Easy, no-frills home cooking recipes

Easy, no-frills home cooking recipes

Mikey Williams demonstrates how easy cooking can be, whether it is for yourself or for flatmates

For the majority of us, cooking at university needs to be simple and easy-to-do. Too often that can mean compromising on taste, resorting to eating Cheerios for dinner or even spending money that isn’t there to be spent on meals out. The following recipes provide a helping hand. They’re easy for feeding a group or scaling down for just one (hint: have leftovers the next day), so you can cut costs via bulk buying – and then spend that saved money on Jaegerbombs in Loop instead.

Tray-baked chicken

Image credit: Jamie Oliver

Anyone can throw this together – the oven does all the work, all you need to do is avoid lopping off a finger whilst chopping and not burning your accommodation down.

Ingredients to serve 4:

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 peppers, any colour
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Quarter the tomatoes and place them in a large roasting tray. Peel and cut the onions into wedges of a similar size, and do the same with the peppers. Throw in the chicken breasts.

Squash the garlic cloves (you don’t even have to peel them) with the back of your knife and add to the tray and sprinkle over the paprika. Add the oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and toss everything together. The key is making sure everything is well spread out as opposed to being cramped – 1 hour in the oven should then do it. Serve with some hunks of bread/rice/couscous: whatever floats your boat. Dinner party sorted? I’d say so.

Chana Masala (chickpea curry)

Image credit: Frugal Feeding

Don’t be put off by the exoticism – this chickpea curry is ridiculously simple to do and, more importantly, very cheap to make. It’s a good option for veggies, or those who are a bit more hesitant about cooking meat. Once you’ve invested in the spices (which keep for ages), the rest of the ingredients cost peanuts. And you can do it all in one pan to save washing up.

Ingredients to serve 4:

  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Knob of minced ginger
  • 1 tin of whole plum tomatoes
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tins of chickpeas, or equivalent dried and cooked
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Plain yoghurt (optional)

Put your pan on the hob on a medium heat. Pour in the oil and once hot, fry the onions until translucent. Add the spices, garlic and ginger (if you can’t be bothered to get every single one that’s fine, it’ll still taste excellent with the majority of them) and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the water and tinned tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes before pouring in the chickpeas and salt. Turn the hob down to a low heat and leave it to simmer away for about 10 minutes – pour yourself a drink or do something useful in the meantime.

As before, serve it up with bread/rice etc. A dollop of yoghurt also works well to offset the spice.

Baked eggs in popped beans

Image credit: Jamie Oliver

This is best-served as a brunch dish for a group, but you could very easily halve the ingredients for a filling dinner for one. Again it uses tinned beans for frugality, but this time with eggs for satiety.

Ingredients to serve 4:

  • 500g mixed-colour ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 2 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans
  • 2 pinches of fennel seeds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 4 heaped teaspoons ricotta cheese
  • balsamic vinegar, optional
  • hot chilli sauce, optional

Halve the tomatoes, place in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of oil and salt – leave them to let the flavours mingle.

Put your pan on a high heat before adding the drained beans, fennel seeds and some pepper. Leave for 5 minutes, shaking occasionally – you want them to char and burst their skins. Add tomatoes into the pan with 100ml of water, season with salt and pepper then let it bubble away for 1 minute. Crack in your eggs before covering with a lid/plate/tin foil, reduce the heat and leave for about 3/4 minutes until the eggs are set to your liking – runny yolks are my preference.

Spread the ricotta over the toasted bread and top with the mix – if you rate yourself as a flair chef, drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar and/or chilli sauce over the top.

Featured image credit: Pexels

Mikey Williams