Sharing meals for housemates is possibly one of the most important ways to communicate especially after a long hard day at college. It allows for mental health check-ins meaning you can check in and make sure each other is doing okay and see how they are if someone is feeling homesick or if they have any other problems.

It also helps share the load of cooking cleaning and other chores, even if you only get to share one or two meals a week together it's a good way to have an informal house meeting and bring up any topics that need to be brought up without confrontation. Just like when you're at home, dinner especially or even lunch is a great way to chat catch up and socialise but more importantly, it's a great way to make sure you're not feeling lonely.

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A Quick and Easy Lunch Recipe For The Whole House

sharing meals
Eating with friends and family is known to strengthen community bonds and build important friendships. - Image by bmoreprep from Pixabay

Chicken or Veggie Fajitas:

You honestly can't go wrong with this recipe quickly, ick it's easy and it's delicious. Now my recipe is not from a book it's just tasty. If you're going to go for the veggie fajitas just leave the chicken part out.

Cost €10 - €15

Shopping List:

  • Chicken Fillets (2-4)
  • Mixed colour Peppers
  • Large Onion Red or White
  • Button Mushrooms
  • one tin of condensed tomato puree 142g
  • 1/2 teaspoon medium chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

So we start by boiling 2 to 4 chicken fillets depending on how many of you there are, this recipe can feed 2-6 peeps, depending on how many fillets you use and how many veggies and tortillas you have. I like to add a half teaspoon of salt it just gives the chicken more flavour. The chicken will need about 15min boiling which means you will have time to prepare the vegetables and seasoning. I usually set a timer on my phone

We will want some nice fresh peppers preferably one of each colour but whatever colour you have is fine. These will be chopped in nice long strips to try to keep seeds off the ones we want to eat.

A large onion! Red or White it's up to you, it's all about the flavour! Peel off the outer skin and then cut the onion in half. This will allow you to cut nice thick semi-circle slices.

Finally my favourite 1 tray of BUTTON MUSHROOMS!  These are so yummy all we are going to do is rinse them under a tap and cut them in half.

If your 15 minutes for the chicken fillets are up by this point, remove them from the hot water and put them on a plate to cool down.

To save electricity/gas we will use the same hot plate for our frying pan as you used to boil the chicken, once you have safely poured the hot water down the sink. One large spoon of oil should be added to the pan allow it to heat for about 60 seconds before adding your peppers and onions to the pan.

These will take about 6mins stirfrying on medium heat. I like to use this time to slice my chicken into strips and prepare my seasoning.

You will need to combine in a mug:

  • 1/4 mug boiling water (give or take)
  • one tin of condensed tomato puree 142g
  • 1/2 teaspoon medium chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I like to buy all Tesco or SuperValu's own brand spices, they last ages and can be used in so many recipes!

Now that the onions and peppers have slightly softened you can add your chicken, mushrooms and seasoning to the pan. I would also reduce the heat slightly as you combine the ingredients thoroughly for 4-5 minutes.

After this, all that's left to do is stuff your filling into tortilla wraps add some grated or cream cheese and enjoy!

Gourmet Dinner on a Student Budget

This one is a classic and it makes me hungry even to write the recipe!

penne carbonara
Photo by Matteo Galeazzi on Unsplash - Honestly one of the most tasty and filling meals you can eat on a budget!

Penne Carbonara (with Fresh Pasta) My Version

Serves 2 - 6 people

Cost €8 - €12

Shopping list (For 2):

  • 1 pack Smoked Pancetta
  • 1 pack of Fresh Penne Pasta
  • 1 Pack Emlea Double Cream
  • 6 Eggs (we only need 2)
  • 1 pack of Button Mushrooms
  • 1 pack Grated Parmigiano
  • Garlic Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Dried Oregano

This is one pan dish which makes it super quick to cook and clean up after!

I like to start by rinsing and halving the button mushrooms before adding them to the frying pan with butter or oil, whichever you have. I then add the pancetta to the pan and finally the penne.

Fresh pasta cooks really quick, so I add the carton of double cream and half the carton again in water before adding half a teaspoon of garlic salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper and finally half a teaspoon of oregano.

After4-5 minutes when the pasta has softened just a little crack one egg and whips it in before doing the same with the second. I like to give the eggs one minute to cook and you're done! Carbonara is ready to eat, if you're someone who likes a side with your pasta, a garlic baguette usually costs less than €1, cooks in about 15min and is perfect for sharing! Plus now that you're in college why not try a nice pinot grigio which would go perfect with this meal?

Diet
Maintaining a balanced diet can really aid in your overall well-being, by ensuring you eat nutrient rich food you are looking after your general health - Image by RitaE from Pixabay

A Well Stocked Student Kitchen

There are a few things that if you always have in your cupboard, you'll never be short of a decent meal. My top 10 ingredients every student should keep in their kitchen.

  1. Eggs! From egg fried rice with various types of meat and veggies to omelettes once you have eggs you'll never be hungry!
  2. Microwave long-grain or basmati rice. why microwave? It's quicker, cheaper and more versatile, you can use it as a filling in wraps, to make stir-fries, as a side or to create the aforementioned fried rice!
  3. Fresh pasta! Why? again it's quicker and more convenient, look how fast that carbonara was! Imagine just using a jar of stir-in sauce and heating it up on the go. Once open you have 3 days to use up a pack.
  4. Spices, as I mentioned before, once you buy them you have them for several different recipes.
  5. Tomato puree is a great base ingredient, from fajitas and pizzas to bolognese and lasagna.
  6. Cheese!I mean, I love cheese but it adds flavour to most things! I don't think I need to elaborate.
  7. Olive Oil! This for cooking is just so much less greasy and more flavoursome than other oils.
  8. Pancetta can be used not only in carbonara but also in your omelettes as well as stir-fries or fried rice dishes. I love it because it usually has a longer use-by date than bacon lardons and gets much crisper on the pan.
  9. Oxo Cubes! Yes, the old but reliable, from soups to stews, if you're feeling homesick, there's nothing like emptying the veg drawer into a saucepan (yes the spuds too!) with a mug or 2 of oxo and some garlic salt with black pepper! If you're feeling more like stew make sure your use a beef oxo, not chicken or veg and a tray of stewing beef usually costs. less than €5. It will take 2 hours to simmer this meal over medium heat. But in the depths of winter, it might just be worth it.
  10. Hot Chocolate! Because sometimes an early night with a movie and hot chocolate is exactly what you need!

Whatever level your cooking skills are at once you have these ingredients in your kitchen you'll be able to make something delish!

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Maureen

Hey, I'm Maur/Mo, I'm a writer from Ireland. I've written a novel and a lot of poetry and fiction. Currently, I work as a content writer at superprof