Easy Meals on a College Budget: Chip Chili

IMG_4547-3-225x300Ever feel like your schedule is too busy to make time to eat? Or want to eat something besides chicken-n-fries, but stuck on a college budget?Are you curious how much food you can squeeze into a Doritos bag?

Then Chip Chili is for you! It’s inspired by a snack from a small amusement park in Pennsylvania called Knoebels (this recipe helped them win “Golden Ticket Award” for best amusement park food in the country over Disney World)!

For less than four dollars a bag, this on-the-go recipe is a perfect meal for the aspiring college chef who’s always in a rush. As always, homemade chili is preferred, although when you’re a college student, making chili will not always be an option. Also, to appeal to meat lovers and vegetarians alike, simple tweaks are easy to fit this recipe, such as turkey burger or sautéed vegetables.

Here is what you will need and the basic recipe:


  • 5 snack size bags of any type of chip
  • 1 pound of hamburger (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (optional)
  • 1 can or microwavable safe container of chili
  • 1 bag of shredded lettuce
  • 1 bag of shredded taco cheese
  • 1 sour cream (6 oz.)

Cooking the hamburger:

Step 1: Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and place on medium heat

Step 2: Once the oil is hot, add the hamburger, break it up and cook until brown

Step 3: Add the chili to the beef, mix together and heat until simmering.

Step 4: Fill each bag half way with the chili

Step 5: Add the shredded lettuce, cheese and sour cream on top and mix in

Step 6: Grab a fork and enjoy!

Preparing without hamburger:

Step 1: Heat the chili by the instructions on the container

Step 2: Open each bag of chips and slightly crush them to make room

Step 3: Fill each bag half way with the chili

Step 4: Add the shredded lettuce, cheese and sour cream on top and mix in

Step 5: Grab a fork and enjoy!

Although this recipe is not the healthiest, most luxurious or glamorous, it takes roughly 15 minutes to make, does not require a full kitchen to cook, and is perfect for anyone with limited supplies and skill.

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