7 CHEAP and EASY Student recipes at Poundstretcher!

Students have gained a growing infamy over the years through various Chinese whispers of nightmarish student cooking. From making dried noodles in a kettle to creating an entire spaghetti bolognese from scratch using only a microwave…

And with the takeaway delivery service at an all-time high, who can really be bothered cooking their tea when you can pay someone to bring you your Lamb Balti, Garlic Naan and Mushroom Pilau directly to your door in less than 45 minutes?

But, let’s be honest, living off Doner kebab wraps and cheesy chips every night isn’t exactly the best way to look after your body or brain– even if you do get salad on it. Nor is it the most economical way to spend your student loan. So, here is a 7-day plan of cheap, simple and wholesome meals so you and your flat mates can stay healthy as a student at Uni in body, mind and wallet.

Take heed and you can avoid spending the second half of every semester confined to living off one loaf of bread, 2 questionable onions and half a tin of un-branded Beans between you and your flat mates!

Essential Cooking Equipment

Deep frying pan
Non stick shallow frying pan
Non stick large saucepan
Non stick small saucepan
1L Measuring Jug
Kitchen Utensils: Stirring spoon, spaghetti spoon, whisk, tongs
Pyrex casserole dish
– Chopping board
Medium Chopping knife
Large Mixing Bowl
Colander
Grater
Potato peeler
–Oven Gloves
Tea towels

Monday
Chilli Con Carne – Serves 4

Spice up your weeknight with this quick and super simple chilli! Talk about Super Student Night!

Cooking Equipment Required:
– Large frying pan,
– Large saucepan,
– Measuring jug,
– Stirring spoon,
– Chopping board,
– Chopping knife,
– Garlic press
Ingredients:
Tasty Optional Extras:
–Cheese
–Sour Cream
–Salsa
–Plain Nachos

Prep

  1. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice.
  2. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop.
  3. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

Cook

  1. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob).
  3. Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent.
  4. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin.
  5. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the mince and stir in with the spices and vegetables until the mince is browned and evenly distributed
  7. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture.
  8. Add chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp sugar, salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of tomato purée
  9. Stir then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for approximately 20mins, checking the mixture every so often to avoid it sticking to the bottom
  10. Add the drained kidney beans (baked beans or sweet corn are good alternatives)
  11. Bring to boil and gently bubble without the lid for about 10 minutes
  12. Add seasoning to taste
  13. Leave to settle off the heat, lid on, for 10 minutes

Serve

  1. Prepare rice (either microwaveable or follow the packet instructions)
  2. Plate up with optional soured cream, cheese or anything that takes your fancy!

Tuesday
Spaghetti Bolognese – Serves 4

A brilliantly easy but beautifully tasty tea that can transport you straight from student halls to the Med with the first bite!

Cooking Equipment Required:
– Large frying pan,
– Large saucepan,
– Measuring jug,
– Stirring spoon,
– Chopping board,
– Chopping knife,
– Garlic press
– Cheese grater
Ingredients:

Tasty Optional Extras:
– Dried or shaved parmesan
– Chopped bacon (add with onions at the start)
– Garlic Bread

Prep

  1. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice.
  2. Peel and chop or crush garlic cloves
  3. Finely chop carrot, mushroom and half the cherry tomatoes

Cook

  1. Heat frying pan to a medium heat, drizzle some oil and add the onions. Fry until translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and garlic then toss together for a further 5 minutes
  3. Tip in the mince and evenly mix until the mince is brown
  4. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, 1tsp rosemary, 1 tsp dried/fresh basil followed by 200ml of red wine
  5. Bring to boil and then leave to simmer until the alcohol has burnt off (about 4-5 mins)
  6. Next, crumble stock cube into 200ml of hot water, mix, then add to the mix
  7. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp of tomato purée and bring to boil, stirring well.
  8. Sprinkle in a good measure of salt and pepper then cover, turn the heat down and leave to simmer.

Serve

  1. Prepare Spaghetti
  2. Plate up spaghetti, spoon the sauce on top
  3. Top with parmesan (optional) and cracked black pepper
  4. Serve with garlic bread on the side (optional)

Wednesday
Tuna Sweetcorn Pasta Bake – Serves 4

Classic, simple and wholesome, the humble student pasta bake is the best way to warm your cockles when you're studying on a miserable rainy evening!

Cooking Equipment Required:
– Pyrex Dish
– 20cm saucepan
– Stirring spoon
– Colander
– Grater
Ingredients:

Prep

  1. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. See above for instructions on how best to do this.
  2. Slice mushrooms
  3. Open tin of sweetcorn and chopped tomatoes
  4. Pre-heat oven at 190ºC

Cook

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, then add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the sweetcorn, tomatoes and tomato purée and simmer for a few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stir the pasta into a pan of boiling salted water and cook according to pack instructions, until just tender. Drain, then put it back in the pan. Set the grill to hot.
  3. Stir the pasta into the sauce, then break the tuna into large flakes and gently mix in. Spoon into the dish. Crush the crisps in the bag and sprinkle them over the top, with the cheese.
  4. Put the dish on a baking tray and grill for about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.

Serve

  1. Serve hot with salad, greens or crusty bread

Thursday
Corned Beef Hash – Serves 4

If there was ever a meal that was made for students, it's this one. You won't believe how cheap it is and it will fill you up for days!

Equipment needed:
– Large frying pan
– Large Saucepan
– Stirring Spoon
– Chopping knife
– Chopping Board
–Colander
Ingredients:

Prep:

  1. Cut corned beef into cubes
  2. Peel and chop potatoes
  3. Roughly chop onion

Cook:

  1. Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 6-7 mins, then drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the onion for 3-4 mins over a medium heat.
  3. Add the potatoes and corned beef, and push down with a spatula to crisp up, cooking for about 5 mins.
  4. Turn the mixture over, trying not to beak up the meat and potatoes too much, then add the Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Cook for another 5 mins, pushing down to crisp the base again
  6. Season generously with Salt and Pepper

Serve:

  1. Drizzle tomato ketchup or HP sauce over the top (optional)
  2. Can be served with baked beans, peas, greens or with crusty bread.

Friday
Hand Made Beef Burgers – Serves 4

Get that Friday Feeling with this classic burger recipe! The only real skill you need when it comes to making your own burgers is the willing to get your hands dirty– literally..!

Equipment Needed:
– Large Mixing bowl – Pyrex or plastic is fine.
– 28cm Non Stick Frying Pan
– Oven tray/ Oven Dish
– Chopping Knife
– Chopping Board
– Garlic Press (optional)
Ingredients:
Basic Burger Mix:
Tasty Optional Extras for burger mix:

Herbs & Spices:

  • 1 tsp: paprika/curry powder/rosemary/oregano/coriander/chilli flakes
  • 1 x freshly de-seeded and chopped red chilli

Antipasto:

  • Chopped bacon/chorizo,
  • Squish a blob of your favourite cheese in the middle for a melting surprise!

Condiments:

Prep

  1. Turn your oven on to pre-heat at approximately 180ºC/190ºC
  2. First, you need to finely dice (as best you can) the red onion and put in the mixing bowl. Next, add the mince and crushed garlic. Using your fingers, knead the ingredients together so that the onion and garlic are evenly distributed.

Note: If you’re squeamish, you can always wear disposable kitchen gloves. Or, if you want to save money, just trick a flat mate into doing it.

  1. Once mixed, add the breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce and crack the egg into the bowl. Again, massage the meat mix until it becomes glossy and stiff.
  2. Roll into a ball, then massage out on the work surface into a burger patty.

Because there are so many preferences when it comes to beef burgers, check out the Optional Extras above if you’d like ideas how to push your classic beef burger to the next level.

Cook

  1. Drizzle oil in the frying pan and keep it at a medium heat– your aim is to brown the outside, sealing it, rather than blackening it! Once it has sizzled for a couple of minutes, make sure it is well lubricated and not stuck to the pan. Leave it until it is no longer gooey on the bottom and feels sturdy enough to flip. Then, repeat on other side.
  2. Once sufficiently browned (but not black), get it in the oven. Make sure you put it on the middle shelf so it doesn’t burn. I know this may seem like a faff and excessive washing up– putting it in a bowl, then a pan, then an oven– but it just means that the burger is being cooked through and evenly, whilst still having a crispy outer shell.
  3. It only needs about 5-7 minutes then bring it out and let it settle.
  4. In the meantime, you can get to work preparing your burger bun with your preferred sauce and bits to put on it.

Serve:

  1. Toast your burger bun either under the grill or lightly in a toaster
  2. Add mayo/ketchup/BBQ
  3. Slice some onion rings, tomatoes and roughly chop lettuce
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. Add cheese or bacon on top (optional)

Saturday
Chicken Fajitas – Serves 4

This is a fabulously interactive meal– perfect for students! Taking your pick with what you add to the wrap, everyone's taste can be catered for!

Equipment Needed:
– Large shallow frying pan
– Mixing bowl
Ingredients needed:
Marinade:
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp cumin
  • Fresh coriander
Pepper Mix:
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
Tasty Optional Extras:
Other meats:
  • Prawns
  • 4 boneless pork fillets – MONEY SAVER!
  • 4 turkey breast fillets – MONEY SAVER!
  • 500g stir fry beef strips
  • Leftover chilli con carne
Condiments and Sauces:
Other additions:
  • Chopped Mango
  • Grilled Courgette strips
  • Roasted aubergine/mushrooms

Prep:

  1. Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally, then cut them into thin strips.
  2. Crush garlic and juice limes into bowl
  3. Add chilli powder, cumin, finely chopped coriander
  4. Massage all ingredients together in the bowl

Cook:

  1. Heat the oil for the pepper mix in a large frying pan and fry the onion wedges for 6 mins or until softened.
  2. Turn the heat up high so the wedges char slightly at the edges, season well and, using a slotted spoon, lift them onto a baking tray and keep warm.
  3. Add the peppers in batches, cook them the same way, then transfer to the baking tray with the onions. Cook the tomatoes in the same way and add them to the peppers.
  4. Heat a griddle pan or use the same frying pan and cook the chicken in batches over a high heat – allow them to catch a little on the edges but don’t overcook them. Add them to the baking tray to keep warm. 

Note: For the vegetarians, you can substitute the meat for other veg such as courgette and aubergine; or with chewy cheese like halloumi or crumbly feta.

  1. Heat the tortillas under the grill, then wrap in foil and keep warm in the oven, or heat in the microwave following pack instructions.

Serve:

  1. Chop lettuce, slice onions
  2. Spoon on chicken, pepper mix onto the toasted wrap

Sunday
Sausages & Mash with Caramelised Red Onion Gravy – Serves 4

Who says you have to stick to 'The Great British Roast' for your Sunday Dinner? This is super cheap, super easy and super 'banging' recipe that'll blow your tastebuds off the richter! The perfect student dish to bookend your week!

Equipment needed:
– Large Frying pan
– Large sauce pan
– Stirring Spoon
– Tongs
– Masher
– Colander
– Chopping knife
– Chopping board
– Milk pan

Ingredients:

Sticky red onion gravy:

Mashed Potato:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 125ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche / Single or double cream (depending on how comforting you want your mash!)

Prep:

  1. Peel and chop onion into thin wedges
  2. Weigh out flour
  3. Prepare stock

Cook:

Sausages:

  1. Fry sausages for 15 mins or until browned, then remove from pan and keep warm.
  2. Heat onions in same pan, then add flour, stirring for 1 min.
  3. Gradually add stock. Bring to boil then simmer for 5 mins until smooth.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce and season

Red Onion Gravy:

  1. Melt the butter in a large, deep frying pan and stir through the onions.
  2. Cover with a lid and cook gently for about 10 mins, until softened.
  3. Remove lid, add sugar, then cook 15-20 mins, stirring, until all of the liquid has evaporated and onions have turned golden.

Mash:

  1. Peel, chop and boil potatoes (takes about 15mins approx.)
  2. When potatoes are soft and breaking apart, drain in colander
  3. Return potatoes to pan and place on low heat for 2 mins to dry out the potatoes
  4. Heat milk and butter in milk pan
  5. Remove pan from the heat, then mash potatoes using the potato masher.
  6. Tip in the créme fraîche/cream and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
  7. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt.

Serve:

  1. Spoon mash onto plate
  2. Top with sausages and the onion gravy
  3. Add peas, carrots or cabbage (optional)

So, there you have it! 7 days, 7 meals, 7 ways to impress your flat mates! Put down your JustEat app and get cooking! It’s fun PLUS it’s a great way of getting to know your flat mates if you’re a fresher in new student Halls!

If you eat right, you’ll give your brain every chance to get good grades and stay healthy throughout Uni! Get down to Poundstretcher and get your kitchen ware, as well as getting great student-loan friendly bargains on big brands, from tins to spices– we’ve got the discounts to make sure your pennies last!