Coming back from a long break at home is an ordeal: your fridge is empty, you desperately want to reunite with all of your favorite restaurants, and you're as broke as ever.

It doesn't matter how many hours you worked over break; your money supply rapidly dwindles from the much-needed grocery shopping trips and quality time spent at Noodles and Co. I found that I was no exception to this rule and had to find ways to spread my budget.

My diet shifted to one that consisted of 99.9% ramen, and it got old really fast. If I wanted to have a tasty, cheap dinner, I knew I would have to get creative.

I recruited my roommate to assist me in my quest, and we compiled a list of basic ingredients to use that won't break the bank and can be used in multiple dishes. 

Our shopping list consisted of:

1. Cup of beef ramen

2. Mac and cheese cup

3. Peppercorn ranch dressing

4. Bacon bits

5. Green onion

6. Shredded mozarella

7. A loaf of bread (I like the Hawaiian bread)

8. 1 avocado

9. 1 red bell pepper

10. Lemon pepper

11. 2 Ben and Jerry's Mini Ice Cream Cups

These ingredients not only led to tasty meals, but it also only cost us $20. Now without further ado, here are some delicious ways to make the most out of your food.

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

parmesan, sauce, chicken, tortellini, cheese, pasta
Taylor Zeitlin

All you need for this are bacon bits (you can get real bacon, but we're trying to make it as simple as possible), mozzarella, green onions, peppercorn ranch dressing, bread, and your favorite brand of mac and cheese cups. Heat up the mac and cheese, chop the onions, pour a bit of ranch, and mash your bread into crumbs and you've got a Panera-worthy bowl of mac and cheese.

Healthy-ish Ramen

rice, vegetable, pasta, noodle, ramen
Taylor Zeitlin

If all else fails, just eat a lot of ramen. Here we used the green onions, red bell pepper, avocado, lemon pepper, and beef ramen (if you're wanting to add some extra protein, add real beef). Making this was incredibly simple: all you have to do is chop up your fruits and veggies and throw it in the ramen. Lemon pepper is personally my favorite way to spice up a dish, so I love using a pinch of that in my ramen. So good.

#SpoonTip: Avocado is actually a fruit! 

Ice Cream Party

Taylor Zeitlin

Look at this little ice cream. Look at how cute it is. These little tubs made me so happy. From the moment I got to school, I've found myself eating an insane amount of ice cream straight out of the tub (I'm a health goddess).

A combination of easy-access and a lack of parental oversight has really enabled my habit. With these little tubs of Ben and Jerry's, however, the portions are so tiny that I won't overdo it and it is really cheap.

Best purchase I've ever made. If you really want to go wild, get some toppings like sprinkles, whipped cream, and hot fudge for tiny ice cream sundaes.

You may go forth and conquer the world now that you know the secrets to making a delectable cheap dinner.