Cooking isn’t for everyone, and if you haven’t done much of it before University, the chances are it’s one of the less enjoyable parts of Uni for you. However, you may think lack of time spent in the kitchen may compromise on the taste of your dinner, but think again! By simply learning a few time saving tips and quick recipes, your time spent in the kitchen will be kept to a minimum.

Top Time Saving Tips:

  • Before you start cooking, clear a space on your worktops for you to prepare your dinner. This can be quite difficult in some student kitchens as they are usually both too small and full of dirty pans, glasses and plates but it will definitely help you get more organised when you’re cooking.
  • Always keep the essentials to hand: ingredients such as flour, spices, herbs, chopped tomatoes, eggs, onions, garlic etc. often form the base to many meals and as long as you have them to hand, you will always be able to rustle something up for dinner.
  • Save on washing up: rather than boiling your veggies and pasta/rice in two different pans, lash them in together to save that one extra dirty pan. Bear in mind though the different cooking times, so for example add your broccoli to the boiling pasta 5 minutes before your pasta is cooked. Don’t worry, your broccoli won’t turn your pasta or rice green I promise!
  • Batch Cooking: The ultimate time saver. The great thing about batch cooking is just spending up to an hour in the kitchen whipping up a big batch of Bolognese, chilli or stew will save you so much time in the long run. This is a great tip for those of you who have upcoming exams and deadlines in the next few months – stock up your freezer with meals so when you really don’t have any time to spare you don’t need to spend ages hovering over the hob.
  • Plan: Every Sunday evening I make a list of what meals I want to have on each night and make a shopping list with what I need to make them. Sure, sometimes you might not stick to it, but this way you’ll always have something delicious for dinner rather than just staring at your empty cupboards for half an hour every night complaining!

Delicious recipe ideas ready in less than 20 minutes:

  • Cheesy Chorizo Bean Quesadillas: Try this recipe for something a bit different in next to no time – this Mexican classic can have all sorts of fillings like sweet potato, shredded beef or even a fajita mix. So get creative and think up your own Quesadilla recipe and upload it to the Studentrecipes website!
  • Tuna Tomato Tagliatelle: Using tinned fish like tuna or sardines is a great time saver as you don’t need to cook them which can save you a lot of time. This dish packs a real flavour punch, and you can even add a few dried chilli flakes if you like your food hot and spicy. Try out this tomato & sardine pasta recipe if you’re into your fish, so not only are both these recipes quick but incredibly healthy too!
  • Basic Foolproof Omlette: You can’t go wrong with an omelette, so as long as you have a few eggs kicking about in your fridge then you’ll always have something tasty. Check out my blog from a few weeks back to find out just how versatile they are. The beauty of omelettes is that you can chuck just about anything in, so have a look at a few of these suggestions or come up with your own recipe!
    • Ham, cheese & mushroom: a classic flavour combination that will never fail you. Cheddar works great but you can use a red cheese if you prefer, and you can use all sorts of ham too.
    • Mozzarella, spinach and tomato: As a massive lover of cheese, this is one of my favourites in an omelette as the mozzarella goes all gooey and stringy… yum. You can finely chop the spinach or add it whole, and you can either use diced fresh cherry tomatoes or throw in a few sundried tomatoes for an extra flavour boost.
    • Smoked salmon, cream cheese and broccoli: Very healthy and luxurious, but I often buy slices of smoked salmon in Aldi for around £3.00 a pack which is reasonable as you can do so much with it! Use these three ingredients in a pasta dish, risotto, use it in your sandwiches or simply have it as a snack. It’s so very versatile, delicious and super healthy – what’s not to love.
    • Spaghetti, Tomato & Pesto Frittata: This recipe may take a little bit longer, but it’s a twist on an omelette if you want to try something new plus it’s a great way to use up leftover pasta from last night.
  • Easy Muffin Pizzas: Forget waiting around for your own pizza dough to prove and forget about those calorific takeaway pizzas – using English muffins as the base of your pizza saves you bags of time and money. In less than 15 minutes you can create your own delicious pizza, so get cracking!

Remember – lack of time doesn’t mean you can’t tuck into a homemade, nutritious and delicious meal! The Studentrecipes website has a whole page with over 600 recipes dedicated to recipes that can be made in a flash, so have a look and upload your own quick and easy recipes to share with other students!