Top 5 Easy To Make Meals

I love a good ‘chuck it in the oven and come back 20 minutes later’ dinner as much as the next girl, but sometimes all you want is a homecooked meal. That is definitely easier said than done since cooking from scratch can be time consuming and expensive. That is why I’ve listed my Top 5 Easy To Make Meals guaranteed to transport you back home to a time when you weren’t skint 25/8.

All recipes have specific amounts of ingredients, but these are more of a suggestion than anything. Whenever I cook I very rarely actually measure anything so if you want to chuck rough amounts of ingredients into your food, feel free because that’s what I do – it’s more fun that way. Since I don’t tend to properly measure things I don’t have scales and instead use cup measures I got from Asda a while ago, but you can always google the conversions if you would rather use scales. As far as cost goes, the prices will obviously vary depending on what brands you buy, if the product is still available in that shop and if prices have gone up or not and while my local is Aldi, you can expect Lidl prices to be very similar. I have priced everything as if you buy all the ingredients new.

 

Mac & Cheese - (My recipe – for 1)

(photo from google images)

The first thing on my list is Macaroni Cheese. This will forever be my favourite food and a perfect meal for when you need some good ol’ carbs.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pasta
  • ½ cup milk
  • 50g butter
  • Grated cheese (Amount depends on how cheesy you like your mac & cheese to be)
  • Flour

Method

  1. Put pasta into a pot with a little salt. Bring water to the boil, then turn down to medium heat until pasta is soft and drain the water.
    • At this point you can either make the cheese sauce in a separate pot, or you can wait for the pasta to cook and place the cooked pasta into a bowl or on a plate etc it’s completely up to you
  2. In another pot or the one you previously used for the pasta (without the pasta in there) put your milk, butter and some of your cheese in, place on a medium heat and whisk (either with a whisk or a fork) until smooth
  3. To thicken this up you want to now put in some flour – I personally like quite a thick sauce in my macaroni but everyone is different so put a little flour in at a time until you reach your desired thickness (remember to keep whisking so it doesn’t go all lumpy)
    • If you end up making the sauce a little too thick by accident then just pour a little splash of milk in until it smooths out again
  4. Now that the sauce is ready, put your pasta into the pot with the sauce and mix until all pasta is covered
  5. At this stage you can now either put the rest of the grated cheese into the pot and then put your macaroni into a bowl, or if you like a cheesy top you can put your macaroni into an oven-proof dish – I tend to use a little pie dish for this – and put the rest of the cheese on top and then put the dish into the oven at around 180° for 5 minutes or so depending on how crispy you want the top to be

Cost

Aldi - £4.29

Asda - £5.15

Tesco - £5.90

 

Salt & pepper chicken

*disclaimer* this recipe is not mine and can be found in a link at the bottom – I have adjusted the number of ingredients to accommodate 2 people

(photo from hintofhelen.com)

Sometimes known as salt and chilli chicken, this is a great substitute for when you can’t afford to be buying your 3rd Chinese of the week (no judgement from me, I’ve been there) or if you just want to impress friends. I’m not going to lie, I was sceptical about making this because I love the Salt and Pepper chicken I get from my favourite Chinese, but honestly it was amazing! Not quite the same as a takeaway, but Helen’s version is definitely very close and still tasty.

Ingredients

  • Chicken:
    • 2 diced chicken breasts
    • ½ tbsp salt
    • ½ tbsp Chinese five spice
    • ½ tbsp black pepper
    • ½ cup cornflour
  • Vegetables:
    • 1 diced onion
    • ½ diced red pepper
    • ½ diced and de-seeded green chilli
    • ½ bunch of spring onions, diced
  • To fry:
    • ½ cup of oil
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp pepper
    • ½ tsp Chinese five spice
    • ½ tsp chilli flakes

Method

The link at the bottom will take you to the hint of Helen website where there are very easy to follow instructions on how to make this delicious at-home takeaway.

Cost

Aldi - £6.34 (At the time of checking there was no Chinese 5 spice, green chilli, or chilli flakes)

Asda - £10.27 (no green chilli)

Tesco - £10.68

 (https://hintofhelen.com/salt-and-pepper-chicken/)

 

Stovies - (My recipe – for 1)

(photo from google images)

A Scottish classic and one of the quickest meals to make with very little effort, this one’s a good last minute, ‘don’t have the motivation to stand at the cooker for an hour’ kind of dinner.

Stovies with pre-made mash

Ingredients

  • 15 pellets frozen mashed potato/around 200g chilled mash
  • 50g butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ½ onion
  • ½ tin corned beef

Method

  1. Put the potatoes into a pot with the butter and milk and stir until it becomes smooth mash
  2. At this point, test the mash and add more butter to make it creamier, if you want to
  3. Take the mash off the heat and put your chopped onion into a frying pan with some oil
  4. Once the onions have browned, put them into the pot with the mash along with the corned beef
  5. Stir it all in until it’s properly mixed

Aldi – £4.74

Asda – 4.84

Tesco – £5.90

Stovies with potatoes

Ingredients

  • 6 small potatoes
  • 50g butter
  • ½ onion
  • Beef stock (put the oxo cube into a jug with boiling water)
  • ½ tin corned beef

Method

  1. Boil potatoes in a pot until soft
    1. It’s up to you whether you want to take the skin off the potatoes or not
  2. Whilst the potatoes are boiling fry the onions in a pan with some oil until golden brown
  3. Put the onions, corned beef and a little stock into the pot with the potatoes and mix it all together
    1. I prefer my stovies to have a little bit of chunky potato in them, so I personally don’t completely mash the potatoes at this stage, but it is totally up to you how mashed you decide to make them
  4. A little at a time add the stock until you have reached the desired consistency
    1. Too much stock can make the stovies sloppy but too little will make them dry so test a little as you go and decide what’s best for you

Cost

Aldi - £4.54

Asda - £4.74

Tesco - £6.18

 

Sausage & Mash – (my recipe)

(photo from google)

A time-honoured classic, easy to make, and doesn’t need a ton of explanation to be honest but it needed to be in the list.

Ingredients

  • Sausages
  • Mash (either fresh or frozen it doesn’t matter)
  • Gravy granules

Method

  1. Sausages can be cooked a few different ways and its up to you how you want to do it
    1. The first way is by frying them – pour some oil into a frying pan, put the sausages in and every so often turn them to make sure they cook properly and don’t end up burning on one side
    2. The second is by grilling them – Put the sausages onto a grill tray with a little oil, pop under the grill and turn every so often; make sure you keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. (I always manage to forget and end up having half-charred sausages)
    3. The third is by oven baking them – Either put the sausages in a roasting tin or put tinfoil on a normal tray, pour some oil on the tray and then cover the sausages in the oil – put in the oven at around 170C on a fan oven for 20-25 minutes and turn the sausages a few times
  2. For the mash, if frozen, see steps 1 and 2 of the stovies recipe – if fresh, follow the instructions given on the packet

Cost

Aldi - £2.49

Asda - £4.00

Tesco - £4.50

 

Spaghetti Carbonara

*disclaimer* this recipe is not mine and can be found in a link at the bottom

(Photo from BBC good food)

This can be a little trickier to make, but is definitely worth it. Whether it’s a night you just can’t do the same pasta and pesto combination again or you’re cooking for the whole flat, this is a good one to go to.

Ingredients

  • 100g pancetta
  • 50g pecorino cheese (I usually just use double parmesan or substitute this for another cheese I have or can find)
  • 50g parmesan
  • 3 large eggs
  • 350g spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves (Normally I just use garlic powder)
  • 50g unsalted butter

Method

You will find the method of how to make this on the BBC good food website.

Cost

Aldi - £6.25

Asda - £6.69

Tesco - £7.35

(https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1052/ultimate-spaghetti-carbonara)