A Basic Guide to Cooking – Student friendly recipes

Spaghetti Bolognese - CC0 Public Domain

By Megan Desmond

When you are a student at university money can be tight. You are trying to save all the money you can for that upcoming night out with your friends or for that SU event that you are eager to go to. Money is tight and there is no one there to cook dinner for you either and you are sick of beans on toast. How can you create some great tasting food on a time limit and a tight budget?

Fear not! Here are just a few recipes to get you started and with the portion size you can even have seconds or dinner for the next day.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Time- 20/30 minutes

Serves- 2 to 4 people

Overall cost- £3.70

500g Beef Mince

200g Spaghetti

500g Bolognese sauce (Jar)

A small amount of cheese (optional)

1 onion diced (optional)



  • Put a small amount of oil into a pan and fry the beef mince and onion until brown.  Once cooked place in a sieve to drain.
  • Boil water in a medium saucepan and add in spaghetti. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Open the jar of Bolognese sauce and place in a saucepan. Add the mince and the onion and warm through on a low to medium heat.
  • Once the spaghetti has cooked, drain and place on plate.
  • Add the Bolognese mix over top of the spaghetti.  
  • (optional) Grate cheese over top.



Spaghetti Bolognese – CC0 Public Domain











Non-bake macaroni cheese

Time- 20 to 30

Serves- 2- 4 people

Overall cost- £4.25.

150/200g Macaroni

1 to 2 Tbsp butter

3 to 4 Tbsp Plain flour

1 pint of milk

150/200g Cheese (grated)

Pinch of Salt and pepper

1 to 2 slices of Bread (Grated to breadcrumbs).



  • Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add Marconi. Boil for 10-14 minutes.
  • Use a saucepan or Frying pan to melt butter then add flour gradually to make a thick paste. Then add milk slowly and whisk until sauce starts to thicken, add pinch of salt and pepper, then add cheese (keep some back to add for the topping).
  • Drain macaroni and place in an oven proof dish. Mix in the cheese sauce.
  • Place the breadcrumbs over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Place under hot grill for a few minutes until the topping is golden brown.



Mac & Cheese – Antillived, Commons










Non-bake -Chicken pasta bake

Time- 30 to 40 minutes

Serves- 2 to 4 people

Overall cost- £6.79

375g Diced chicken breast

200g Pasta

1 carton of passata

2 Tbsp Butter

4 Tbsp Plain flour

2 Tbsp Milk or Cream

2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup

50/100g Grated cheese (optional)



  • Fry the chicken in a small amount of oil until cooked thoroughly. Once cooked drain and set aside.
  • Bring medium saucepan to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to instructions on packaging.
  • Using either a frying pan, or saucepan, melt the butter and add flour gradually to make a thick paste. Then slowly add passata, whisk constantly. Add the milk or cream and tomato ketchup, keep stirring until you have a thick creamy sauce.
  • Add chicken to the sauce and keep stirring until chicken is heated through.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, stir for 1 to 2 minutes and then serve.
  • Place some grated cheese over top. (optional)


NOTE- This recipe can be adapted to preference and doesn’t necessarily have to be chicken.


Pasta Bake – Steve Johnson, Commons











Cheesy ham & broccoli pasta

Time- 30 minutes

Serves up to 4 people

Overall cost- £6.09

300g pasta

1 head of broccoli cut into small florets

1 tbsp oil

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves crushed

250g ham, cut into chunks (get a nice thick slice from the deli counter)

300ml pot double cream

1 tbsp English mustard

140g mature cheddar, grated



  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook following packaging instructions.
  • Add the broccoli florets into the saucepan for the last 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
  • In a frying pan, heat a little bit of oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the ham, cream and mustard. Stir in and then bring to the boil.
  • Add in the drained pasta and broccoli and stir in. then add the cheese and coat everything in the sauce.



Broccoli and Ham Pasta – Wordridden, Flickr