Friday, 4 July 2014

University #4: Meal Ideas

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is think of something interesting and, most importantly, quick to eat. I'm literally just going to list everything I'm eating this week (or till my shop runs out), just to give you an idea of stuff to make. Most of this will be able to be cooked on the hob, as I know many students don't get a proper oven. I would let you know the cost of my shop, but my mum very kindly paid for this one, so I don’t know how much it came to. On average, I’ve spent about £10-15 a week on food over the year. This is just food though, and doesn’t include any (alcoholic) drink, toiletries etc.

Things to remember:

Always wipe down the surfaces before you start to cook! You’re in a shared kitchen, and will have no idea if the last person using it had raw meat or something you are allergic to.

Always clean up after yourself! Not only is this courteous for all your house/flatmates but it saves you a load of washing up later. Plus, it stops you from having to wash everything left out up in order to find your stuff. Keep on top of it right from the start and you’ll be onto a winner.

Shop Day:

Breakfast: Whatever you’ve got left over in your cupboards from your last shop.

Lunch: Tinned Mackerel on Toast with Lettuce, Apple. I like to use the Princes Mackerel if they are on offer because they give the best flavour variety, but if not anything in a nice tomato sauce will do. I shred some lettuce on the top for a fresher crunch. For dessert I had an apple.

Dinner: Chicken and Bacon Pasta in a Creamy Cheese Sauce with Peas and Broccoli. I make the sauce myself as it’s cheaper than buying a jar of it for one person. I also use frozen chicken – just make sure you defrost well it before you use it! – as it’s loads cheaper and lasts longer.

Day 2:

Breakfast: Fruit Juice and a Banana. I don’t normally have both fruit juice and a banana for breakfast as they’re both super sugary, but today I needed a quick boost to get me out the door.

Lunch: Poached Egg, Spinach and Sliced Tomato on Toast, Apple. This also tastes lovely with tomato ketchup if you can’t afford to buy fresh tomatoes every week (I can’t), or if you prefer fried egg and fried tomatoes it tastes lovey like that too!

Snacks: Malted Milk Biscuits. Love me some malted milks to dip into my herbal tea!

Dinner: Fajitas and Salad. I put chicken, peppers, onions and courgettes into my tortilla wrap, and had a side of shredded lettuce, red cabbage and grated carrots.

Day 3:

Breakfast: Fried Egg, Tomato and Bacon on Toast. I went out last night so this was a pretty heavy breakfast for me.

Lunch: Almond Milk Porridge with Dates and Sultanas. This might sound like a bit of an odd lunch meal, but a bowl of porridge is great to set you up for the day, and I had a busy afternoon at work that I needed energy for. I use almond milk to cut down on my dairy intake, and because I prefer it to cow’s milk or soya. I throw in a handful of sultanas (cheaper than raisins) and quarter three or four dates. All of that goes in the microwave for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through. If I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll add a tea spoon of peanut butter and stir that in too!

Dinner: Vegetable Ragu and Pasta, Cookies. For my ragu, I added onion, garlic, red and yellow peppers, broccoli, aubergine, a grated carrot and courgette. I let that all cook before adding chopped tomatoes, and when it’s got five minutes to go I add on a handful of spinach to be wilting. I top it off with a sprinkle (or more) of extra mature cheese. I made cookies for the house – I do this on a semi regular basis and they never last more than 48 hours – using Hugh’s Ten Minute Cookie recipe (this does require an oven, however).

Day 4:

Breakfast: Banana and Fruit Juice.

Lunch: Lettuce, Red Cabbage, Cucumber, Tomato Salad with Lemon Juice Dressing. Squeezing a segment of lemon over a salad is one of my favourite ways to freshen up a meal.

Dinner: Ragu from last night. I portioned off my ragu as I made far too much last night and popped it in the microwave for a few moments.

Day 5:

Breakfast: Banana ‘Ice Cream’, Fruit Juice. I went out last night so wanted to restock my body full of vitamins. To make the ice cream I froze chopped banana and then blended it till it had a creamy consistency – perfect!

Lunch: Chicken Couscous, Aubergine Pizza. To make the couscous I melted a stock cube into it as it cooked – although it came out super salty so I would either suggest making a four person batch or breaking off half a stick cube and saving some for later). For the pizza, I sliced the aubergine into three, centimetre wide circles, baked them, then topped them with tomato puree and cheese, and waited till the cheese melted. Delicious.

Snack: Hummus with Carrots. The perfect savoury snack!

Dinner: Chickpea and Vegetable Balti with Pitta. I used the same mix of veg as it did in my ragu, but this time I also added a handful of sultana’s and some chopped apple and dates. I bought the Balti sauce to pour over it.

Day 6: (I spent the weekend at home, so this is the breakfast I had before I left on Friday, and the lunch etc I ate on the Monday I was back)

Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs and Tomato on Toast. It was mine and my housemates final meal, so we treated ourselves to a big full fry up.

Lunch: Chickpea and Vegetable Balti. I didn’t bother with the pitta this time as I had a decent sized portion left over and it is really filling on its own.

Dinner: Chicken and Vegetable Balti with Rice, Mini Milk. The Balti sauce came in a four person jar and since I opened it a few days ago it needed eating up. I used broccoli, carrots, peas, sultanas, apple and dates with the (frozen) chicken in this one to make it a bit different from before, and served it with rice (I added turmeric to the rice to make it more exciting). I had two mini milks at the end of this meal because I burnt my tongue tasting the food and they were super soothing.

Day 7:

Breakfast: Jam on Toast, Fruit Juice. Standard breakfast, I’d forgotten my housemate had bought some jam so I borrowed a bit of it for my toast.

Lunch: Chicken and Vegetable Balti with Rice, Mint Rocky Bar. I was unsure about re-heating frozen chicken after it’s been cooked and chilled, so I picked out all the chicken bits then stuck it in the microwave for a good zap. Rice has to be cooked through before eating if it’s been cooled. This was only a small serving, so I had a small chocolate bar to finish off the meal.

Snacks: Hummus and Carrots.

Dinner: Vegetable Fajitas, Mini Milk. I put onion, a whole (small) orange pepper, sliced courgette, sliced aubergine and broccoli in my tortillas, as well as a sprinkling of cheese. I finished off with a mini milk because it has been a beautifully sunny day and for sure ice cream weather.

At this point I’ve pretty much finished off my vegetables for the week. I did this semi -deliberately, as I’m going away till the weekend (it’s Tuesday now) and didn’t want to waste anything. All I have left are carrots, a chunk of cucumber and some red cabbage. If I wasn’t going away, I would have probably been able to eek out my veg for another two or three days.


I’m back from my week away. I spent one night at Uni, and have been living back at home ever since. I’ve still got some frozen and cupboard bits and bobs, but my fridge itself is mostly empty. I hope this gives you a reasonable idea of at least 7 days worth of meals. They are all quick, all super easy and all reasonably healthy.

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