Cheap Easy Meals…that look and taste great!

When you are low on cash or time or both, it is important that you still treat yourself to keep your morale high – no need to punish yourself for being busy, right?

One of the most important things I ever learnt that aided both by health, financial stability and my social life was learning how to cook. From preparing meals for myself and teenage brother, to cooking for a friend, you shouldn’t have to try stupidly hard to create a good, healthy, yummy and cheap meal…that can also impress. Therefore, I have compiled a list of my favourite dishes that are all of these things (healthy, yummy, cheap) that can appeal to anyone, from the fussy eater to the staunch vegan…enjoy!

Aglio e Olio

(Pronounced, al-leo oh-leo)

This is a very simple meal, and super cheap too. It is the standard Italian student meal and good before a night out.

  1. Boil spaghetti (read my post on how to do this well here)
  2. Fry chopped up garlic (size is up to you)
  3. Stir in garlic with oil and salt into freshly drained pasta
  4. Serve

There are many extras that you can put into this to make it a little more exciting or flavoursome:

  • chilli flakes
  • fresh chilli
  • parmesan
  • olives
  • dried herbs (basil, oregano etc…)
  • sundried tomatoes

Pasta with Red Peppers and Pancetta

If you’re in the mood for pasta with some bits in it (that aren’t just garlic) then this might be good for you. In my experience, this is a standard English student dish.

  1. Shallow fry* garlic (chopped or whole) and pancetta cubes (bacon cubes are a cheaper option if needed)
  2. Chop up pepper into cubes and add
  3. Cook to preference – some prefer crunchy peppers
  4. Boil pasta
  5. Stir in ingredients into freshly drained pasta
  6. Grate cheese on top (parmesan for a more authentic meal, cheddar for you English students out there)
  7. Make extra as they make great leftovers

*Shallow fry means do not have a lot of oil at the bottom of the pan

Morrocan Style Chicken with Cous Cous

This is more impressive to my family who always eat pasta, so know your audience people. If I can impress my Italian grandmother with a meal, that is a good thing!

  1. Chop up chicken into any shape you prefer and shallow fry with whole garlic.
  2. Add a harissa paste or make one by boiling down a tin of tomatoes with Moroccan herbs. Choose from this (stupidly huge) list, marked * for my favourites:
    1. naanaa (mint)
    2. maadnous (parsley)
    3. quasbour (cilantro)*
    4. fliyo (peppermint)
    5. merdedouch (majoram)
    6. kerouiya (carraway)
    7. ellouiza (verbena)
    8. cumin*
    9. turmeric*
    10. ground pepper*
    11. cayenne pepper*
    12. allspice*
    13. cinnamon*
    14. paprika
    15. nutmeg*
    16. almond shavings/flakes (more expensive option but gives it a nice texture and look)
  3. Boil some water and make some cous cous – adding dried herbs to this really makes this instantly more impressive and yummy.
  4. Serve all with sour cream or yoghurt

To be continued…

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