When it comes to food, most students would agree that there are two main factors that help us decide on what we eat: how easy it is to make, and how much it costs.
It has always been easier to get takeaways but cooking for yourself is usually the answer to a tight budget, which is a challenge (notice I’m avoiding the word “problem” here) that many uni students face. The fact is, we all still need to eat food no matter how thick or thin our wallet is, but you will save money by avoiding the takeaway trap.
It’s time to improvise and get creative with your budget! Try these flexible, quick and cost effective recipes that are the perfect alternative to ringing your local curry house.
There are only two things you need to make the perfect pizza: pitta or flat breads and all the toppings you like! My favourite method is to spread tomato sauce over the bread then add some mushrooms and chorizo or chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle cheese on top, pop it under the grill and voila! You’re unlikely to finish all the tomato sauce and other ingredients in one go, so you can save them for the next time you get peckish!
Bacon noodles are a tasty treat that take only seconds to master. Fry the bacon for a few minutes, add some peas or whatever vegetables you like (eating cheaply doesn’t have to mean unhealthily!) Mix cornflour with chicken stock, then stir this into your bacon pan with the cooked noodles and add a good splash of soy sauce (or similar). Stir in some paprika and simmer for a few minutes until thickened. It’s time to put your feet up in front of the TV and enjoy your homemade pot noodle!
High protein wraps will give you energy all day long! Cook chorizo until crispy then keep to one side. Fry or scramble some eggs, whichever you prefer. Spread your choice of sauces (e.g. mayonnaise, tomato sauce) over a tortilla wrap, and then add a layer of salad leaves. Top with the chorizo and the eggs then fold the wrap and tuck in!
Create chicken curry & rice in an instant! Pan-fry chicken and add a ready-made curry sauce, and cook some rice (10 min boil in the bag is easiest). Simply pile the chicken curry on top of the rice and serve with shop bought poppadums’ – the perfect Indian takeaway at half the price!
Savory slice – both healthy and quick! You can use ready-rolled pastry, and any toppings – I use canned tuna and supermarket sweetcorn. Preheat the oven to approximately 220C°C and lay the pastry out on a baking sheet. Pinch up the edges to form a border and pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the tuna and sweetcorn in a bowl, adding seasoning, as you like. Remove the pastry from the oven and pour the tuna mix onto it. Sprinkle with some cheese and spring onions, before putting it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, until it is golden, puffed up and crispy. You can experiment with the toppings and also change the shape of the pastry.
- Sunday dinner:
The perfect group meal: grab some pasta, a pasta bake sauce, and any other ingredients you fancy – my favourites include courgettes and chicken. You can also choose the type of pasta you want to use but for pasta bake I recommend rigatoni. Most pasta bake sauces will have cooking instructions on their packaging, but if not just use Google or ring mum – easy!
Mug cakes. If you have a sweet tooth, this recipe is a lifesaver for you. You only need a few ingredients: butter, egg, sugar, flour and baking powder to make this amazing cake in under 10 minutes! You can add your favorite flavour to personalise this recipe, for example I use Matcha green tea powder. Various mug cake recipes can be found on food blogs or websites like BBC Good Food.
So give the takeaways a break this weekend and try these alternatives instead. After all, if your tummy is happy, and your wallet is happy, your time is saved and your cooking repertoire is developed, what else could you need?
This post was bought to you by Jessica Giovanni – Our International Student Ambassador from Indonesia. Jessica is a Food and Nutrition BSc student.