Cheap eats for Students... and anyone else

You are studying hard all day and now need to fill your tummy with something cheap and filling before partying the night away!


All these dinners can be made for under £1 … unless you shop in the posh supermarkets, and considerably less if you shop in one of the discount stores and buy from the ‘value’ ranges.  Portion sizes are up to you… just match your appetite!

My aim is that you get food on the table fast without splashing out on eating out or take-away so you can get back to your studies and spend the money on your parties!


1.  Baked Potato: cook a large potato in the microwave and top with some grated cheese, a scoop of cream cheese, half a tin of beans, half a tin of tuna mixed with mayonnaise and some sweetcorn or a portion of the mince sauce I’ll tell you how to make later


2. Spanish Omelette:  If you have any left-over veg from another meal this will be quicker to cook but if not you can stir gently with your text book in the other hand!

Chop some onion and fry in a frying pan with a little oil until softened, add vegetables (chopped carrot, potato, courgette, peppers, frozen peas / sweetcorn, whatever comes to hand) and continue to cook gently.  If the veg were already cooked a few minutes is fine, otherwise gentle heat, stirring occasionally until they are cooked through.  Beat 3 eggs together with some salt and pepper and pour into the pan with the cooked veg.  Gently stir until everything is evenly distributed in the pan.  Allow to cook until the egg begins to set, turn it over (you might need to slip it onto a plate then flip it back in!) and cook through.  Serve with a slice of bread.


3. Easy one pan pasta:  boil your pasta with whatever vegetables you like (chopped carrot, frozen peas and sweetcorn, beans, broccoli etc.).  Once cooked, drain it, return it to the pan and add a cup of milk mixed with a teaspoon of cornflour, half a teaspoon of mixed herbs and some salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil and cook gently (simmer) to thicken.  Stir through some grated cheese and serve.

Alternative sauce… just mix half a tin of tomatoes or half a tub of cream cheese or cheese spread (dairylea style is fine) into the cooked pasta and vegetables.  Add some chopped ham, or chicken slices, especially if they need using up.


4.  Mince sauce:  You need to spend a bit of time on this but then you can freeze it in 8 portions ready for other days.

In a large saucepan brown a pack of beef mince (400-500g) … i.e. put it on the heat and keep stirring, breaking up the lumps until it is all brown.  Drain the fat from it, best done by moving the mince to one side of the pan and spooning out the juices which run out.  If you want to use soya mince instead just skip the browning stage.

Add to the pan 2 tins tomatoes, half a tube of tomato puree, a beef (or vegetable) stock cube dissolved in a little boiling water, some salt and pepper and 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs.  If you have bought the really cheap tins of tomatoes they may be quite acidic, if so, add a teaspoon of sugar too

Now add 1 chopped onion, 4 large carrots chopped, a tin of sweetcorn (or frozen), chopped mushrooms, peppers and any other vegetables you like (you need about 800g weight total).  Mix thoroughly, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and cook it gently for 45mins – 1 hour stirring it occasionally.


Now you have a basic bolognaise sauce, split it into 8 portions.  It can be served in many ways:

- with pasta =bolognaise

- layer it with lasagne sheets and top with some natural yogurt mixed with cheese = lasagne

-add chilli beans and a teaspoon or more of chilli powder = chilli con carne, serve with rice or baked potato

- Use the chili version in a wrap with cheese = burritos

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