If you're heading off to university for the first time, it may well also be the first time you've had to fend for yourself in the kitchen department too, and if this is a daunting prospect then we have just the thing to help you out! We've compiled some fail-safe recipes that are cheap, quick and easy to prepare so you have no excuse for eating beans on toast until it's coming out of your ears. We hope you like them...
A classic student staple and a recipe which can be modified relatively easily depending on what you have in the cupboard. Here we have a recipe for a simple cream cheese, red pepper and tomato pasta bake, which will feed around five-six people - which either means it's not your turn to cook for another five nights, or you can portion it up and keep it in the freezer for another day:
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 500g fusilli pasta
- 150g cream cheese
- 100g cheddar cheese, grated
- Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/ 200°C/ 400°F.
- Fry the chopped onion in a pan over a medium heat until softened, but not browned. Add the garlic and red pepper and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
- Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil and add the pasta - cook for a few minutes less than it says on the packet, as it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain and keep to one side.
- Add the two cans of chopped tomatoes to the onion and red pepper and heat until simmering. Continue to cook for a few minutes then stir in the cream cheese.
- Remove from the heat and mix with the almost cooked pasta.
- Pour into an oven-proof dish and sprinkle with cheese.
- Place into the oven for around 20 minutes or so - until the top has a nice golden crisp to it!
There are many ways you can modify this recipe - adding vegetables and even chicken or sausages - just make sure it is thoroughly cooked before eating. Alternatively, this could be as simple as mixing a couple of dollops of cream cheese with a can of chopped tomatoes, stirring it into the almost cooked pasta, topping with grated cheese and popping in the oven!
The humble omelette:
This is another recipe which can be adapted depending on what's in the fridge. You could make it as simple as adding a little cheese and ham or, as we've done here, add some grated courgette and some fried onion to give it a little more flavour...
- 2 eggs
- 30g grated cheese
- 30g ham, chopped
- A couple of spring onions, chopped
- Half a courgette, grated
- Half a red pepper, chopped finely
- Whisk together the eggs and grated courgette.
- In a small frying pan, heat some oil and fry the spring onions and red pepper until softened slightly.
- Pour the egg mixture over the contents of the frying pan and scatter with the ham and cheese.
- Let it cook over a medium heat until the middle looks set. You can also pop it under the grill to cook the top quicker if you'd like, but make sure you keep an eye on it!
Another super cheap, easy and healthy (depending on the topping!) meal, which is amazingly easy to adapt depending on how you're feeling! There's the obvious combination of cheese and beans, but if you're sick of the sight of beans, the below recipe could be just for you - super tasty and with just 4 ingredients, it won't break the bank either....
- Jacket potato
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 2 rashers of bacon
- 50g cream cheese
- Firstly you will need to bake the potato;
- Pre-heat the oven to gas 7/ 425°F/ 220°C and cook for 30 minutes before turning it down to gas 5/ 375°F/ 190°C for another 30 minutes or so. You may need to increase/ decrease the cooking time depending on the size of the potato.
- Towards the end of the cooking time, grill your rashers of bacon until cooked to how you like under a moderate grill.
- In a small bowl mix together the spring onions, cream cheese and bacon.
- Once the potato is cooked, scoop out the middle and mix together with the onion/ cheese/ bacon, then add back to the crispy skin and devour!
- This also goes well with a small side salad - just to make sure you get your 5 a day!
We hope you give our recipes a go and enjoy making them as much as we're sure you'll enjoy eating them, but if at the end of you tenancy you need a bit of help cleaning up after your oven - make sure you've got Ovenclean on speed dial to ensure you avoid losing your deposit!