by ANASTASIA VENTO
Being a university student can be hard, especially when you have to prepare meals on a tight budget. But your food budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavour. You can easily bring out big flavours with a small budget. Here are some helpful tips and meal ideas to get started on a budget friendly road to delicious treats!
To spend less money on food, you need to plan ahead. The majority of shoppers waste their money on impulse buys or unneeded ingredients. To put a stop to this pocket emptying habit, try the following:
v Plan a menu based on specials you see in a catalogue before heading out to a store.
v Always write out a shopping list and make sure you stick to it.
v Take advantage of any discount coupons you have around the house.
v Stock up on items you use frequently when they’re on sale.
v Check what you already have in your cupboards to avoid doubling or tripling up on items!
A simple way to cut costs is to dine globally. The exciting part is you can make each meal a cultural adventure! You’ll save money whilst getting to know the foods of different nationalities. Here are some useful tips:
v Adopt an Asian approach to meals. Fill plates with a variety of vegetables and starches such as rice or noodles. Leave expensive meats and seafood as an addition, rather than the dominating element of dishes.
v Experiment with spices. Indian cooks use coriander, cumin and turmeric to adddepth to dishes that contain a lot of vegetables or lentils.
v Focus on whole grains. Whole grains keep you fuller for longer, so you eat less. Many Italian cooks fill their cabinets with dry pasta and add a simple to complete the dish.
Meal ideas: what to eat and drink
Slip on your apron and get creative in the kitchen without feeling guilty about spending most of last week’s pay! Here are some delicious and affordable meals for you to enjoy.
Make every Friday night Mexican night!
What you need: 12 tacos, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 chopped red onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 250g chicken mince, 1 cup shredded lettuce, 1 peeled and grated carrot, 2 chopped tomatoes, ½ cup grated cheese, 1 teaspoon Mexican chilli powder.
How to make it: Preheat your oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mince. Stir while cooking to break up the mince, cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Add the chilli powder to the mince and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for a further 10 minutes. Bake taco shells for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon the mince evenly into each shell. Top with vegetables and cheese. Serve warm.
Don’t get caught in the rain with this cocktail!
What you need: 2 cups chilled pineapple juice, 1/2 cup white rum, 1/2 cup coconut cream, 2 tablespoons finely chopped palm sugar, 1 cup crushed ice, extra to serve. Serves 4
How to make it: Place pineapple juice, rum, coconut cream, palm sugar and ice in to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving jug and serve immediately over crushed ice. Done! Time to party!
Bacon and mushroom penne
Get shakin’ with some pasta and bacon!
What you need: 500g dried penne pasta, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 250g chopped short cut bacon, 400g quartered button mushrooms, 100g baby spinach leaves, 1/3 cup grated parmesan. Serves 4
How to make it: Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente. Heat oil in a frypan over high heat, add bacon and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, tossing for 3 minutes until cooked. Add spinach and stir until it is slightly wilted. Drain pasta in a colander and return to saucepan. Add bacon and mushroom mixture to the pasta, tossing over low heat until combined. Serve with sprinkled parmesan.
Make cooking fun and cheap by applying pocket-saving strategies to your weekly shopping. It will allow you to enjoy your time in the kitchen without feeling the pinch. By picking out the most cost-effective ingredients, you’ll easily be able to whip up a fantastic meal for a low price. The secret to enjoying cooking is trying new things and creating memorable, satisfying dishes. Make every attempt a satisfying one.
These recipes were inspired by www.taste.com.au with several alterations.