When living away from home at uni, buying and preparing all of your own food can be tough – particularly when your student loan is spread thinly on books and student utility bills!
There are several things you can do, however, to help yourself:
- Bulk buy
The more you buy of something the cheaper it is. Buy larger quantities of easy to store favourites and watch your budget start to balance better.
- Stock up
A similar principle to bulk buying; keeping stocks of tins and frozen foods (such as fish, vegetables, beans and pulses), instead of always buying fresh items, will keep your costs down without compromising on the healthiness of your diet.
- Batch cook
This refers to when you cook a whole load of something to keep in the fridge or freezer for multiple meals – a real lifesaver for your wallet and it should also stop you needing those ‘emergency’ takeaways.
Easy Peasy Macaroni Cheesy
This delicious classic is a perfect meal solution for when you are low on funds. You’ll get your greens too.
- 250g macaroni
- 40g butter
- 40g plain flour
- 600ml milk
- 250g frozen peas
- 250g cheddar, grated
- Boil water in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and cook the macaroni for 8–10 minutes.
- Melt the butter over a medium heat in a larger saucepan. Add the flour and stir to a smooth paste, cooking for a few minutes.
- Whisk in the milk gradually. Cook for 10–15 minutes to a thickened sauce. Add the peas in the last 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the hob, add the cheese and stir until smooth.
- Combine with the macaroni.
This veggie curry is a midweek miracle. It is simple, speedy and uses tins from the cupboard. It’s hidden health hack: it contains three of your five a day!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tsp curry powder
- 400g can tomatoes
- 400ml can coconut milk
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 large fresh tomatoes
- Rice, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, finely sliced. Cook until softened.
- Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and the curry powder, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the can of tomatoes, squashing them with a utensil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk and season. Bring to the boil then simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Tip in a drained and rinsed 400g can of chickpeas and the fresh tomatoes, quartered. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Loaded Jacket Potatoes
When funds are low, the good old jacket potato is the perfect fall back. Just load these up with your favourite fillings, and you’re good to go.
1 baking potato
Toppings of your choice (e.g. cheese, tuna, beans, hummous).
- Cook the potato in the oven for 1-2 hours at around 180 degrees
- Fill with topping of your choice
- (Optional) Melt cheese on top under the grill
Even if you don’t have an oven, it is still possible to cook a potato in the microwave. Depending on the size of the potato, this will take around 8-12 minutes.
Whether you’re batch cooking for the week or cooking for your flat, this easy chilli recipe is incredibly chill.
- 1 onion
- 3 peppers
- 1 sachet of chilli con carne mix
- 400g can of kidney beans
- 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
- Rice, to serve
- Chop up the peppers and onion, add a teaspoon of oil to a wok or frying pan and cook them on a low-mid temperature until softened.
- Add the beans, tomatoes and spice.
- Cook until hot through
When money is tight but you’re craving pizza, make these cheap and cheerful pitta pizzas.
- Wholewheat pitta breads
- Sun-dried tomato purée
- Toppings of your choice
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking sheet inside to heat up. Spread each pitta with 1 tsp purée. Put on the toppings.
- Place on the hot sheet and bake for 10 minutes until the pittas are crisp, your cheese has melted and your toppings are done.
Homemade Pot Noodle
This homemade pot noodle takes a little longer than the instant version to prepare, but the taste (and additional nutritional value) is well worth the few extra minutes you’ll spend.
- 40g nest dried vermicelli rice noodles
- 1-2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1-2 tsp chilli sauce (depending on how hot you like it)
- 1 tsp ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- Mixed veggies of your choice, finely chopped
- ½ lime, zested and juiced
- Use a large heatproof jar. Put the noodles in the bottom of the jar, then add all the other ingredients except the lime. Pour over enough boiling water to cover it all – about 300ml. Cover with a lid and leave for 10 minutes, then stir in the lime zest and juice. Eat immediately.
This microwave brownie recipe is the perfect budget pick-me up for a quiet Sunday or a late-night study session.
- 150g butter
- 65g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 200g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g plain flour
- Melt the butter for 30 to 40 seconds on high.
- Add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla in that order and mix well.
- Add the eggs, slightly whipping after each one.
- Add the flour and mix well.
- Grease a microwave safe dish and spoon in the brownie mixture. Cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Using these top culinary tips, you’ll become everyone’s favourite housemate in no time!
Make sure to save a brownie for your friends here at Glide.