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Easy student meals from scratch
By Hollie Alexa Moxham
It was within five days of living in my first-year halls, before realising that I didn’t have a clue how to cook. I knew a couple of dishes that depended heavily on big jars of sauce – bolognese, pasta bake, curry, and my mother sent me with a folder of recipes from home, but I was struggling to find tasty, homemade meals that I could cook quickly and easily.
Paella is my all-time favourite. The chorizo and paprika makes it really tasty and you can use a ton of vegetables to keep it nice and healthy. Alternatively, you can opt for something simpler if you’re a little more particular about your food choices (like me!). It's also a one pot dish that you put together and leave, which makes it pretty easy to cook.
The instructions below are for two people, so you can share with a flatmate or pop it in the fridge and warm it up in the microwave the next day.
- Cut up a portion of raw chicken and coat with paprika. Cook in a pan until brown.
- Cut up a ring of chorizo and pop it in when the chicken is almost cooked.
- Add your choice of vegetables! Some popular choices include peppers, peas, asparagus, and artichoke hearts.
- Once the chicken is completely cooked, add paella, rice (risotto rice is also fine) and fry on a low heat with the chicken, chorizo, and vegetables for around 3 minutes.
- While your rice is frying, make 1 litre of chicken stock (500ml per person). Add this to the pan after the 3 minutes and leave the whole pan on a medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Once the stock is mostly gone, the paella is ready to serve!
This is a quick and easy dish which is good to fill you up. There are no vegetables involved but you can add some on the side if you would like to. For this dish, you’ll need to buy a couple more items including honey and lemon juice, but these will keep for a long time so you can keep making it again and again.
This recipe is for one person. Double the ingredients if you’d like to share with a flatmate.
- Cook 4 bundles of tagliatelle in boiling water.
- Add oil to a pan and fry a portion of pork. I usually buy the slithers of pork meant for stir fry as they’re already perfectly cut up and it saves a lot of prep time.
- Once the pork is cooked, add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan. Also, add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Let this bubble while spooning the juices over the pork.
- Add cooked tagliatelle to mix with the sauce, and then it’s ready to serve!
I’m not really sure what to call this dish apart from “orange chicken”. It's essentially chicken cooked in a sauce of stock and orange juice, but it's surprisingly yummy. Again, it might be worth experimenting with vegetables to see how you can add these to the dish. Cook it a few times and figure out how much sauce you like, then adjust the ingredients accordingly.
The recipe below allows enough sauce for 1 or 2 people.
- Add water to a saucepan of rice and allow to cook in the background.
- Add oil to a pan and fry chicken.
- While your chicken is cooking, make around 150ml of chicken stock.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 150ml of orange juice and 150ml of chicken stock. Let this bubble while spooning the juices over the chicken.5. Turn the heat down and add one more tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a stick of butter. Simmer for a few minutes and then serve over rice!
Ta-da! You are now ten times more prepared for uni life than first-year me. Supermarket pizzas and microwave meals are perfect for a long day, but sometimes you want something a little more homemade, which is exactly what these recipes should be. Cook them a couple of times and they’ll quickly become regulars!