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Yeah, soups, stews, curries come to mind.
Also look at beans & pulses. They are cheap, keep well and you can do.more with them than just soup.
Check the "peasant" dishes. They generally used cheaper items, but took/take longer to prepare.
Stir fries maybe. You can use less meat. Slice the meat real thin. Every bite has a piece of meat and it feels like plenty.
Something with dough could work. Like a pie. Maybe onion pie as a side, or veg pie as a main. Or bunny chow?
 

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I hear you @chrislehrer
I think the way to go is the original peasant food. Cheap(ish) ingredients, but long prep/cooking time. A lot of people don't want to wait for hours for dinner to be ready.

I don't know what your set up is, but if you got any way to get those delicious cooking smells coming out, people just can't resist.
I remember varsity days, going home in the early hours and coming past the baker's... Man, 4 in the morning and we would knock on the door and devour that first load of fresh bread
 
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