Top Tips: 5 Cheap Student Meals To Cook In Your Flat

The kitchen in your student accommodation will be the heartbeat of your life there!

It’s where you’ll spend much of your home life, talking with your flatmates, making lifelong friends, and learning how to cook cheap healthy student meals.

Learning how to put together a cheap student meal plan that feeds you well, maintains a healthy and balanced diet and keeps within your budget is an important part of growing up as a student.

Cheap student meals to cook in your flat – where to begin?

It can be quite daunting when you first move away from home and into student accommodation.

Don’t be afraid though, all of your housemates are in the same boat remember, and this is a great chance to learn some basic skills for life.

What is the best way to prepare for cooking as a student?

Get In The Essentials!

Always have staples in your cupboards, such as eggs, cooking oil, rice and pasta, tinned tomatoes, spices, salt, and pepper, bakes beans, potatoes, bread and milk, flour, onions, garlic, and stock cubes.

Learn How To Season

In terms of transforming how you view cooking and how delicious your food can be, pick up loads of different types of seasoning, herbs and spices from your local supermarket and play about with different flavours. It is an absolute game changer!

Batch And Freeze

Learning how to cook bigger batches of recipes and then immediately freezing them, stretches your food for longer and helps you understand portion sizes. Use freezer bags to make sure there is enough space in the freezer.

Cheap Student Meals

Below are some basic recipes for you to start off with, we hope your tummy’s rumbling!

1. Basic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions (red and/or brown)
  • Oil
  • Tomato puree
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Peppers

Learning how to cook a basic tomato sauce will provide you with a base sauce that can be used in multiple dishes.

It helps you create the starting point to go with a Bolognese or a chilli, it can be used on its own to go with pasta, or as part of a Spanish-style stew.

Every person’s sauce is unique, so try a few things out!

Method:

Dice the onion and garlic and fry in some oil until they start to turn golden.

Add your tinned tomatoes (and some cherry toms and peppers if you are using those ingredients) and turn down the heat.

The longer your sauce is cooking for, the better the depth of taste you’ll end up with.

Add the seasoning of your choice and season well and you’re sorted!

2. Cheese Omelette

Ingredients:

  • Two large eggs
  • Olive oil
  • 10g cheese (cheddar is the simple choice here)
  • Salt and pepper

Eggs are a cheap and easy way to make many different meals and gives you much-needed protein, whether you’re after scrambled egg on toast, you want to bake with eggs, or something as simple and delicious as an omelette.

This recipe is with cheese, but you can keep it simple or add anything else you like.

Method:

Firstly, crack your eggs into a bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Next, you need to beat the eggs with a fork until they have fully combined and then add to a small frying pan on a low heat (apply ½ tablespoon of olive oil before the egg).

Grate your cheese and leave for now. Then, you need to make sure the egg spreads evenly throughout the pan and then wait for it to begin to cook.

When there is only a little bit of raw egg left on the top, add the cheese to the top before taking a spatula and folding the omelette in half.

Cook until golden brown and enjoy!

3. Tray Bakes

Ingredients:

  • 1kg of mixed root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, swede) cut into batons and then halved
  • 220g baby potatoes halved
  • Skin on garlic cloves (as many as you want depending on your garlic tolerance)
  • Olive oil
  • 50g mixed nuts and/or seeds
  • Feta cheese (for a vegan traybake leave out the feta)

A traybake is great for a student home – easy to cook a big batch to share with your friends and all cooked in one pot so you can do whatever you like with it.

Whether it’s a full veggie traybake like this recipe, or a simple chicken and kale tray. Pack the veggies in for a healthy cheap student meal.

Method:

Firstly, put the root vegetables, potatoes and garlic cloves into a large roasting tin.

Drizzle with olive oil, season well and add any herbs that you like (rosemary and thyme for example) and then toss everything.

Cook at 200C/180 fan for around 50-minutes until the vegetables have become tender.

Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and you then have the choice to use this to make a garlic dressing to drizzle over the top or leave as is.

Scatter the nuts, seeds and feta over the top before serving and voilà!

4. Tomato Carbonara 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 sliced garlic clove
  • A pack of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 300g spaghetti
  • Pack of bacon lardons (or chop bacon into small lardon, sized pieces)
  • Three eggs
  • 50g parmesan (any cheese will do for a cheap student meal though)

A simple pasta dish is a must for any student learning to cook. This classic carbonara with an addition of sweet cherry tomatoes is a fantastic and easy way to make a good meal in a short space of time.

Method:

Put half of the tomatoes, crushed garlic and the olive oil on a baking tray. You can add basil at this point too if you like!

Coat in the olive oil and roast for 10 minutes, before adding the rest of the tomatoes and cooking for a further 5 minutes.

During this time cook the spaghetti for one minute less than instructed on the pack.

Next, heat oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat and fry the bacon until golden and crispy.

Fry the sliced garlic for one minute, mix the eggs and cheese, along with a small amount of the pasta cooking water and season well.

Take the spaghetti, egg mixture and bacon and add together in the frying pan.

Using tongs to stir quickly to prevent the egg solidifying on the base, adding some more pasta water for a glossy shine.

Finally, fold in the tomatoes and other tray juices for a finished dish.

5. Fajitas

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, sliced
  • Red onion
  • Red pepper
  • Red chilli
  • Tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • Tablespoon ground coriander
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Lime
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 6 medium tortillas
  • Mixed salad bag
  • Fresh salsa

Fajitas are fun and easy to make, and a great way to get a group of people round a table enjoying food and good company.

Method:

Wrap your tortillas in foil ready for later and pre-heat the oven to 200C/180 fan.

Mix the coriander, paprika, cumin, garlic cloves, 4 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of the lime and a few drops of tabasco sauce in a bowl.

Season with salt and pepper. Next, slice the red onion, red pepper and red chilli and add, with the chicken breasts, to the marinade.

Heat a griddle pan until hot and add the chicken and marinade. Keep the ingredients constantly moving on a high heat for around 5 minutes until you get a nice, charred chicken.

Check that the chicken is cooked by cutting into the thickest part of the meat!

Once cooked, warm the tortillas in the oven and serve everything with a bad of salad and the fresh salsa.

Vegetarian alternatives for your student meals

For any cheap student recipes, you can substitute meat for vegetarian alternatives, such as Quorn mince for your chilli or shepherd’s pie, or Linda McCartney sausages instead of regular pork sausage.

With some of the simple cheap student meals, filling up the meal with veg instead of meat is a great way to pack in healthy ingredients and make your budget go further.

As you can see, there are plenty of delicious and cheap student meals that will help you get through your time at university.

You’ll learn new cookery skills that will last you for the rest of your life and you can explore different types of cuisine!

You can make a cheap student meal plan that ticks all the boxes, is tasty and helps you discover and try out cuisine from all around the world.

If you’re in the mood for some vegan food in your shared flat, check out our blog here for some serious recipe inspo!

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