casual way to empty your bank account. Hoping to save some money this semester, I experimented with making some of my favorite breakfasts from scratch. In all cases, I more than halved the price, and in many, I spent the same amount of time you would normally waste waiting in line and for your food to reach the pickup counter. What I’m saying is, with only a little bit of organization, you can save a lot of money, maintain a high deliciousness–to–calorie ratio and, if you are so inclined, appear really put together on social media.
Time: Five minutes
Price at United by Blue: $4.50
I know I’m not the only one whose oven takes too long to preheat and whose memory is too short to remember to turn it off. So here’s a way to make granola from scratch in a frying pan.
1 teaspoon (less than half what you’d find in store–bought granola) of coconut oil or butter
3 teaspoons of rolled oats
3 teaspoons of slivered almonds
1 teaspoon of honey
1 cup of yogurt (any flavor you want)
4 teaspoons of frozen blueberries
Melt the coconut oil in a small pan. Add the oats, almonds, and honey. Sauté until browned and coated in a glaze—mine burned just a little bit because I wasn’t paying attention, but this resulted in a slightly crumbly texture and a smoky taste that I recommend. Place on top of the yogurt. Add the blueberries and and another drizzle of honey because this looks really pretty and you and your Instagram deserve it.
Time: Two minutes (+12–24 hours in the fridge)
Price at Hubbub: $6.25
This is so easy you can’t fail. Also, it comes out bright pink, which is objectively great.
½ cup of rolled oats
½ cup of almond milk (or any milk, but almond has a long shelf life)
3 tablespoons of frozen raspberries
Sprinkle of shredded coconut, chia seeds, and chocolate chips
Put the first three ingredients in a bowl and stir. Put in fridge for 12–24 hours. Take out and top with coconut, chia seeds, and honestly whatever else you want. Eat.
Time: Ten minutes (+12 hours to freeze the bananas)
Price at HipCityVeg: $4.25 + 50 cents per topping
Ok, so doing this without HipCity’s industrial blender is kind of difficult and noisy. But it’s also cheap, delicious, healthy, and a great way to use the bananas you bought out of guilt when you realized your basket at FroGro contained only dry ramen noodles, tortilla chips, and off–brand mixers.
2 ripe bananas (they can be totally black and gross, just make sure there are no bugs)
1 splash of almond milk (or any milk)
Peanut butter, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, or whatever you want
Chop 2 bananas into half–inch disks. Freeze overnight for at least 12 hours. Put in blender. Turn blender on, realize the bananas are still solid, scrape down sides, repeat, get annoyed, add almond milk, blend, scrape, blend, scrape. This is annoying but still only takes about a minute. Mix the banana until creamy. Spoon into bowl and add toppings. Consider how bananas it is that I didn’t delve into the ripe world of apeeling banana puns until this final sentence.
Time: Five minutes (and that’s if you like your toast extra toasty)
Price at Bluestone Lane: $12
At the farm stand at 40th and Locust Streets, avocados are $1 and usually ripe. Of all the recipes here, this is the one with the greatest disparity in price and quality between restaurants and at home.
2 slices of whole wheat bread (the more seeds and grains and other textured stuff the better)
1 ripe avocado
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
Put the bread in the toaster. Peel and pit the avocado. Put one half in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Mash with a fork. Add salt, pepper, and cilantro and mash more. Add the other avocado half and mix in so it’s creamy but also chunky. Divide between pieces of toast. Top with red chili flakes and a whole leaf of parsley, because Instagram.
Spinach Breakfast Wrap
Time: Ten minutes
Price at Starbucks: $3.75
Price at United by Blue: $5
I wake up most mornings for my 10 a.m. class wishing I could stay curled up in the warm comfort of my bed and blankets. I am roused by the warm comfort of this wrap—sleep is great, but it doesn’t contain the perfect combination of melted cheese and sun–dried tomatoes, and it’s not an eggcellent source of protein.
2 eggs (if you’re only using whites, use three)
1 handful of cheese
¼ cup of spinach (preferably frozen, but defrost first)
1 tablespoon of sun–dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon of butter
Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add pepper. Melt butter in a pan and swirl to coat. Pour egg into pan over a low heat. Use a spatula to pull the liquid egg from the edges to the center without scrambling (you will notice I failed at this in the video, I’m not perfect). Flip like a pancake (unless you also fail at this, in which case just scramble) and place on center of the wrap. Add eggs, spinach, cheese and sun–dried tomatoes (avoiding the oil they come in as best you can) in adjacent vertical strips down the center of the wrap. Roll up (if, like me, you aren’t that good at this, don’t worry—that’s what the foil is for. Place in pan with the open side down to seal, letting the cheese melt and the wrap brown slightly. Flip. Place in foil, wrap and cut in half. Bite through the crispy tortilla, the bed of warm egg, to the gooey tomato–infused cheese.