Come dine with me…on a budget
For most of you this September/ October will be the first time you are way from home and left to fully fend for yourselves; laundry, cleaning and cooking. Now, as someone who would’ve fancied herself as somewhat of a chef prior to uni, one KEY factor I had overlooked was the cost of ingredients. At home, everything was always there and when it wasn’t, my mum’s bank card was there. This left me eating pasta basically every day until I finally decided to stop, think and get creative.
In this post I want to give you some quick, fast and fool proof meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some of which I tried at Uni and most I tried out during this lockdown.
*Disclaimer the pictures are a guide of what they look like, but are not my own*
Ingredients : Bread, Avocado, Salt/Pepper/Chilli flakes and Cherry tomatoes (+ feta cheese optional) …. Total = £3.50, (2-3 meals)
Toast your bread, smash and season the avocado then spread generously on your toast. Top off with some sliced cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of feta cheese if you want. Simple as that.
Ingredients: Eggs, Milk, Spinach, Tomatoes …. Total = £3.50, (5-7 meals )
Everyone likes their eggs differently, but I use 2 eggs, whisk them up ( with salt, pepper, all purpose and chilli flakes). In a pan I sauté the spinach with salt and pepper, add the eggs then tomatoes. This was my go to breakfast and took 10 minute including washing up.
…. Total = ££2.50-5 ( as many as you can fit)
Another very basic meal. Get any porridge oats with your choice of milk in a bowl and make sure the oats are completely covered. I put mine in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir ( and add more milk if its too thick) then an additional minute. Once that’s done add your chosen sweetener (honey or sugar) and top with some fruit ( can’t go wrong with strawberries and bananas)
Ingredients: Rocket leaves, Tuna , cucumber, salad dressing….Total = £3 ( 2-3 meals)
From the ingredient list I’m sure you can gather what the assembly looks like. Wash your leaves and cucumber. Slice up the cucumbers and toss them in a bowl with your leaves and half a can of tuna (drain the water first) then add your desired dressing. Fast and low calories. If you want something heavier, put the salad mix into a tortilla wrap or make it into a sandwich.
Ingredients: Tortillas, Avocado, tomatoes, green onion, coriander, rice, kidney beans (meat optional) ….Total= £6 (4 with guac, 8 without)
This is a more time intensive recipe but completely worth it. Cook your rice as normal and as you do that smash up an avocado with green onion, salt, pepper and lime juice. Chop up tomatoes with coriander, lime juice and onions and toss together. Make a tomato sauce ( onions, garlic, tinned tomato (season as you like)) mix in the rice and heat your kidney beans separately. Assembly is up to you but I add a little bit of everything in my tortilla and wrestle it shut. Enjoy.
ingredients: Tortillas, Peppers, red onions, chicken breast …. Total = £7 ( 6-8 meals)
Chop up your peppers, red onions and chicken breast. Add your favourite spices to taste then fry up the chicken, the onions then the peppers. When fully cooked add the mix to a wrap and enjoy.
Tomato Pasta Bake
ingredients: Pasta, Tomato sauce, cheese … Total = £3.50
This was my life all through first year and it is actually so easy to prepare. Boil your pasta, once cooked drain the water, add jarred pasta sauce and mix till every piece is covered. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with cheese then bake till golden brown.
ingredients: egg noodles, carrots, mushrooms, aubergine (optional meat/ shrimp), soy sauce & sweet chilli sauce…. Total = £5-10 ( 4-6 meals)
Chop up and fry up your vegetables. Prep your noodles according to the packaging and the add to the pan. Season to taste and add soy sauce. If you are using meat or shrimp fry it up before you start on the vegetables.
Vegan Shepherds pie
ingredients: Potatoes (regular or sweet potatoes), vegan butter, lentils, carrot/peas/mushrooms, tinned tomatoes….Total = £7 (4-6 servings)
Boil your potatoes with salt and pepper till soft. Drain and mash with vegan butter then leave to the side. Wash, and boil your lentils tills oft then use like mince meat. Fry onions, garlic and mushrooms in a pan, add the carrots, tinned tomatoes then the lentils once the tomatoes are soft. Make sure you spice and season this to taste I use paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, salt and pepper. Transfer the lentil mix to a baking tray then put the mash potato on top. Bake till golden brown.
So while we’re at home take this time to test out some recipes, or bookmark this post and bring it out when you’ve been eating noodles for 3 days straight.