As exciting as living independently is, it can often be equally daunting. Being totally in charge of studying, cleaning, laundry and cooking your own meals for many is a new experience and can take some time to get used to. Don’t worry, most of your peers are in the same boat and after some trial and error you will find your own routine that works best for your schedule. To help you find your feet, here are some simple recipes that require minimal effort and time making them perfect for student life.
Kinder Bueno Overnight Oats:
Overnight Oats are one of the best breakfast options out there! Oats are complex carbohydrates and so the slow release of energy throughout your morning will keep you alert and ready for any hectic university days! Being able to make this meal the night before eliminates the stress of having to prepare your breakfast the next day and more importantly, it allows you extra time in bed before early seminars. I love Kinder Bueno so this recipe is a favourite of mine however any toppings can be used.
- 30g or 1 sachet of quick oats
- 120ml milk of choice (I like to use oat milk)
- 10g Kinder Bueno pieces
- 10g cocoa powder
- 15g Greek yoghurt or flavoured protein powder
- Pop your oats into any sort of dish with an airtight lid (could be a Tupperware, mason jar or even a makeshift one using some clingfilm), and add in your milk of choice, cocoa powder, and yoghurt. Mix until combined.
- Once mixed add your Kinder Bueno pieces.
- Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next morning
This gluten-free pancake recipe is a perfect way to incorporate slow energy-releasing oats into your diet if you don’t like porridge.
- 30g quick oats
- 1 banana
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Cooking spray or butter
- Chosen toppings (I love adding Nutella to mine!)
- Mash your banana in a bowl and then stir in your oats and a beaten egg.
- Add your baking powder and vanilla extract.
- If you have access to a blender, you can blend the mixture however as the oats are quick oats blending is not necessary,
- Spray your pan with oil or butter and cook on medium heat. Give each side about two minutes.
- Serve up with some delicious toppings and enjoy.
A simple cost-effective lunch idea that helps to shake those pizza takeaway cravings!
- 1 bagel sliced into two
- 2 tbsp Tomato puree
- Grated Cheese of choice
- Toppings of choice!
- Take your sliced bagel and spread the tomato puree on top.
- Next, sprinkle the cheese on top and pop any chosen toppings on too.
- Toast under the grill until the cheese has melted and enjoy.
Another straightforward idea is filled wraps or pittas, which are a great way of using up produce and they make filling tasty lunches which can easily be packed to take on the go. Having wraps or pittas in the freezer is definitely a staple for a student.
- Pitta or wrap
- Fillings of choice
- Heat your wrap in the microwave for 25 seconds or toast your pitta in the toaster
- While that is heating, prepare any chosen fillings. I love adding hummus, avocado, peppers, chicken and/or falafel.
- Assemble your wrap/pitta and enjoy.
The Classic Pesto pasta:
A classic vegetarian student meal that can very easily be made Vegan and/or Gluten Free. Pesto Pasta reminds me of my own fresher’s week, where in the middle of all the chaos and excitement there was just enough time to throw some pasta in a pot and stir in some pesto sauce. Now I like to add lots of vegetables and sometimes chicken to the dish to make it more filling and nutritious. Some days nothing can beat a hearty bowl of pasta!
- 56g of dry pasta (penne works well but any type will do)
- 2/3 tablespoons of either jarred or fresh Pesto sauce
- ¼ chopped pepper (any colour)
- ¼ chopped onion
- Handful of halved mushrooms
- Clove of garlic
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Using boiled water, cook your dry pasta on the stove until cooked to your preference. Most will be cooked within 10 minutes but check the cooking instructions on the package to be sure.
- While the pasta cooks, in a separate pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then add your garlic, chopped onion, chopped pepper, and halved mushrooms. Cook until softened (around 10 minutes).
- Drain the pasta and then add it to the pan with the vegetables.
- Stir in the Pesto sauce and Parmesan cheese and serve up with a side of garlic bread if desired.
Butterbean and Sweet potato curry:
This Vegan curry is to die for! Its simplicity and deliciousness make it the perfect curry especially heading into the winter months. I found this recipe on BBC Food last year and with a few adjustments to make it more student friendly, I have not stopped using it! One of the best things about this type of recipe is you can add or take away whatever ingredients you fancy; you could even make it a butternut squash curry rather than making it with butter beans if you have a bit more time. Although it takes slightly longer than a pasta or stir fry, it makes the perfect fake-away and it is great for bulk cooking and freezing.
- 1/2 red onion cut into chunks
- 1-1/2 red chillies stalks removed and cut pieces (adjust according to preference)
- 2 garlic cloves, halved
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive
- 200ml tin coconut milk
- 175ml vegetable stock cube
- 200g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2tbp tomato pure
- 250g sweet potatoes peeled and cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 1 tin of butter beans. drained and rinsed
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- 150g rice to serve
- Using a fork, prick your sweet potato and sprinkle a little bit of water over it. Pop it into the microwave for about 5 minutes or until it is soft all the way through. Chop it into medium chunks when it is cooked. If you don’t have access to a microwave, chop the potato into small-medium chunks, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika and place it into the oven to roast for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.
- As the potato cooks, heat oil in a pan and then add your onion, garlic, turmeric, chilli, coriander, cinnamon, tomato pure and add about 2 tbsp of your stock to create a paste. If the paste is too thick, continue to add the stock until it is thin enough.
- Add your cooked sweet potato to the mix along with any other vegetables you desire (aubergine, peppers, peas etc). Pour in the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and season. Let the curry simmer for about 25-30 minutes adding the rest of the stock depending on how thick you prefer your curry.
- Finally, stir in your butter beans and spinach.
- Serve with rice and any other tasty extras (naan or garlic bread are my favourites!)
Sweet Chilli Vegetable Stir fry:
Another student classic which is perfect for using up vegetables is a stir fry. The best thing about a stir fry is how flexible it is! You can add tofu, chicken, prawns, beef or any meat or meat substitute to it depending on what mood you’re in or it is simply what you have in the fridge. For this recipe, almost all the ingredients are interchangeable and can be eyeballed rather than weighed out, so it is perfect for the unpredictable student lifestyle.
- ½ pepper
- ½ red onion or 2 spring onions
- 75g sugar snap peas
- 80g broccoli
- 1 carrot peeled and cut either longways or into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
- ½ red chilli finely chopped
- ½ tsp cumin
- Tsp olive oil
- 2 thin slices of root ginger, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2tbsp soy sauce
- Either sweet chilli sauce or a sachet of stir fry sauce (both Aldi and Lidl do a great selection of stir fry sauces!)
- A nest of noodles
- Begin by heating some oil in the pan and then add your garlic and onion and allow to soften.
- Next add your pepper, carrot, broccoli, sugar snap peas, chilli, cumin, and ginger all to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes (depending on how soft you like your vegetables) adding a little water every so often to soften the veg.
- While the veg is cooking, using boiling water cook your noodles following the instructions on the pack.
- Once the noodles and veg are cooked to your preference combine the two and add the soy sauce, stir-fry sauce or sweet chilli.
- Serve up and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy these starter recipes. Please check out the Food and Drink section throughout the year as we upload more recipes to encourage some fun in the kitchen.