Student recipes competition: Send us the recipes and culinary tips you would pass on to new students and win a copy of The Ultimate Student Cookbook

(55 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Sep-13 12:04:25

To tie in with the launch of The Ultimate Student Cookbook from, we're running a comp to find out the best tips and recipes we can pass on to young adults as they head off for the first time to university.

Whether it's the perfect recipe, a skill or tip we want your suggestions. The 10 winning tips and recipes will be published and the winners will each get a copy of The Ultimate Student Cookbook.

We'll also be putting up some great recipes from the book that you can print off and pass on to the young students as they head off to start a new life (we're going to start welling up...)

Post your tips and recipes before midday on Tuesday 17 September and we'll posting up the carousel of winners and recipes on Thursday 19 Sept.

OP’s posts: |
SilverApples Thu 12-Sep-13 12:21:43

Like obtain the biggest chopping board you can and keep it in your room, so that when you want to cook something, you can ensure that one section of the skanky student kitchen is clean enough to prepare food on?
That sort of thing? grin

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Sep-13 12:48:16


Like obtain the biggest chopping board you can and keep it in your room, so that when you want to cook something, you can ensure that one section of the skanky student kitchen is clean enough to prepare food on?
That sort of thing? grin

Exactly - you're spot on smile

OP’s posts: |
StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Thu 12-Sep-13 13:36:31

Learn to cook a homely meal that feeds a small group really well. eg a roast dinner or lasagne. Cooking for a group of students who miss home cooking is a great way to make friends.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Thu 12-Sep-13 13:38:24

Follow SilverApples' advice! Also keep your own sharp knife & can opener in your room.

SilverApples Thu 12-Sep-13 14:16:35

Have a decent selection of condiments that you like, including spices. It is surprising what can be made interesting and edible if you jazz it up with chili, ginger or soy sauce.
Yes to knowing how to cook at least three basic meals that don't use a lot of kit.
Here's one of DD's:
Whatever vegetables you have available, don't worry if they are looking a bit weary, chopped up into
Knorr stockpot
Either noodles or rice.
Deep frying pan or wok.

Chop the chicken into chunks and fry them in a little oil.
Add diced vegetables: courgette, carrot, green beans, mushrooms, onions, whatever.
Stirfry for 5 minutes
Add the stockpot to a pint of water and pour it into the pan.
Add the rice now, if you are using rice.
Simmer for around 20/30 minutes
If you are using noodles, add them 5 minutes before the end of cooking and make sure they are submerged in the bubbling stock. Add more boiling water if you need to.

Dee140157 Thu 12-Sep-13 17:26:56

Buy a large wok.
Cook everything from stews to home made pasta sauce.
Home made pasta sauce: Chop onions and fry them, throw in 1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables with 2 tins chopped tomatoes, 2 tsps of lazy garlic, tsp mixed herbs, 1/2 glass left over red wine (if you have any left over.......). put lid on and simmer for 1/2 hour. Serve with lots of pasta. Healthy cheap and far nicer than jars. You can fry mince with the onions if you want to make it more of a bolognese.
Now feed your flat mates to become very popular.


gretagrape Thu 12-Sep-13 17:33:24

Bulk out meals to make them go further - 1 pack of mince (approx 400g) can make 6 portions of chilli or spag bol if you add 2 tins of tomatoes, a couple of grated carrots, a grated courgette, a couple of chopped peppers and a cup of green lentils. Cook it on a low heat for an hour to allow the lentils to soften.

TheWoollybacksWife Thu 12-Sep-13 17:42:42

Cheats Chilli

Minced Beef
Tinned kidney beans in Chilli Sauce
Hot Chilli Powder
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes or a jar of Passata

Chop up onion and cook until softened. Add mince and cook until browned. Drain off excess fat. Add tomatoes or passata, kidney beans and sauce and spices. I use 1 teaspoon of chilli powder and 2 or 3 of paprika. Use more if you want it spicier. Simmer until the sauce is reduced (about 45 minutes). Serve with rice or jacket potatoes. Add tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole if feeling flush. grin

This can also be made in a slow cooker on low for about 6 hours.

elizaco Thu 12-Sep-13 18:01:53

Take turns to cook for your flat. Cheaper to cook a main meal for 5/6 people once every 5/6 days, than cook for yourself every day. And it's good to all sit together and chat :-)

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Thu 12-Sep-13 18:12:07

DD1 is off next week!

Easy peasy cheapo pizza -

Basics pitta bread / spread it with red or green pesto / shove Basics mozerella over it, plus bits of onion, pepper, whatever. Cook. Eat with salad if available.

Cook pasta. A few minutes before it's done, shove in a handful frozen peas. Drain. Mix with pesto plus rocket/chopped pepper/halved cherry tomatoes/whatever. Cheese it and eat.

Fry an onion. Add curry paste. Add a tin of chickpeas and a carton coconut cream. Add lots of chopped spinach/anything else you want.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Thu 12-Sep-13 18:14:03

Rice noodles - pour boiling water over until soft. Zap soya beans and/or peas/broadbeans in the microwave. Mix with the rice and add soy sauce/honey/chilli. Meanwhile cook an omelette and cut it into strips or dry fry some cashews. Use to top the rice noodles and vege.

JosephineB Thu 12-Sep-13 18:15:13

Get a slow cooker. This will enable you to cook cheap cuts of meat and make them taste delicious.

For meat eaters, streaky bacon, ox cheeks, chicken thighs and mince (pork, beef and lamb) are all cheap and can taste amazing if cooked right.

Invest in a slew of tupperware - including small containers (nuts are a good source of protein but are expensive if you have to open a new packet each time). Where possible, always cook at least double quantities and freeze what you don't eat.

Use mushrooms and pulses to bulk out meals. If you soak and cook your own pulses, they are miles cheaper than tins.

As a student I ate the following a lot:

cauliflower cheese with added bacon and mushrooms
potato rosti with added bacon and onions
baked potatoes with various fillings
beans on toast (add cheese / mushrooms / chopped bacon)

petalsandstars Thu 12-Sep-13 19:23:12

Figure out what basics all of your flatmates eat/ use ie bread, milk, tea bags, loo roll and each put in £5/10 per week/month as appropriate to a kitty to cover these to share. Its generally cheaper to buy the larger packs or multipacks so you should save money this way.

Keep your crockery, pans and utensils separate so you don't have to wash up your bits from other people's cooking before you can start.

StainlessSteelCat Thu 12-Sep-13 19:27:13

Learn how to make a white sauce (traditional pan method or the microwave way I've seen on here). You can use it to make lasagna, moussaka, pasta bake (with cheap veg) or add a chicken stock cube, then stir in cooked rice (and a couple of rashers of crispy fried chopped up bacon if the budget allows).

If you can't make white sauce, use cottage cheese in the layers for lasagna.

If you can't find any plates, look under your flatmates bed (surely not just me that worked for?)

muser31 Thu 12-Sep-13 19:51:46

fantastic tips so far.

for those who don't like spending the time but still want tasty and healthy meals, green pesto will be your best friend. add a spoonful of green pesto to scrambled egg, or omelette for a tasty breakfast. spread pesto onto chicken breasts and put straight into the oven. steam frozen veg and then add green pesto and grated cheese and mix, for fantastic flavourable dishes, with all the goodness but minus the effort.

lostlenore Thu 12-Sep-13 19:59:59

I lived off potatoes at uni. You could buy a huge bag with the mud still on for a few quid (this is what sinks are for, not being sick in). Less than perfect veg is way cheaper and tastes the same, once it's washed and peeled. Make rosti by boiling whole washed but unpeeled potatoes for 10mins. Let them get cold and grate (the skins will just slide off against the grater). Mush into little flat cakes in a pan and fry or brush with oil and bung in oven at about 200degrees for 15 mins or so. Chips are cheaper home made. There is nothing wrong with value tinned tomatoes in chilli/spag bol. Make your parents teach you at least three meals before you go so you don't have to live off beans on toast.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 12-Sep-13 20:58:02

If you're going out drinking buy a value loaf of sliced bread and toast it to share when you get in rather than buying kebabs etc. Save your overdraft for when you really need it.

We used to take it in turns to man the toaster in our final year. Saved a fortune.

kateandme Thu 12-Sep-13 21:18:05

make a big batch of mince.fry down the mince with saome onions and carrots.pour in jar/s of dolmio tomato sauce.seperate into can then be brought out for spaghetti bolognase,you can top it with pastry,top it with mash,add chilli and serve with rice.simple jacket potato.have it on toast.
it makes a great base for so many meals and having it in batches i nthe freezer make the hard work done and you just choose what you want with it.

sharond101 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:27:01

1. It's cheaper to cook in bulk so team up with some other (clean and able) students and cook for each other or batch cook for yourself and freeze individual portions.
2. Find your local Aldi/Lidl.
3. Visit the supermarket at mark down time (varies so needs investigating). YOu can get amazing deals on produce near it's sell by date.
4. Get to know your local butcher and ask them to keep aside any cheap cuts getting near the use by date you can buy at discount. They sometimes offer free bones which can be boiled down to make stock for soup.
5. Invest in a rice cooker to avoid the temptation to buy carry out - perfect rice every time.
6. Never refuse the offer of a cooked meal from a relative or friend. They wouldn't ask if they didn't want you to come.
7. Look out for new restaurants opening in your area. They often have preview nights which they offer free food or discounted dining.
8. Sign up fr mystery shopping. You can get lots of free food this way.

sharond101 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:51:32

9. Use money saving expert site for special offers and more tips and hints. I look at grabbit, food and shopping and freebies forums everyday and have saved a fortune.

JosephineB Fri 13-Sep-13 06:41:57

Super easy super tasty one pot chicken thighs:

This recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare, an hour to cook (during which you don't have to do anything) and then about another 10 minutes of cooking at the end.

1 tablespoon of oil
1-2 chicken thighs per person (skin on)
4-6 mushrooms per person, cleaned and sliced.
1 garlic clove per person (crushed or chopped finely)
½ mug of balsamic vinegar or red/white wine or cider
50g butter
Large handful of spinach per person
1 chicken stock cube made into approximately ¾ pint stock
1 casserole dish with a lid (you want one big enough to hold all the thighs snuggly in a single layer)

Heat the oil in the casserole dish. Fry the chicken thighs (skin side down) on a medium high heat until crispy. Take your time and you’ll be rewarded later with extra taste! When crispy golden brown, turn the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes more – just until the chicken meat has turned white (This is called sealing and locks the moisture into the meat). When you’re done, remove the chicken and set aside on a plate. If there's a lot of oil in the pan at this point, remove all but approximately a tablespoon.

Add the butter and sliced mushrooms and fry until they start to soften and brown. Season with salt (approx ½ a teaspoon). Make sure you scrape any yummy bits off the bottom of the pan as you cook them.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute then add the vinegar / wine / cider and boil for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Again, make sure you use the liquid to scrape any yummy bits off the bottom of the pan - these add lots of flavour to the dish.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock until the liquid covers about ¾ of the chicken - you want to cover the meat but to leave the crispy skin exposed. Bring to a simmer, then put the lid on and put the dish into the oven at 200 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes.

Take the dish out of the oven, remove the chicken and set aside on a clean plate. Put the dish back on the stove on a medium high heat and reduce the liquid until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add the spinach, a handful at a time and cook until wilted. If the chicken has cooled down a lot by this point, add it back into the pan for a couple of minutes to warm up again.

Serve with mashed potato or rice.

webster147 Fri 13-Sep-13 07:53:05

If you are ever stuck on how to prepare or cook something a quick search on YouTube will bring up fantastic tutorial videos, the videos are made by real people and super easy to follow.

AnotherDesperateDad Fri 13-Sep-13 08:08:57

And another way of eating cheaply: find out when your local supermarket starts dropping prices on food that's nearly out of date - often after 7pm - and start shopping then. If you can be creative with what you buy, then you can eat well for less.

HorseyGirl1 Fri 13-Sep-13 09:47:55

Keep your saucepan in your room... so your skanky flatmates won't leave it covered in cold congealed porridge or burnt whatever. Your own clean saucepan when you want to cook is one of the best way to keep friendships.

Skint but yummy pizza alike can be made from putting tomato ketchup on your toast and then cover in cheese and grill. Just cheese on toast but with tomato sauce. If you're really keen rub the toast with a garlic clove first before the tomato sauce.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in