Coming back to school after eating gourmet meals at home alone can make college dining a real bummer. You might be tempted to go out every night with your friends to enjoy some good food, but after a week of doing so your wallet won't be thanking you. Instead of eating out at expensive restaurants, try making some budget-friendly back to school dinner party meals for you and your friends that won't just keep you satisfied, but that will also keep your wallet full.

1. Simple Cauliflower Soup

soup, vegetable, cream, parsley, bread, herb
Maxwell Faucher

I love making soup, because it's one of the simplest recipes in the world. Just dump a bunch of vegetables into a pot, stir it around, and voila, dinner! This Simple Cauliflower Soup takes less than 40 minutes to prepare and is full of healthy vegetable such as onion, cauliflower, and garlic. Pair this soup with a thick slice of bread or your favorite crackers that I'm sure mom didn't forget to pack you.

2. Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

avocado, tomato
Saleyka Calvillo

Who wants a regular baked potato when you can have a bright orange sweet potato? There are so many delicious different ways to enjoy sweet potatoes, one of which is a baked Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potato. This recipe is packed with protein from the chicken, healthy fats thanks to the avocado, and potassium that's in the sweet potato. 

3. Sheet Pan Pancakes 

sweet, pastry, cake, chocolate
Lauren Peller

Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please. Instead of standing over the stove for 40 minutes flipping pancakes for a crowd, pop these Sheet Pan Pancakes into the oven for 16 minutes, and dinner is served. Toss in whatever fruits and nuts that you and your friends have on hand to add more flavor and texture to these pancakes. Don't forget to drizzle some honey or maple syrup over them that you "borrowed" from the dining hall and call it a day. 

4. Ramen n' Cheese

pasta, macaroni, spaghetti
Caroline Liu

Ramen and mac & cheese are basic necessities for surviving college. But have you ever thought of combining the two into one cheesy meal? This Ramen n' Cheese recipe will be a total crowd pleaser. 

#SpoonTip: This recipe has a serving size of two, but you can easily double up and still stay under 10 dollars.

5. Turkey Burgers

meat, beef, pork, meatball
Rachel Davis

With only three ingredients, these Turkey Burgers are a great dinner recipe you can whip up in no time. They are super straightforward to make with no fancy equipment needed. If you really want to amp up these burgers, add some fresh herbs or half a teaspoon of cayenne to bring in the heat. Make sure to tell your friends to bring some toppings. I mean, you did make them burgers after all.

6. Broccoli Parmesan Pasta

pasta, macaroni, broccoli, sauce, cheese
Katherine Baker

Pasta is super cheap, and there are so many quick and easy meals you can make out of it. Probably the simplest way to eat pasta is with jarred marinara sauce, but let's step it up a bit. Instead of using store-bought sauce, try making this cheesy Broccoli Parmesan Pasta. If you're not a fan of broccoli, substitute it for cauliflower or peas, because even as an adult you should be eating your vegetables.

#SpoonTip: This recipe has a suggested serving size of 1-2 but you can easily double up on the ingredients and stay under 10 dollars.

7. 10-Minute Tortellini Soup

vegetable, soup, pasta, meat, tortellini, broth
Caroline Grew

This recipe for Tortellini Soup couldn't be any easier. All you have to do is dump a couple of ingredients in a pot, wait a few minutes, and dinner is ready. Even though this soup might be more of a autumn recipe, you never know when it might come in handy. Soup is also a great remedy for home sickness, just saying. 

8. Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets 

meat, chicken, sweet
Emma Lally

Chicken nuggets are a fun food to share with a crowd and a great award after unpacking all those boxes. Forget about walking over to the nearest McDonald's and make your own Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken Nuggets that will make all your friends begging you for the recipe.

9. Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Goat Cheese Galette

chicken, pizza, sweet potato, cheese
Katherine Surko

If you really want to impress your friends, this Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Goat Cheese Galette should do the job. It's filled with tasty vegetables but can be modified to your own personal preference. Swap out the Brussels sprouts for some roasted bell peppers or mushrooms. This galette takes some time to bake, but by the time it's done cooking you'll have a fancy dish to serve your hungry friends.

10. Black Bean Burgers

avocado, sandwich, bread, lettuce, meat, beef, guacamole
Parisa Soraya

Trick your meat loving friend with this Black Bean Burger recipe. Chances are they'll fall in love with it. These burgers are delicious on their own but the spicy Sriracha Aioli sauce really takes them to a whole new level. Serve them on burger buns or on a bed of lettuce for a tasty vegetarian meal.

11. Sriracha Mac And Cheese Bites 

pasta, vegetable, sauce, macaroni, chicken, tomato, parsley
Rayna Mohrmann

Forget about Kraft Single Mac and Cheese Cups and make some Sriracha Mac And Cheese Bites for your friends. They're spicy, creamy, cheesy, and, the best part, no fork required. If you really want to turn up the heat, add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the mac.

12. 3-Ingredient Pizza Rolls

bread, dough, pastry, sweet
Kirby Barth

Pizza is great, but these 3-Ingredient Pizza Rolls are even better. They have all the taste of pizza wrapped inside soft, warm dough. You can even put a vegetarian twist on these rolls but substituting the pepperoni for onions, mushrooms, tofu, or spinach. Don't forget to serve them with your favorite dipping sauce!

If you don't want to start off the semester eating dinner in a dining hall, try out one of these recipes and throw a small get together in your room. Catching up with friends with amazing food is a great way to begin the year!