For many, going to university is the first taste of living away from the comfort and service of home. Suddenly there’s an empty seat at the dinner table and the bathroom schedule feels far more flexible. It’s an emotional moment for you (whether elation or sadness), and for them, and a daunting period of transition.

Even if you’ve agreed that they can still send their washing home each week, it’s not practical to send them off with a pre-made set of weekly student dinners for them and their roommates. So how can you ensure they eat well, and are eating the right things to boost their mind and help them study?

To make that transition that much smoother and give you peace of mind, here are three easy recipes for students to cook in halls. They are perfect when cooking for big groups, easy to make and most importantly, provide tasty, nutritious and cheap student meals. With ingredients readily available from their university’s local convenience store.

Not sure they will engage in cooking? Remind them that demonstratable cooking skills on campus are a sure-fire way to become popular amongst their new peers – including that good looking one from their morning lecture... 

Student Meal Ideas

Cheaper Than Nando’s: Piri-Piri Chicken with Rice

A home-made takeaway is a perfect choice for what to cook at uni. Especially when it’s just as tasty and far cheaper than the most popular student restaurant in town. This recipe will serve four, but they can always bump up the ingredients if they have a few more people drop in!

To serve four, they will need:

·         Mixed selection of skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks

·         Store bought Piri-Piri marinade

·         1 x tbsp of sunflower oil

·         2 x bell peppers – any colour, finely chopped

·         1 x tbsp of paprika

·         4 x tbsp of tomato purée

·         250g cooked rice

Slash the skin on each piece of chicken and pour over 6 tbsp of Piri-Piri marinade. Mix together by hand and arrange the pieces on a baking tray, skin-side up. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C and then increase the heat to 200°C for 15 minutes to crisp up the skin.

With around 15 minutes to go before the chicken is ready, heat sunflower oil in a pan and add the peppers for around five minutes to soften. Squeeze in the tomato purée, a tbsp of paprika and stir before pouring in the cooked rice and breaking it down with a wooden spoon until everything is coated. Leave to simmer on a high heat for a few minutes.

Serve alongside some salad for a plate full of Portuguese pleasure.

A True Friendship Starter: Naan Bread Pizza

Nothing breaks the ice in halls better than a meal you can share. This naan bread pizza is ready in just 10 minutes, but could start friendships that last a lifetime.

To make four, they will need:

·         2 x twin pack of plain naan breads

·         1 x tube of tomato purée

·         150g of cherry tomatoes

·         200g of grated Cheddar cheese

·         Any additional toppings desired

Heat the oven to 200°C. Take your naan bread and splash with water on each side. Place in the oven to heat for around two minutes per side. Remove from the oven and spread with tomato purée, then top with cheese, tomatoes and any other toppings. Heat in the oven for five minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Slice and serve.

A Taste of Home: Cheesy Ham & Broccoli Pasta

Pasta provides plenty of energy and the basis for a multitude of easy recipes for students. Whether ahead of a night of cramming, or a deserved night out at the union bar, this is a healthy student recipe that stirs memories of home.

To serve four, they will need:

·         300g of pasta – any shape

·         3-4 broccoli florets

·         1 x tbsp of olive oil

·         1 onion – finely chopped

·         250g thick sliced ham

·         300ml of double cream

·         English mustard

·         140g mature Cheddar cheese

Heat a large pan of water and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and soften. With the final four minutes remaining, add a handful of broccoli florets then drain all and set aside.

Now make the sauce. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add the onion. Once golden and softened, add the ham, double cream and a tbsp of English mustard. Allow to simmer before adding in the broccoli and pasta and stir in the grated mature cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is coated. Add to a large serving bowl and place in the middle of the dinner table for a communal, and delicious meal for four.

Easy Student Meals Available at SPAR

Send them on their way in culinary confidence and teach them these easy recipes for students to make on campus. All the ingredients they will need, as well pre-made cheap student meals, snacks and drinks are available at their local convenience store, wherever they’ve chosen to study.