Easy meals for students

Need some quick and easy meal ideas? Whether you’re cooking for one, having a friend over, sharing the cooking with your housemates or hosting your study group – we’ve got you covered with these recipes.

1. Basic omelette

Serves 1

Hint: Eggs are an inexpensive and filling protein source when you’re on a budget. Make sure you always have some in the fridge!

Ingredients
2 eggs
Omelette filling e.g. ham, diced tomato and mushrooms
1 tsp butter
Salt and pepper, to season

You will also need
Small frying pan (20cm width is ideal)
Spatula

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Season.
  2. Melt the butter in the frying pan over low-medium heat.
  3. Pour the eggs into the pan. Tilt the pan slightly from one side to the other so the eggs swirl and cover the surface of the pan completely. Keep the temperature low so the bottom of the eggs don’t get too brown or overcooked.
  4. Let the eggs sit for a minute or so, then use a spatula to gently lift the cooked eggs from the edges of the pan. Tilt the pan to allow the uncooked eggs to flow to the edge of the pan.
  5. Add your omelette filling* – but don’t overstuff the omelette – when the eggs begin to set. Cook for a few more seconds.
  6. Fold the omelette in half. Carefully slide it onto a plate using the spatula to serve.

*You can fill the omelette with whatever you like, including grated cheese, fresh herbs, sliced ham, diced tomatoes, mushrooms or leftover veggies.

2. Microwave jacket potatoes

Serves 2

Hint: Jacket potatoes are super quick and easy when you do them in the microwave. It’s important to remember to pierce the potato skin with a fork before cooking. This allows the steam to escape as the potato is cooking and will stop it from exploding! Just trust us on this one. Please.

Ingredients
2 large potatoes
Toppings of your choice

You will also need
2 sheets of absorbent paper towel
1 microwave-safe plate

  1. Wash the potatoes and dry. Pierce the skin all over with a fork.
  2. Place a piece of paper towel on a microwave-safe plate, put the potatoes on it and then put another sheet of paper towel on top.
  3. Microwave for four minutes, then turn the potatoes over. Careful, they will be hot!
  4. Recover the potatoes with the paper towel and cook another four minutes.
  5. Keep turning and cooking the potatoes in one-minute bursts until they feel soft all the way through and the skin is wrinkled (the skin won’t go crispy).
  6. Serve with your favourite topping.*

*You can top your jacket potato with almost anything – including your leftovers! Here are just a few ideas: grated cheese; salsa; tzatziki; baked beans; coleslaw; sour cream, bacon pieces and chives; shredded chicken and tomatoes; tuna, sweetcorn and mayonnaise; cheese, ham and mustard; leftover bolognaise mince and grated cheese.

3. Spaghetti bolognaise

Serves 4

Hint: This simple recipe will cost you less than using a bottle of bolognaise sauce, isn’t much more effort and will be sure to impress your housemates.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
500g minced beef (or plant-based mince if you prefer)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or ½ tsp garlic powder)
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Sugar (optional)
250g spaghetti
Cheese – tasty or parmesan

You will also need
2 saucepans
1 wooden spoon

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until lightly golden (23 minutes). Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the mince, for 810 minutes or until browned.
  3. Add the oregano, tomato paste, tomatoes and parsley (if using) and bring to a boil. Season with the salt and pepper.
  4. If the sauce tastes too bitter, add ½ teaspoon sugar at a time until you get the desired taste.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cook for at least 15 minutes. Simmering for longer will add a deeper flavour.
  6. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Drain and serve topped with the bolognaise sauce and cheese.

Note: Feeling extra fancy? Try adding worcestershire sauce (4 tsp)!

4. Vegetarian nachos

Serves 6

Hint: For an easy and cheap option for feeding a crowd, you can’t go past these vegetarian nachos. Add guacamole as a serving option – if your budget allows – to make them super special.

Ingredients
2 x 175g packets original corn chips
2 x 435g cans refried beans
1½ cups grated cheese
1 x 300g bottle chunky salsa
Sour cream, to serve
Fresh coriander, to serve (optional)

You will also need
1 large baking dish

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 degrees if fan-forced).
  2. Spread the corn chips over the base of a large baking dish.
  3. Dollop the beans over the corn chips and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Serve topped with salsa, sour cream and coriander leaves (optional).

This article was originally published on Insight.