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5 cheap and easy student recipes to try

Article writen by: Neha George
01 April 2022

As a student living away from home in Loughborough student accommodation, it can be easy to find yourself ordering an endless amount of takeaways. But why spend money on buying food when you can make them at home for cheaper? Here are 5 budget friendly meals that you can have fun making by yourself without having to compromise on taste.

1) Shakshuka

Student recipe idea Shakshuka

This is a middle eastern meal that will promise to fill you up with ingredients you probably already have at home. Main ingredients include eggs (1 or 2), onion/capsicum/spinach (optional), a chopped tomato can, and spices/seasonings you already have at home (salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, oregano).

To make this, start heating the pan with low flame and add butter. Once this is melted, add in half a thinly sliced onion and sauté till the colour changes to golden-brown. Increase the heat and add 1 can of chopped onions and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Add in the seasonings you like (personally, paprika and oregano increases the flavour 100x), and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity of tomatoes and mix well. Then, flatten out the base with a spoon, and create 2-3 dents, making space to pour in your eggs. Crack open those eggs and place them gently onto the dents without trying to break the yolk. Close the pan with a lid and let it cook for 1.5 minutes. Then, remove the lid and add salt and pepper to your eggs.

Adding mozzarella or parmesan is not a bad idea either. Put the lid back on for another minute and voila! Serve yourself some healthy yet delicious food within your own student home.

2) A 2 in 1 Pasta-Pizza

Home made pizza pasta
A complete opposite to the first recipe I’d say. But of course, we’re all allowed to have that unhealthy yet comforting food occasionally, right? Honestly, this is a dish I’ve seen someone make once and I tried making my own version of it. Not gonna lie, mine tastes better...

All you will need is approximately 200-300 grams of pasta (any type will do), preferably cherry tomatoes (although chopped regular tomatoes will also do), tomato paste, sliced pepperoni and cheese of your choice (we like mozzarella and parmesan on this page).

Start with preheating the oven between 15 – 200 . While the oven is busy heating up, boil °C°C your pasta on the hob. It is best to not let it cook all the way as this will go into the oven very soon. Don’t forget to add salt and a tiny bit of olive oil to the pasta as it boils. Once the pasta is almost cooked, keep aside quarter cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Immediately try and shock the pasta by running it under cool water. This also helps in pasta not sticking to each other and getting mushy.

Combine the semi-cooked pasta with the sauce (chopped tomatoes), tomato paste, seasonings, half of the pepperoni pieces, and half of the grated cheese. Add in the pasta water mix again till combined well. Then grab your baking tray and pour in this mixture. Top it with some extra cheese along with the other half of pepperoni and bake till golden-brown. This should take roughly 10-15 minutes.

That is literally all. Just play your favourite movie and enjoy a dish that is delightfully cheesy, melty, and a 2in1 pizza-like pasta bake.

3) Healthy Pizza

Pizza on a chopping board
Seriously? Healthy pizza? Yes, you heard that right! This one is so simple and easy to cook, you may even have this everyday 🤷 . Get yourself a tortilla, spread some tomato paste (you can even use bottled pasta paste), and add in all the veggies you have at home.

Personally, I love some spinach, corn, and black olives. Then, place a few thinly sliced pepperoni pieces onto your pizza and top it with some mozzarella cheese. You can additionally drizzle olive oil if you like, but this is not necessary, just optional.

Place your pizza in an over at 200 for 10-15 minutes °C and voila! You’ve got yourself some guilt-free pizza without having to break the bank.

4) Creamy Garlicy Pasta

Student recipe: Garlic pasta

I’m sure every student out there has lived on pasta at some point during their uni years. Whether it was exam season or not, I certainly cook pasta when I need something to fill me up. A bonus with this recipe is that you can use this to meal plan, and it takes only 20 minutes to prepare. You can thank me once you’ve tried this. ​

So, what all do you need for this garlicy pasta? Obviously, pasta and garlic! But you’ll also need flour, milk, chicken/vegetable broth, cheese, parsley, and your choice of protein. I like using shrimps for my pasta, but you can swap it with literally any meat you like.

Start by boiling your pasta according to the package instructions. Please don’t forget to season your pasta with some salt and olive oil. In another pan, add two tablespoons of butter on medium heat and let it melt. Then add in your shrimps and let it cook for 2 minutes on each side. Don’t forget to season it with salt and pepper. You can even add some cajun seasoning if you have some at home. Once the shrimp is cooked, remove from the pan, and add another tablespoon of butter. Chop some garlic and place them on the pan and let it cook for a minute or so. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic. Then, add in flour little by little depending on how thick you want your pasta sauce to be. Grab some pasta water and mix with your chicken/vegetable broth and pour this into your sauce mixing consistently.

Add salt, pepper and chili flakes to your tasting and let it cook until the sauce starts to boil and thicken up. For the final touches on the sauce, chop some parsley and mix with grated parmesan/mozzarella cheese and add this to the saucepan. Now, you can also add your cooked shrimp to the sauce.

Finally, drain your pasta and combine it with the sauce. Mix thoroughly to ensure that the pasta is fully coated in the sauce and top it with sprinkles of chopped parsley (you’ve got to make it aesthetically pleasing). Serve immediately to eat hot, creamy, and garlicy pasta.

5) Salad

Salmon salad plated up

Ending this list with a healthy one! Whoever said salads don’t taste good has clearly not tried this recipe. Or does not know how to season their protein. I said what I said.

For this recipe, you’ll need spinach and lettuce as your base. Additionally, you will also need cherry tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onions, and your choice of protein (I’m using salmon for this one).​

So let’s start with the salmon. Season your salmon thoroughly! I want to see the salmon covered in different spices. You cannot go wrong with salt, pepper, cajun, oregano and chili flakes. Massage this well into your salmon. Remember, the more love you give it, the more flavour it gives you back. Once your salmon is coated, place this onto a baking tray and drizzle the tiniest amount of olive oil. Place it inside the oven at 200 for 25 minutes. Don’t forget to °C flip it halfway to get evenly cooked and crispy edges.

While your salmon cooks, wash all your veggies and chop them up to bite sizes. Drizzle some ranch or any salad dressing you like. Mix well and wait for your salmon to be cooked. Five minutes before your salmon is done, add some shredded cheese on the top of your salmon and place it back into the oven. Once the cheese is melted, add this to your salad bowl and enjoy the best meal you have ever tasted. Pro tip: A sprinkle of parmesan on top of your salad will never hurt you (just saying).

All of these recipes can be done from the comfort of your own home so you won't have to step outside your Loughborough student accommodation to enjoy delicious and exciting food.