Cheap and easy recipes to learn before you go to university

Sian Hacketton 18 February 2021
Cheap and easy recipes to learn before you go to university

Eat like a king for cheap with these super-easy recipes.

Whether you’re headed to university in September, or a current student looking to learn some new easy and cheap recipes, we’ve put together a cracking list to help you eat like a king on a shoestring budget. 

Many of these recipes can be changed to suit your diet; just swap the meat out for some Quorn or veggies.

Pasta bake (approx. 30 mins)

A comfort food classic. Although it takes longer than some other pasta dishes, the wait is worth it for the delicious end result.

Start by making your pasta as usual and fry some veggies and some meat or fish to go with it. Personally, I like to add tuna to mine. Don’t forget to preheat the oven while you’re doing this part. 

Put your cooked pasta in an ovenproof dish with a sauce of your choice. Depending on your cooking skills, you can either make a sauce or buy some from a supermarket. 

Top with cheese and breadcrumbs to give it some crunch before baking it in the oven until the cheese has melted. 

This tastes just as good the next day for lunch, so don’t be afraid to make plenty!

Stir fry (approx. 15-20 mins)

As well as being cheap, a stir fry is also a super quick dinner that can be made in one pan to save you washing up! 

Start by picking a selection of veggies to prep; mushrooms, peppers and courgettes work well.  If you want to chuck some meat or Quorn products in, then add these first, to give them time to cook before you add your vegetables. I normally just use vegetables, as it makes it much more affordable.

You can buy straight-to-wok noodles or ones that you can boil in water. Once everything is in the pan together, add a stir fry sauce in a packet; soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce also work well. 


Curry (approx. 30-40 mins)

This is a great wholesome dish that can make you feel like a gourmet chef even if you’re new to cooking.

The order of this recipe depends on whether you’re adding meat products. If you’re using chicken, fry this first, before adding onions, peppers, and any other veg you fancy (approx. 15 mins). 

There are plenty of sauces you can buy ready-made, you can easily make one yourself; buy a tin of coconut milk and add some tinned chopped tomatoes. Then season it with a curry powder to your taste preferences.

While your curry simmers, put your rice on to cook; when I’m feeling lazy, I sometimes use a bag of microwave rice.

This is another great recipe for batch cooking and freezing portions for future meals.

Fajitas (approx. 15-20 mins)

Start by frying some chicken or Quorn with some onions, peppers, and any other vegetables you might want. The mixture tastes great if you season it with some barbeque sauce, or you can buy a pot of ready-made fajita seasoning. 

Place a wrap on a plate and add sauces of your choice e.g. salsa, sour cream or guacamole (or all of them). Add your filling and that’s it. Easy-peasy! The hardest part is mastering your wrap folding skills.

The mix will last a couple of days in the fridge if you want to have it for dinner or lunch the next day.

Wrap or pitta pizzas (approx. 10-15 mins)

This is a great recipe for when you’re feeling lazy. Smother your chosen base in tomato puree and cheese, then go crazy with the toppings! A personal favourite of mine is mushroom, pepper, salami and cheese.

Put them under the grill and watch them carefully, as they will start to crisp up quickly.

We hope these recipes inspire you to try something new. If you’re after something a bit more instant, then be sure to check out these easy microwave recipes.

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Sian Hacketton 18 February 2021