5 cheap and easy meals to make students feel like a gourmet chef


What’s the worst stereotype surrounding students? Probably that they’re not very confident when it comes to knowing their way around the kitchen. According to our recent survey results, many students in the UK do struggle when it comes to cooking regular healthy meals.

Over half of students said they find it difficult eating healthy due to a lack of time, and 41% said monthly budget was a factor in choosing alternative options such as ready meals, takeaways, eating out or snacking on convenience foods. As a result of this, as many as 38% of you described your diet as unhealthy. In light of our study, we wanted to show students how they can make cheap, healthy alternatives to their usual takeaway or ready meal.

Student recipe preparation

What we did

We know that student cooking gets a bad rep, so we collaborated with a former chef at The Ritz Restaurant in London to reinvent five classic and convenient student snacks that most students will be familiar with:

  • Kebab & Cheesy Chips
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza
  • Baked Beans on Toast
  • Pot Noodle
  • Cake in a Mug

They might sound basic, but these meals can be transformed into healthier, gourmet-standard dishes that are much cheaper than takeaways and convenience food. All that’s required is some simple ingredients, standard kitchen facilities and just a little bit of effort.

How we did it

Step in our chef, Timothy Hyde-Sykes, who has experience working at high-end restaurants across the country. First, Timothy spent months tinkering in the kitchen – using ingredients you would find in your cupboard or local supermarket – to revamp the meals with a gourmet twist. We then invited him to join us at Liberty Living’s student accommodation in Leeds to talk us through the recipes and see his cooking expertise in action.

Timothy Hyde-Sykes

Here are our five gourmet recipes for students, along with full ingredients, methods and costings.

Kebab & Cheesy Chips reinvented as…
Lamb Meatball Koftas, Potato Gratin Chip with Parmesan Crisp & Mixed Fresh Salad

Kebab & Cheesy Chips

Cost per person: £1.51

Find the full recipe, ingredients and costings here.

BBQ Chicken Pizza reinvented as…
Tomato Dough Pizza with Stuffed Chicken Roulade, Crispy Chicken Skin & Homemade BBQ Sauce

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Cost per person: £1.62

Find the full recipe, ingredients and costings here.

Baked Beans on Toast reinvented as…
Cheese & Parsley Sourdough with Mixed Bean Tomato Stew

Baked Beans on Toast

Cost per person: £1.94

Find the full recipe, ingredients and costings here.

Pot Noodle reinvented as…
Fresh Vegetable Pho with King Prawns

Pot Noodle

Cost per person: £2.80

Find the full recipe, ingredients and costings here.

Cake in a Mug reinvented as…
Lemon Meringue Cake with Candied Orange & Lemon Curd Coulis

Cake in a Mug

Cost per person: £2.50

Find the full recipe, ingredients and costings here.

The benefits of cooking at home

You’ll see so many benefits from deleting that JustEat app and stepping into your kitchen. For starters, you’ll be eating fresher, healthier ingredients, while saving money you might usually spend on takeaways. Plus, making the extra effort to prepare meals will put you in a productive mindset, ready for your long shifts in the library. To make even more savings, why not rope your flatmates in and buy the ingredients together? That way, you can buy more supplies, take a break from studying and enjoy cooking and eating together.

Student recipe preparation

You’ll be sure to impress other students when you show off your gourmet culinary skills and serve up your stylish bites. Whether you’re preparing a posh kebab and chips for a date or making fancy pizzas for your flatmates, there’s no doubt these recipes will get you in their good books. Plus, you’ll be able to surprise your family the next time you head home and show them what you’ve learnt.

We hope that you’ll try these fantastic recipes and that you’re encouraged to get creative and try your own in the kitchen. Fingers crossed we find our very own star chef in 2019!

How do you rate the recipes? Show us your attempts and your own reinvented classics on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #WeAreLibertyLiving.

We’re searching for students to join our Creative Community, so get in touch if you’d like to develop your skills in areas such as blogging, photography and video production.