Ok, so since students are notorious for being skint, I thought I would post a recipe for good quality food that can be maintained on a student budget. Feel free to modify these recipes according to personal taste but here is the recipe for Vegetarian Pasta Bake...
YOU WILL NEED:
Pasta - any type can be used, but I prefer to use fresh pasta just because I think it freezes better than dried, but use whatever you prefer and whatever fits in with your budget as dried pasta is usually cheaper.
Peppers - I used 1 full red pepper and half a yellow pepper just to add a splash of colour and flavour to my dish.
Cost: £1 (for 3 peppers)
One tin of tomatoes - Again, I usually go for the slightly more expensive ones as I have found that the cheaper option is more water than tomatoes and have less flavour than the more expensive counterpart.
Garlic - I used two cloves in this recipe just to add a bit more flavour to the sauce.
Cost: 75p (for 4 bulbs)
One onion - I only used one, but again, you can add more according to personal taste.
Cost: 65p (for 1kg)
Mixed herbs - I only used a sprinkling of this, again just to add more flavour and to give that 'Italian' taste.
Cost: 70p (for 14g pot)
*Since I only used a sprinkling of this, I won't be including the price of this in the overall cost of the meal :)
Cheese - This is grated over the top of the pasta bake before it goes into the oven. I've found that mature cheddar works best when cooking as the taste of milder cheese gets lost during the cooking process.
Cost: £2.00 (for 350g)
1x Chopping board
1x Frying pan
1x Large pan with lid
1x Oven-proof dish
Storage containers that can go in the freezer
- Preheat the oven to 200c
- Pour all of the pasta into the large pan, cover with water and set to boil
- Chop the onions and peppers and add them to the frying pan and add to the hob to begin heating
- Once the onions and peppers start softening, turn the heat of the hob to a simmer and add the tin of tomatoes, garlic (2 cloves, crushed or cut as finely as possible) and sprinkling of mixed herbs. Stir this and keep on the heat until pasta is cooked.
- Check the pasta and if it is cooked, drain and add to the frying pan sauce. Stir the sauce into the pasta
- Remove the frying pan from the heat and put one portion into the oven-proof dish, and the rest of the pasta into a storage container. (The best way to do this is to use storage containers that roughly hold one portion of food so that you don't have to defrost a large batch of food)
- Add grated cheese to the pasta in the oven-proof dish and put into oven until cheese turns golden-brown
- Serve and enjoy :)
Note: If you would like a more tomato based sauce, add chopped tomatoes and a little tomato puree at the same time as the tinned tomatoes and garlic.
Also, if you would like to turn this into a chicken pasta bake, add the pre-cooked chicken at the same time as the tinned tomatoes (the chicken will be warmed through fully once the pasta bake comes out of the oven but make sure that you are NOT adding raw chicken to the pasta bake, always ensure that it is cooked before hand)
Total cost of meal: £5.50*
*I didn't include the price of the mixed herbs and I calculated the price for one onion and one clove of garlic so that I had the price of the ingredients I used within this recipe.
So, there you have it, a simple and quick recipe for a pasta bake. If you are a new or struggling cook I would recommend this as there isn't a lot of things that can go wrong since there is no meat. I cooked this today, it took me 20 minutes and I also have two other portions in my freezer for another day. I don't class myself as an amazing cook so I'm hoping the recipes I show on here will be easy to replicate and not expensive. If I had been prepared I would have taken a photo of my food to show you the outcome but I was too eager to eat so I'm sorry :( Also, I don't know how regular these recipe posts will be, but keep tuned as I will try to do more since I have a few more recipes up my sleeve...