When you’re a student, cooking can seem completely overwhelming at first. Here are some quick and easy recipes for students that will overturn questions these doubts and make like What do I buy? How do I turn the oven on? What do you mean you don’t cook rice the same way as pasta? and What the hell is a wok? seem like a distant dream…
1. Stir Fry
The beautiful thing about a stir fry is that it is possibly one of the easiest things to cook. It’s super cheap, healthy and you can change it up every time you make it. Stir fries are impossible to mess up, making it the perfect place to start exercising your creative flair.
What You’ll Need: An assortment of vegetables, it doesn’t matter too much which ones. Take a look in the fridge and see what you have. If you’re stuck for some ideas, try some peppers, baby corn, spinach, broccoli and tomato. Make sure you have some onion and lots of garlic. You may also want some noodles and/or some chicken to add some extra substance.
- Step One: Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok. Throw in the onion and garlic, roughly chopped. Stir until they start to brown.
- Step Two: Throw in the vegetables and stir as to not let them burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Step Three: Once the veg is soft, put in either the noodles, chicken or both and cook until the chicken is properly cooked. Add soy sauce and other seasonings as you like to flavour, serve hot.
2. Tuna Pasta Bake
The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity and how bloody cheap it is.
What You’ll Need: One or two tins of tuna, two tins of chopped tomatoes, pasta, cheddar cheese.
- Step One: Boil some pasta
- Step Two: Put the pasta in a deep baking tray, preferably a glass one, and add the tins of chopped tomatoes, tuna and cheese.
- Step Three: Stir the pasta and ingredients together, add some seasoning, something green or spicy usually works well.
- Step Four: Add more cheese, bake for 30-45 minutes.
3. Leek and Potato Soup
Soup is a great one for making a large, filling and cheap batches of food. If you want to make a vat of food that’ll last you a while, double these ingredients and put half in the freezer after you’ve finished cooking.
What You’ll Need: 500g of potatoes, 3 leeks, 1 onion, some garlic, black mustard seeds, one stock cube.
- Step One: Cut the potatoes in halves and fry them in about 40g of butter with the onion (chopped), garlic (ditto) and mustard seeds for about 5 minutes.
- Step Two: dissolve the stock cube in 1 litre of boiling water and add to the pot. Bring it to boil and then reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are just soft.
- Step Three: Slice the leeks into long shreds and stir them into the saucepan and cook for a further five minutes. Add salt, pepper and whatever seasoning you like for taste.
4. Baked Sweet Potato With Tuna And Veg
This is a very filling, healthy and easy recipe that doesn’t involve any baking. Try this one if you’re looking for a super quick bite to eat.
What You’ll Need: A large sweet potato or several small ones. Some veg that you like. A tin of tuna.
- Step One: Cut the sweet potato(es) in half lengthways and pierce with fork all over. Put in microwave for ten or so minutes until they’re soft all the way through.
- Step Two: Get the veg you like, put them in a pan and fry them. I usually go for spring onion, spinach and garlic. Add tuna.
- Step Three: Mix the cooked ingredients with mayonnaise, if so desired, to keep it all together.
- Step Four: Put the veg on the cooked sweet potato. Enjoy.
5. Mushroom Risotto
Risotto needs a little bit more attention than the other dishes as it is one that you constantly need to stir, but if you’re interested in an incredibly delicious, filling and creamy dish, this recipe is worth the effort.
What You’ll Need: 1 onion, a handful of garlic, 300g of risotto rice, 1/4 cup of white wine, 1 pack of chopped mushrooms, 1 stock cube, 2tbs of olive oil, 1 knob of butter, some white wine, parmesan.
- Step One: Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add chopped onion and garlic, frying them for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Then add the mushrooms.
- Step Two: Stir in the rice and make sure it mixes in well with the oil and butter. Pour in the wine and let it simmer. Keep stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed.
- Step Three: Add the stock cube to 2 pints of boiling water and add the stock one ladleful at a time, only adding another once the liquid has been fully absorbed. Continue until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir consistently.
- Step Four: Add any garnish you like, including the parmesan which’ll make it super rich and creamy. Enjoy.
6. Vegetarian Chilli
Chilli is a great, versatile and super easy dish to prepare. What’s more, not only can you make huge batches and whack it in the freezer, but chilli can be eaten with anything – by itself, with rice, in pasta, in a wrap with some cheese. This way you’ll feel like you’ve had lots of different meals in one week when it’s all been sourced from this one great, cheap delight.
What You’ll Need: 2 red onion, chopped; 3-4 cloves of garlic; 2 bell peppers, chopped; 3 tins of chopped tomatoes; 1 bag of Quorn veggie mince; 2 tins of red kidney beans, drained; 2-3 tablespoons of chili powder; 1 teaspoon of ground cumin; salt and pepper to garnish.
- Step One: Cook onion, garlic, Quorn and peppers over a medium heat until the Quorn is defrosted and the other ingredients are softened.
- Step Two: Add the beans, chopped tomatoes, and season. Cook until you’re satisfied.
Quesadilla is a beautifully simple, delicious and satisfying meal or snack any day. They take a matter of minutes to make as well.
What You’ll Need: tortilla bread, 4 dollops of hot salsa, cheddar cheese, 1 spring onion, some fresh spinach, tinned tuna, drained, or some left over roast chicken. You may add any other vegetables of your choice.
- Step One: spread the salsa on one half of the tortilla, then place on top of that the spinach, chopped spring onion, tuna/chicken. Then grate the cheese and sprinkle as much as you like over the ingredients.
- Step Two: Fold over the tortilla and then place in a non stick frying pan on a low heat, no oil is needed. Cook till the cheese is melted inside and is golden brown on the outside. You may place it in a toastie machine if you have one of those instead.
8. Quick Curry
What beats a good curry? In my opinion, nothing. But what’s important is that you don’t have to be the most experienced cook to make a great curry. Follow these simple steps below to make a curry when you’re in a hurry!
What You’ll Need: One chopped red onion, a handful of crushed garlic, some ready made ginger from a jar, a handful of chilis, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 200g of cooked prawns, 1-2 tablespoons of gujarati or garam masala.
- Step One: Heat 1 tbs of sunflower oil, add the onion to the heated pan and fry until it starts to brown. Then add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook for a minute or two, letting the flavours mingle, then add the tomatoes. Use the empty tomato tin to throw in a 1/4 of water and then let it simmer for two minutes before you add the prawns and masala.
- Step Two: Simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Serve hot with some coriander for garnish (if you like it, that is) and some bread.