Cheap and easy winter recipes

female student grocery shopping at Park Market

Student Life Content Creator, Noémie, gives some inspiration for your future winter recipes. Take this opportunity to try to cook these 2 easy and cheap recipes and do not hesitate to share your achievements with us!

During winter, it can be difficult to find the motivation to do anything. It is true, it is dark at 4pm, it is cold and you have to work for uni and take care of yourself all at the same time – it can be challenging. But let’s try to look at things on a more positive side: this is the perfect time of the year to try new food and stay at home while gazing out the window at the frigid weather.

So put on your favourite Netflix series (mine is Gilmore Girls, especially during this time of the year) or a football match if you follow the World Cup (which team do you support?), some warm clothes and let the meal preparation begin!

The first cheap and easy recipe is: Soy & Butter Pasta brought to you by Donal Skehan  

Name a better comfort food than pasta – impossible. So for this meal, you will need :

  • 350g Pasta (my favourite is spaghetti)
  • 200g Mushrooms
  • 1tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 3tbsp soy sauce
  • Small handful of chives
  • Sea salt and black pepper

The preparation should not take more than 15 minutes. First, you will need to bring a large pot of boiling water to the boil, season with a little salt and add the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan to medium-high, add a little oil then fry the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper until just soft and golden.

Then, add the butter and soy sauce to the pan, mix and let melt in the pan.

Bring the pasta straight from the pot to the pan and stir well with kitchen tongs. Enjoy the pasta with a sprinkle of chives on top!

The second cheap and easy recipe is Roast Tomato and Garlic Soup. I chose this recipe because soups keep you warm and boost your health. It will take a little more time to prepare than the pasta but it is all worth it.

You will need :

  • 900 g tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic, tops sliced off
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large sprigs of thyme, leaves picked off
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 litres vegetable stock

To be able to enjoy your delicious soup, you first need to preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Place the tomatoes cut-side up in a large roasting tin and place the garlic bulbs. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt and powdered black pepper on top of the thyme leaves.

Then, bake 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave aside while you make the base of the soup.

Next, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cooking pot over high heat. Fry the onion, celery, and carrot for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6 minutes until tender. Bring the tomato purée and stock to a steady boil.

Squeeze the roasted garlic bulb’s cloves into the soup, along with the roasted tomatoes and their juices. Simmer for 25 minutes until the carrot is completely tender. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste. Blend the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor until completely smooth.

Serve the soup warm in deep bowls and feel free to add some crusty bread and drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil on the top.

Ingredients, where to find them and their alternatives:

To make your life easier, here is a list of the ingredients with their prices and alternatives.

For the pasta:

The ‘Tesco Linguine Pasta 500g’ will do the job. It is £0.95 for 500g, which is good because you can also keep your pasta as leftovers for a few days. If you are intolerant to glucose, there is an alternative that you can take: ‘Tesco Free From Spaghetti’, it is a bit more expensive – £1.10 for 500g. The cheapest pasta that I found is from Lidl : ‘Baresa Macaroni’ – £0.75 for 500g.

For the tomatoes:

From Tesco again, there is ‘Tomatoes on the Vine’ 500g for £0.99. If you want to find a cheaper ingredient there is ‘Italian Chopped Tomatoes’ from Tesco again – only £0.45 for 400g. 

Finally, for the oils:

The olive oil can be expensive, the cheapest that I found is from Asda ‘Extra Virgin Oil’ 250ml for £1.85. You do not need a lot of olive oil, I usually use it to add some flavour (for example in a salad, I mix olive oil with some mustard and it will give you a beautiful vinaigrette). For cooking I would suggest a cheaper alternative: ‘Pure Sunflower Oil’ from Tesco. It costs £2.10 for 1L.

I hope you find these recipes useful and will give them a try. Cooking can be complicated at first but when you learn and practice, the activity will become more natural and in the end, you will be proud of yourself (I speak from personal experience).

Please let us know if you decide to try these recipes and don’t forget to tag us on our socials (@uor_student on Instagram and @UniRdg_Student on Twitter).

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