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Meals I Make that Make Me Feel Like a Chef

Student eating doesn't have to be Pot Noodles and pasta

Before moving to Aberdeen for University, I enjoyed cooking at home and my boyfriend and I would cook my family dinner every Sunday evening. Everyone always talks about pot noodles and pasta as “student meals”, but so far I’ve managed to cook myself tasty dishes (if I do say so myself) on around £15 a week. Whether it’s the 10p pound of mince or the reduced loaf of bread, I’m all over any bargain I can find; my mind is always thinking about what I can make and how I’m going to do it. Whenever I see something in the reduced section, I always quickly google recipes to see if I can make SOMETHING out of it, that’s why I always come out with a weird and wonderful mix of things. I’ve picked 3 fan favourites to share (and by “fans” I mean my boyfriend who will eat anything and my flatmates who are too scared to say they don’t like it).

Recipe 1- Sausage and chorizo casserole (for 4)

Credit: Delicious Magazine

I had leftover chorizo from my festive paella stuffed peppers from the week before- they were carved like Jack-o’-lanterns and were the cutest thing- so I found a recipe on Delicious Magazine’s website where I could use up all the scraps of veg in my fridge and some random cans I had in the back of my cupboard. I also got to use some fresh herbs from my herb garden, which I am very proud of! Recipe from Delicious Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 6 pork sausages, cut into roughly quarters
  • Oil of your choice
  • 2 brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • Lemon juice
  • Half a chorizo (approx. 100g) (optional, if not add more pork sausages)
  • Carb of your choice (we had tomato flatbread from ASDA, but we have had it before with chips or garlic bread)
  • 200g spinach (I omitted the spinach because David’s a baby and doesn’t like it all soggy)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on a high heat, then add the sausages and fry until they are lightly browned all around the outside; set them aside for later.
  2. Turn down the heat slightly and fry the onions until softened and brown (roughly 8 minutes) then add the garlic and thyme for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan along with the sausages and rinsed chickpeas. Stir it all together and bring it to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes until the stock has reduced and it is visibly thicker.
  4. Add spinach to the pot and stir well, season with salt and pepper and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice

Credit: Own Image

Recipe 2- Cajun turkey steaks with pineapple salsa (for 2)

Credit: BBC Good Food

ASDA’s favourite thing to reduce is turkey steaks. Normally, I buy a pack and use them in stir-frys because it tastes just like chicken and is a fraction of the price. I had also treated myself to pineapple the week before so when I found this recipe it was perfect! My boyfriend, David, absolutely loved this one and is begging me to make it again, he loved the rice because it was made with chicken stock and had sooo much flavour. Recipe from BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • Oil of your choice
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 200g of basmati rice
  • 450ml of chicken stock
  • 400g kidney beans (I used tinned mixed Mexican beans as it was all I had, and it worked perfectly!)
  • 2 turkey steaks
  • Cajun seasoning, enough to coat the steaks
  • 220g can of pineapple rings, drained
  • Juice of a lime (I used lemon juice to avoid buying another ingredient and it was lovely)

Method:

  1. Keep aside some onion and peppers for the salsa, fry the rest in the oil until they are softened and coloured.
  2. Stir the rice into the vegetables and add the chicken stock and beans.
  3. Bring it to the boil and stir the ingredients so they are all evenly distributed, reduce the heat so it is simmering
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes, you will know it is ready when the liquid is absorbed
  5. Whilst the rice mixture is cooking, coat the steaks in the Cajun seasoning and fry in a different pan for around 5 minutes on each side
  6. To make the salsa, combine the remaining peppers and onions with the lime/lemon juice.
  7. To plate up, start with the rice, then the steaks topped with a healthy serving of the salsa

Credit: Own Image

Recipe 3 - Cajun salmon and sweet potato wedges

Credit: Olive Magazine

There are 2 cajun recipes in a row - I know - but the recipes are very different. I only used half the pack of seasoning on the turkey, so I set out to find another cajun recipe to use up the rest of it. I normally make another salmon dish, teriyaki salmon from Nadia Hussain’s cookbook “Time to Eat”, which David and I both love but I thought I’d change it up a bit, and this one is SO easy! Recipe from Olive Magazine

Ingredients:

  • One large sweet potato
  • Oil of your choice
  • Rosemary, fresh or dried (I used dried as it was all the supermarket had)
  • A couple sprigs of fresh thyme (This was not in the recipe but I wanted to take advantage of the herbs I was growing)
  • Cajun seasoning, enough to cover the top of the salmon fillets

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  2. Place the wedges on a non-stick baking tray (I just used tin foil) and drizzle oil generously over them so they are sufficiently coated
  3. Sprinkle over the herbs and other seasoning of your choice, toss it all together
  4. Spread out the wedges on the baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes making sure they are soft and fluffy on the inside and crispy and caramelised on the outside
  5. Whilst the wedges are in the oven, rub the salmon with a splash of oil and then coat the top of the salmon fillets with the cajun seasoning.
  6. Bake the salmon alongside the wedges for 10 minutes
  7. Serve, my personal favourite is adding some garlic mayonnaise on the side for the fries!

Credit: Own Image

Niamh Roberts

Aberdeen '23

1st-year Psychology and Sociology student
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