- Food and Cooking
Top 3 Easy to Make Solo Student Meals
Quick and Simple
There are hundreds of similar articles to this dotted around the web alongside a multitude of cook books for sale as an E-book or in physical form but almost all of them require a hefty list of ingredients to create so called "easy" meals and often have long cooking times and only detail the necessary ingredients for 4 people to eat the meal! In this article I hope to give a much simpler guide to student cooking based on my own personal experiences at University with meals that are cheap, need barely any time to make and cheat by using ready prepared sauces rather than requiring ingredients that no self-respecting student has time to find.
1. Uncle Ben's® Sweet and Sour Chicken
Possibly the easiest meal to make that allows you to brag to people that you actually cooked something is Sweet and Sour Chicken. All this requires is a chicken breast (usually bought in packs of 2-3), Uncle Ben's® Sweet and Sour Sauce, some rice and the ability to read packet instructions. For a meal that only takes 10 minutes to cook this is as easy and tasty as they come and is accompanied by the pretence you are actually cooking properly.
Simply cut the chicken into manageable pieces, fry it on the hob in some oil until it turns golden brown (check its not pink in the middle). Whilst frying the chicken cook the rice whichever way you find easiest, there are always instructions on the reverse of the packets. The easiest method is usually to put the rice into some boiling water in a pan for around 10 minutes, ensuring the pan doesn't boil over. Whilst the rice is cooking and the chicken begins to turn brown simply add the sauce to the frying pan the chicken is in and cook on a medium heat for another 5 or so minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add everything together on a plate and you have a sweet and sour. On a side note, an average jar of sweet and sour sauce should last for 2-3 meals and the rice even longer meaning the only real expense for further meals is the chicken.
2. Old El Paso® Fajitas
Fajitas taste incredible and surprisingly are very easy to make. Without fail you'll have your flat mates approaching you demanding you make some for them when they smell the spice and salsa. What makes Fajitas so easy to make is for the most part the ready prepared kits available to you. However, as students on a budget, there are ways to cheat the system of purchasing often expensive fajita creation kits and make a good 2-3 meals from the ingredients you purchase. I recommend through personal experience purchasing supermarkets own cold tortillas (found in the bread isle usually) which are often brilliantly cheap. On top of this purchase a chicken breast and some stir in Fajita sauce as well as some salsa so you don't blow your head off with the spice. Old El Paso Stir in Sauce® and Salsa are usually good choices. If you're feeling extra creative buy an onion and a pepper to add the all important vegetables.
To make the fajitas simply cook the chicken in a frying pan in some oil. When they begin to turn golden add the onion and pepper and continue to fry away until the chicken is almost cooked. At this point add the Fajita "Stir in Sauce". If you want warm tortilla's then it is a good idea to place them on a microwaveable plate and put them into the microwave for around 30-45 seconds, just enough to warm them up. When the chicken is cooked properly pour the mixture evenly into each tortilla and add some salsa before rolling them up. The whole process only takes 15 minutes and you end up with an insanely delicious and braggable meal.
3. Almost Any Pasta Dish
Pasta is one of the easiest food-stuffs to cook and the huge variety of ready made sauces means if you only have 10 minutes but don't fancy a take-away pasta is the next obvious choice. I have found that the two easiest pasta dishes to create are Carbonara and the all-popular Bolognese. For both these dishes you can purchase ready made sauces such as the Dolmio Express® sauce packets which require 45 seconds in the microwave and some pasta boiled for 10 minutes and nothing else for a filling and tasty meal.
If you feel that purchasing express sauces is cheating then both Carbonara and Bolognese are easy to make. I recommend purchasing at least a Carbonara or Bolognese sauce without meat and then you can add the mince meat and ham yourself just to say you made it properly! Pasta is one of the lowest-budget meals available as a 70p packet of pasta should last you 4-5 meals meaning the only added expense is the meat and/or sauces.
This is not a recipe/instructions article it is simply recommending some of the better meals for students. Always check the packet of any food you purchase for detailed cooking instructions and always make sure meats are cooked thouroughly to avoid food poisoning and other nasty things.