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Family Flat Nights In

Published Monday, 07 April, 2014 by Beth Bradshaw

Time flies when you’re having fun, and before you know it you’ll be packing your stuff back up even though it only seems like yesterday when you moved in. Hopefully for most of you in first year at Uni, living in halls of residence has been a good experience, sure it’s never a smooth ride for anybody but hopefully you’ve had fun, met some great people and most importantly enjoyed yourself.

Even if there are one or two of your flatmates or hall mates you can’t wait to see the back of, I still think it’s important to spend some quality time with them before you all go your separate ways. It could be your last chance to settle any rifts or tensions that can sometimes spoil the atmosphere for everybody. After all, you’ve just spent one out of your three (or more!) years at University with them, which I’m sure you won’t forget in a hurry. So why not, if you don’t already, club together once a week and cook up a feast to celebrate the end of the year you all spent together. You never know, you might start to miss seeing that leaning tower of dirty dishes that they never seem to do…

Try out a few of these recipes with your flatmates, splitting the bill between all of you means it will cost you next to nothing for a big plate of food and some good company. Rather than making your average Spaghetti Bolognese for everybody, try one of these exciting recipes to really wow your flatmates – they’ll be sure to miss your cooking more than anything!

Hearty Home Cooked Dinners

These recipes are all classic hearty one pot dinners, some with a bit of a twist, that are not only simple to make but so delicious too.

  • Mum's Toad in the Hole: What’s not to love about Yorkshire pudding, sausages and mash? It’s a classic, and it’s so much easier to make than you thought! For a twist, try adding some stuffing to the Yorkshire pudding and bake together.

  • Sweet Potato Cottage Pie: The sweet potato topping not only gives a beautiful nutty, spicy flavour but also a nutritious boost of antioxidants, Vitamin E and magnesium. Try replacing your average white potatoes with sweet potatoes a couple of times a week for variation and that great boost of essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Sausage, Bean and Tomato Casserole: yet another great recipe with sausages! They really are more versatile than you think. If one of your flatmates is a vegetarian, you could possibly persuade them to try the meat-free Quorn sausages or cut out the meat entirely and up the bean content. You could try some other canned beans such as chickpeas or borlotti beans, which are available at most supermarkets.

  • Roasted Vegetable, Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne: Me and my flatmates tried this recipe out not long ago, as one of them is a vegetarian. It was really delicious and full of nutritious vegetables, and even though I love meat I can confidently say it was not missed. If you did want to include some meat in there somewhere, try adding some cooked chicken strips to the roasted vegetable tomato sauce that’s layered in-between the pasta sheets.

  • Low Fat Fish Pie: This is a great family flat dinner that I’m sure mum or dad cooked a lot back at home, and there is no reason why one of you can’t try making it for yourselves. You’d never of guessed this was a low fat fish pie, as it’s so flavourful and delicious!

  • Tomato and Pepper Gnocchi Bake: This is not your average pasta bake - if you’ve never tried gnocchi before, it’s definitely time you did with this recipe! It’s actually a potato pasta or an ‘Italian potato dumpling’… it’s so delicious and this recipe combines all that is great about Italian cooking – mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. I sometimes add grilled sausages to the dish if I’m feeling greedy, but the dish is still great without meat.

Make it Mexican

Mexican food is absolutely perfect for sharing, as it's never usually just one pot dumped on the table, it’s loads of different little elements so that everyone can have their dinner the way they like it. It’s an interactive way of eating for those who don’t mind getting their fingers dirty, so is perfect for students! Check out a few of these Mexican inspired recipes and give them a try:

  • Chicken Fajitas: No doubt you’ll have made these whilst being at Uni, as they are so delicious, fun and easy to make. This recipe gives you the ingredients to make your own spicy seasoning rather than buying a packet which will save you some money. If you’re feelinglazy, you can always buy the fajita kit from Old El Paso which has the basics but you still need to buy all the fresh ingredients.

  • Spicy Mexican Enchiladas: If some of your flatmates can’t take the heat, tone down the spice slightly so that everyone can enjoy it without reaching for a glass of water every minute. You can always serve these enchiladas with some rice, salad or even a great pile of cheesy nachos.

  • Cheesy Chorizo Bean Quesadillas: These quesadillas are so easy to make, you can quickly whip up a pile of them and they will be demolished in a matter of minutes no matter how many flatmates you have! Having the three classic Mexican dips – sour cream, salsa and guacamole - at the ready is essential for dunking and dipping your wraps into.

  • Smoky Pork Filled Tacos: I’ve only recently tried tacos, and like any other Mexican food are messy but delicious to make. You can buy them from leading supermarkets, and can fill them with anything you like! This recipe is just a base for you to start experimenting, but the BBQ sauce and smoky paprika with the pork mince gives it a delicious, rich and fiery flavour.

So whatever the experience you’ve had with your flat/house/hall mates this year, try and make the most of the last few weeks you have all under one roof and cook up something delicious together. I know I’ve spent many hours complaining about life in halls, but if you’re like me and have met some friends for life, when the time comes to leave you’ll be heartbroken!

Have you got any great recipes that can serve up to six hungry students or any student living tips for future students? Don’t forget to upload them to the Studentrecipes.com website!

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