michael, what year did you go to college? where in the heck can you get canned veggies and mac-cheese for 19 cents?
i remember my brother-in-law talking about buying quarts of beer for 25 cents, back in the early 70's.
here's something a little more fancy, in case you want to impress your college sweetheart. it's also good to make for large groups and benefit functions, as it is easily multiplied, and cost effective.
linguini alla vongole (pasta with white clam sauce)
1 box linguini
3 cloves garlic, smashed, skins discarded, minced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 stick butter (or steal a lot of packets from the cafeteria)
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (steal from a pizza place
1 can chopped clams, drained
1 can whole baby clams, including the liquid
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, washed, stems discarded, chopped, divided into 2
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
optional, to serve on the side: extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, italian bread
fill a large (like a 6 quart or so) pot 3/4 of the way with water, put over high heat, bring to a rolling boil, salt the water, and add the box of linguini. stir a few times to keep the pasta from sticking together.
while the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat, let butter melt, and add the diced rred onion. toss a few times to coat, then once a minute or so, until the onion begins to soften and carmelize (turn brown on the egdes). turn heat down to medium, and add the garlic. cook the garlic gently with the onion, unitl it just begins to turn golden.
the pasta should be ready about now, so test it so that it is just little firm, not gushy. this is called al dente. drain the pasta when it is ready, set aside, uncovered.
dump the can of chopped clams into the onion and garlic, cook for a minute, then add the whole baby clams, including the liquid. add 2 more tablespoons of butter and 1 of the divided portions of parsley, cook until the butter is melted, stirring into the clams.
turn off the heat, dump the drained pasta over the clams and toss with a couple of spoons.
pour the clam tossed pasta into a large bowl, and sprinkle the remaining parsley over top.
serve with italian bread, olive oil for dipping (with a little salt and pepper added), and offer the grated cheese as you plate the pasta. not everyone likes cheese on their clams.