Cheap and easy meals for students

Being a foreign student is not an easy job as everyone might think. We know that it is hard to find time to cook, clean, do grocery shopping, and run all other errands at the same time that you try to make time to study, do projects, homework, and prepare for exams.

Cooking and eating well are the most important things you must take care of; however, it is also one of the things students struggle the most with. That is why we are sharing with you some easy and inexpensive recipes you can cook while studying abroad.

Pork and peanut dragon noodles

Pork and Peanut Dragon Noodles - with VIDEO - Budget Bytes

Total cost: $3.75 recipe / $1.25 serving



  • 1/4cup chili garlic sauce ($0.53)
  • 1/4cup soy sauce ($0.24)
  • 1/4cup brown sugar ($0.16)


  • 1/2 ground pork* ($1.50)
  • 6 ramen noodles ($1.00)
  • 3green onions, sliced ($0.20)
  • 1/4cup unsalted peanuts, chopped ($0.12)


  1. Combine the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add the ground pork to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it is fully browned*. Once browned, add the prepared dragon sauce and chopped peanuts. Allow the pork and peanuts to simmer in the sauce for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half.
  3. While the pork is browning, begin boiling water for your noodles. Once boiling, add your noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain the noodles in a colander.
  4. Once the sauce has reduced and the noodles have drained, add the noodles to the skillet and toss until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Top with sliced green onions and serve!


Creamy tuna pasta with peas and parmesan

Creamy Tuna Pasta with Peas and Parmesan - Budget Bytes

Total Cost: $6.01 recipe / $1.50 serving


  • 8 pasta ($0.67)
  • 2Tbsp butter ($0.26)
  • 2cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1cup frozen peas ($0.38)
  • 1cup half and half* ($0.75)
  • 1/2cup shredded Parmesan ($0.95)
  • 12 can solid albacore tuna, drained ($2.79)


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Add the butter and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute, or just until it is soft and fragrant, but not browned.
  3. Add the frozen peas and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for a couple of minutes more, or until the peas are heated through.
  4. Add the half and half to the skillet and allow it to come up to a simmer, stirring frequently to keep a skin from forming on the surface or the bottom from scorching. Let the half and half simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or just until it reduces slightly.
  5. At this point, the pasta should be finished and drained. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pasta and stir to combine again. Allow the heat to melt the Parmesan as you stir. Once melted, turn the heat off. Taste the pasta and add a pinch of salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Finally, add the drained tuna and fold it into the pasta. If you are using whole tuna chunks, break them up slightly as you stir. If you are using chunk light tuna that is already in small pieces, fold gently to avoid breaking the tuna up too much. Serve warm!


Hearty black bean quesadillas

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas - Vegetarian - with VIDEO - Budget Bytes

Total Cost: $6.61 recipe / $0.66 serving


  • 1 15 oz.can black beans** ($0.56)
  • 1cup frozen corn kernels ($0.48)
  • 1/2small red onion ($0.44)
  • 1clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1/4bunch fresh cilantro ($0.21)
  • 2cups shredded cheese ($2.50)
  • 1batch taco seasoning ($0.34)
  • 10taco sized tortillas ($2.00)


  1. Drain the can of beans and rinse lightly. Place the beans in a large bowl along with the corn (no need to thaw).
  2. Rinse the cilantro, remove the leaves, and chop roughly. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the cilantro, onion, garlic, and shredded cheese to the bowl with the beans and corn. Lastly, mix up a batch of taco seasoning and add to the bowl. Stir everything until evenly mixed.
  3. Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook in a skillet on both sides over medium heat until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted.
  4. To freeze the quesadillas, simply fill each one and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for one hour to solidify the quesadillas and then transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).


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Don’t forget to visit us on Facebook or Instagram! You can find us like @mshomestays

What is to be a homestay family?

Karla and me, Yesica, came to Montreal in 2008 to study English and French and lived with a local Homestay Family for six months. We can say that we lived the most incredible experience an international student could ever live!  We did not only meet a Canadian family but we met OUR Family as we are still in touch with them and we meet them a few times per month. After 11 years, they are always present for us!  We MS Homestays because we want to help more students to live the same experience we lived by offering personalized accommodation options according to their preferences.

Today, we want to introduce you to Sandra Roux. She has been part of our Homestay Families for many years. We can say she is an excellent host and she has also been a great mom to all the international students she has hosted. You can have the whole cultural experience of living in Canada with her. She speaks English, French, Italian, Norwegian and Creole.

Here is a brief message she wrote for all the students who are thinking about staying in her home:

“I am a kind and fun single mom and I have a very beautiful house in Montreal 15 min away from downtown and right beside all services, including bus in front of the house. My son and I love having fun and enjoying outdoor activities. I am a great entertainer and I would love to to make you discover Quebec and more on weekends. We would be happy to welcome you in a big furnished bedroom with all included: heat, TV, cable, Wi-Fi, desk, etc. In the house you will have unlimited access to kitchen, bathroom, laundry and swimming pool. The neighborhood is very calm with a lot of families and the riverside is to a 3 min walk distance where you can go relax by the water, bicycle or jog. I do A LOT of cooking! I cook everyday and I have a “one moth plan”. It means that I cook a different dish everyday and you won’t eat twice the same in one month.  I am very careful to cook balanced food, that is very important in our family. I will also give you several snacks a day in case you are a little hungry during the day. Living in our family is more than living in a homestay. It is having a full Canadian experience and really get in touch with the country, the culture and the life here.”

During the last semester Nasato Magani, a Japanese exchange student attending McGill University, stayed with Sandra and her son for six months. They had a great time hanging out in Montreal and its surroundings.

Hi Karla! I already arrived at Japan. I had a good staying in Montreal. Thanks to you, thank you for supporting me!!

We are so happy that other student had an amazing experience with his homestay during his exchange program in Montreal. If you are interested in living the Homestay Family experience and if you are looking for accommodation in Montreal or Toronto, contact us directly through our website. You can also find us on Facebook or Instagram as mshomestays.


Why to live in one of the best neighborhoods of Montreal, The Plateau Mont-Royal?

The Plateau Mont-Royal is the perfect combination between the wealth of a working-class from the past, the entrepreneurial start-up spirit, and the bohemian-chic tendencies of its many resident artists. This is what makes Plateau the perfect neighborhood for students and young people.

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If you have seen pictures or have walked by this colorful neighborhood, you have realized that the heritage architecture is unique and beautiful, its narrow streets shaded by tall trees, and its legendary Victorian colorful houses. More than half of these houses were built before 1946, so by living and wandering around the neighborhood, you can really appreciate one important part of Montreal’s history.

However, if you are not a history fanatic, you should consider the diverse activities you can practice in the neighborhood and simply admire all of the area’s beauty. You should know that the Plateau has the highest population density of all Montreal’s neighborhoods with roughly 100,000 residents, and all of them are bilingual and multicultural. Even if French is one of the most used languages, you can also speak in English. Also, the neighbors have a Facebook group to stay connected and share the activities or cultural events in the neighborhood and its surroundings. Check it out here.

Check below you some local landmarks you can’t miss and activities that can be enjoyed by residents:

  1. Enjoy outdoor activities or sports at Mont Royal Park or have a picnic at La Fontaine Park.
  2. Visit local restaurants, coffee shops or bakeries. We recommend you Schwatz’s sandwiches and Saint Viateur bagels. Also, you can try out some molecular gastronomy.
  3. Enjoy live music concerts at the Metropolis, Casa del Popolo and Divan Orange.
  4. Go shopping on Saint-Denis Street, Saint Laurent Boulevard and Mont-Royal Avenue.

The Plateau is an accessible place from Downtown Montreal by bus or metro. The closest metro stations you can find are Mont-Royal, Sherbrooke, and Laurier.  There are also several bus stops. Check them out here.

If you need more information about apartments in this iconic neighborhood, contact us directly in the section of our website. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram as mshomestays. The apartments are fully equipped, accessible, and with all services you need. You can book a videocall to see the apartment.