Five quick and easy main meal recipes for students

Everyone has at least one 'signature' recipe that they're really good at, but it gets boring after a while. So we've gathered some recipes that might give you some inspiration in the kitchen...

Ah, university. Like most students you've flown the nest and you're now having to fend for yourself - you are no longer tied to your mother's apron strings, and it's unlikely you'll be able to afford to buy takeaways all the time. So, what do you do? Where do you start learning to cook? Well, luckily, staff at The Independent have picked out their best - and worst - quick, easy meals for students that they remember from their student heydays. Some of which were a long time ago - just a friendly warning.

Speedy chicken noodle soup

100 g medium rice noodles
800 ml chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
4 x 2-3 mm thick slices of unpeeled root ginger
300 g chicken breast or chicken thighs, very thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp fish sauce, (nam pla)
Juice of 1 lime or ½ lemons
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced at an angle
4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander


  1. Place the rice noodles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and allow to soak for 4–5 minutes, or according to the instructions on the packet, until softened.
  2. While they are soaking, place the stock in a saucepan with the garlic and ginger. Bring to the boil, then add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes until the chicken is opaque. Add the fish sauce and lime juice to taste, then add in the spring onions and coriander.
  3. Drain the noodles and divide between four warmed bowls, top with the soup and serve hot

The Three Thai Green

1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 Medium size chicken breasts, sliced or diced
3 Tablespoons of green curry paste
3 Tablespoons of fish sauce
3 Deseeded Red or Green Chillies
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 Tin of Coconut Milk
1 small pack of Mangetout
1 small pack of Baby Sweetcorn
Handful of fresh basil


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the green curry paste, chilies and diced chicken and cook until the chicken begins to brown.
  2. Reduce the heat and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar until  thickened slightly. This should take roughly 10 mins.
  3. Finally add the mangetout, baby sweetcorn or any other veg you may want to use and cook for a further 5-10mins.
  4. Check for seasoning, adding more sugar or spice if needed.
  5. When ready to serve add the basil for that fresh taste!

Late Night Quesadillas

Large flour tortillas
Grated cheese
Olive oil
Mushrooms, sliced
Onions, chopped
Tuna, tinned
Tomatoes, diced
Whatever you can find in your fridge or cupboards


  1. Heat frying pan to medium high heat and add half a teaspoon of oil (you could use butter as well).  Take one flour tortilla and place it in the pan, flipping it over a few times (10 seconds between flips). 
  2. When air pockets begin to form sprinkle a handful of grated cheese over the top (make sure the cheese does not land on the pan itself) then add your additional ingredients ie mushrooms, tuna, etc.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan to melt the cheese, then use a spatula to lift up one side and flip over the other side as if you were making an omlette.  Turn the heat up if the tortilla is not already brown.  Remove from the pan and cut into wedges.

Spicy Student Chilli

750g of Minced Meat
1 onion Chopped
1 can of Chopped Tomatoes
1 chopped red pepper
1 Beef Stock Cube
1 Splash of Lea and Perrins
1 Tin of Kidney Beans (drain and rinse before you use)
A lump (around 2 table spoons) of Tomato Puree
Chilli Powder
1 Clove of Chopped Garlic
A little bit of olive oil (to cook in)


  1. Put a little olive oil into a frying pan.
  2. Once hot fry the chopped onion and garlic until the onions start to go brown.
  3. Add the mince meat, break it up before hand with your hands or in the pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add stock cube and Lea and Perrins, stir everything together until the meat goes brown.
  5. Add the tomato puree and stir in.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and pepper and stir in.
  7. Add the kidney beans and stir in.
  8. Add the chilli Powder to taste (It is a bit trial and error. But more Chilli Power = Hotter Chilli; if you make it too hot, add sugar to take out the heat)
  9. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 6-10 minutes so it can thicken. 

Serve on rice or a jacket potato with a spoonful of sour cream, can be frozen as single portions too, to last a little longer.  You can use the same base for this for a spaghetti bolognese but add herbs not chilli and replace the kidney beans with more peppers or other vegetables.

Marmite Spaghetti

1 tsp marmite - or vegemite if you prefer
Knob of butter
1/2 cup pasta water
Handful of spaghetti
Grated parmesan


  1. Cook the spaghetti as per the packet
  2. 5 mins before cooking end time heat the butter marmite and 1/2 cup pasta water until melted
  3. Toss pasta with marmite mixture and sprinkle with lots of parmesan
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee Teacher - Maths

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organization is the larges...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific