Three student-friendly recipes to help you avoid a takeaway

If you’re a student struggling to survive off not-so-healthy food, a lack of cooking skills and a dwindling bank balance, these easy, tasty and cheap recipe ideas are for you, says Hannah Twiggs

Wednesday 22 September 2021 14:25
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Starting university, or going back after the pandemic, can be daunting as it is, but one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is what to eat.

That’s where a recipe app set up by four friends while they were in their first year of uni comes in. When three of the founders of SORTEDfood realised they couldn’t cook, they turned to their chef-in-training friend for inspiration. From recipes scribbled on the back of beer mats to a YouTube channel with over 2.5 million subscribers, it’s now one of the world’s largest online food communities.

If you need a bit of help to avoid living off microwave meals and takeaways, their Meal Packs App is perfect for students in search of mealtime inspiration and support, designed to help you cook better and spend less. Through smartly designed menus that make the most of common ingredients to save time, money and food waste, the recipes on the app take all the stress out of simple, delicious cooking.

Here’s three student-friendly recipe from their “Simple Setup” pack, which is great for those on a budget while still keeping the dishes fun, super easy to cook and healthy.

Sesame prawns with katsu noodle soup

Ingredients:

200g echalion shallots

1 large carrot

3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp curry powder

400g coconut milk

150g cooked king prawns

2 tbsp sesame seeds

50g panko breadcrumbs

150g fine green beans

15g fresh coriander

75g vermicelli rice noodles

Method:

Start your soup:

  1. Preheat the ocean to 200C and line a baking tray with tin foil.
  2. Peel then coarsely grate the shallots and carrot on a chopping board. Tip 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a medium saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer and loosen, dump in the grated veg.
  3. Fry everything for 5-7 minutes or until the shallots start to soften and become translucent then measure in the curry powder and cook everything out for a further 2 minutes to release the fragrance from the spices.
  4. Pour in a tin of coconut milk, bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat and continue to simmer the soup for 7-10 minutes or until it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. You can get on with the rest of your dish while you wait, remember to always rinse and recycle your tins!

Coat’n’cook your prawns:

  1. Chuck the cooked prawns into a small mixing bowl followed by the remaining tablespoon of oil, the sesame seeds, the panko breadcrumbs and a generous pinch of salt. Give everything a mix to coat the prawns.
  2. Lay the coated prawns on your lined baking tray then chuck them in the oven for 5-7 minutes to warm the prawns through and toast their coating. Once cooked the breadcrumbs and seeds should be golden and when cut into, the prawns should be piping hot.

Finish your soup:

  1. Top, tail then cut the green beans into 3. Dump them into the soup and continue to simmer everything for 2-3 minutes or until they are not fully cooked but have softened slightly. Finely chop the coriander while you wait, and if you are feeling super speedy now would be a great time to wash up your chopping board and knife.
  2. Once the beans have softened slightly, add the noodles and continue to simmer the soup for a further minute before pulling it off the heat, folding in ¾ of the coriander and allowing it to stand for 2 minutes to finish cooking the noodles.

Serve it up:

  1. Ladle your soup into serving bowls, using a fork to hook out the noodles or it could get messy! Divide the prawns between the bowls, scatter over the reserved coriander and serve.

Harissa chicken and roast corn couscous

Ingredients:

2 corn on the cobs

2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

2 tbsp harissa paste

150g creme fraiche

100g couscous

50g fine green beans

1 tbsp olive oil

15g fresh coriander

Method:

Prep your corn:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C, put a kettle on to boil and line a baking tray with tin foil.
  2. Cut the corn from the cobs with a sharp knife on a chopping board by standing each of them on their ends and cutting down between round, woody core and the corn, rotating and repeating until all the corn has been cut off.
  3. Scatter the corn over the baking tray with a generous pinch of salt, drizzle over the vegetable oil and quickly massage it onto the corn before spreading it out to one even layer.

Get roasting:

  1. Mix the harissa paste with the creme fraiche and a generous pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Chuck in 4 chicken thighs and give everything a good mix to coat the chicken fully in the creme fraiche mix.
  2. Make 4 openings in the corn on the tray and plonk the chicken into them so there is no corn under the chicken. Remember to always wash your hands after handling raw meat!
  3. Whack the whole tray in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until everything has started to char in places and when cut into with a small knife the chicken is opaque white throughout. Wash up your mixing bowl and get on with your couscous while you wait.

Cook your couscous:

  1. Tip the couscous into your washed up mixing bowl from earlier. Top, tail then cut the green beans into half cm lengths and chuck them into the bowl with the couscous.
  2. Measure the olive oil into the bowl followed by a generous pinch of salt and enough boiling water from the kettle to just cover everything.
  3. Give the contents of the bowl a quick mix then set the couscous and beans aside to become soft and absorb the boiling water for around 4-6 minutes. You can chop the coriander while you wait.

Plate up:

  1. Fold the roasted corn and ¾ of the coriander through the cooked couscous and divide it between your serving places. Plonk 2 chicken breasts on top of each couscous mound then scatter over your remaining coriander. Serve!

Creamy roasted tomato and shallot pasta

Ingredients:

200g echalion shallots

200g cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp caster sugar

200g dried pasta

150g creme fraiche

30g fresh basil

Method:

Prepare to roast:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, put a medium saucepan filled with salted water over a high heat to boil and line a deep baking tray with tin foil.
  2. Peel, halve then roughly slice the shallots, halve the cherry tomatoes then chuck them onto your lined baking tray.
  3. Splash over the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and caster sugar and give everything a good mix by hand on the tray.

Get roasting:

  1. Roast everything in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until the tomatoes and shallots soften then start to char. You can get on with the rest of your dish while you wait.

Cook your pasta:

  1. Once your water has come to a boil, chuck in the dried pasta, cook it for 9-11 minutes or until it is soft with a slight bite.

Assemble and serve:

  1. Transfer the pasta straight from the pan into the tray with shallots and tomatoes using tongs or a slotted spoon. Dollop in the creme fraiche and roughly rip in the basil.
  2. Give everything a good stir using the tongs/spoon and add a splash of pasta’s cooking water to loosen everything a bit if it starts to clump together.
  3. Split the pasta between 2 bowls, pile it high and serve!

Get your first month free when you sign up to SORTEDfood’s Meal Pack App, here. To see their latest recipes, challenges and reviews, head to their YouTube channel, here.

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