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5 super easy meals that use up everything in your fridge

For the evenings when you don't know what to make, here are five super easy meals you may have forgotten even existed.

Trying to decide what to have for dinner is probably one of the most difficult challenges you have to face every day. I find I always end up gravitating back to the same few meals because they're easy, you can make them in bulk and because they're tasty; everything a student looks for in a dinner.

1. Pasta bake

Pasta bake is a staple meal in my week—it's the ultimate comfort food, but just because it's comfort food doesn't mean it has to be unhealthy.

You can use any kind of pasta, penne is my firm favourite, and any kind of pasta bake sauce which are easily available from any supermarket. Then you can get creative and add whatever you want—I tend to use up whatever vegetables I have left in the fridge but you can also add meat, chicken and bacon work well. Put a large amount of dried pasta in an ovenproof dish and cover with the sauce, then add half a jar of water. Put all your added extras, in my case a copious amount of vegetables, give it a stir and put it in the oven for 45 mins, and while you wait you can crack on with some uni work. 10 mins before it's done, take it out and sprinkle some grated cheese on top and then put it in until all the cheese is melted. Once it's cooked you'll have a very tasty meal, and you'll have leftovers of as well.

2. Stir-fry

A stir-fry is also a great way to use up any vegetables you have left in the fridge. My go-to recipe is a chicken and veg stir-fry with a fried egg on top.

Firstly, take whatever noodles you fancy and cook them according to their instructions. I like to make my own sauce by mixing together peanut butter, chilli sauce, soy sauce, and some water to make it smooth—this means you don't have to buy a pre-made one and you should have most of these ingredients in your cupboard. Then chop up all your veg and fry them in a pan, when cooked pour the sauce on top. Then fry your egg in a separate frying pan and you're ready to plate up. This is also a great Instagram-worthy meal if you want to show your parents you're actually eating properly at uni, and you should have plenty of leftovers afterward too.

3. Chicken noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup is the perfect winter warmer and is especially good if you've got a cold. This dish can be made using whatever vegetables or meat you want and can be made completely your own.

To make a classic noodle soup you'll need chicken, vegetables—I like to use spring onions, pak choi, a chili pepper and baby corn—, noodles (udon are the best) and a stock cube or two. Firstly, chop all your vegetables and then cook your chicken. Add your vegetables—except the pak choi—to the same pan and cook those and then add your stock. It's completely dependent on preference how much stock you make. Then add your noodles and allow them to cook, before finally adding your pak choi. When the pak choi has wilted then you're done! Fill a big bowl with that noodle goodness and put the rest in the fridge for the leftovers.

4. Thai green curry
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Thai Green Curry ? slice up your green pepper, red onion and red chilli (deseeded) cook them in your wok using fry light until soft then add a few tbsp of @bluedragonuk thai green curry paste continue to cook in your wok. (I pre cooked my chicken in the oven as I wanted shredded chicken but you could add your chicken chunks to the wok the same time as your peppers, onions and chilli if your prefer or for veggie version don’t add the chicken at all). Add a tin of light coconut milk to your wok and bring to the boil. Once your coconut milk is boiling add your mange trout and baby corn (also shredded chicken if you cooked in the oven), add a tbsp of coriander and lower the heat a little continue to cook for another 10 mins whilst your mange trout and baby corn cooks. I served mine with @tildarice coconut rice ? #foodie #instacook #thai #thaigreencurry #kaykaycooks

A post shared by KAYKAY (@kaykaycooks) on

Any curry is a great way to use up what's left in your fridge, my personal favourite is Thai green curry.

You'll need some curry paste—which you can make yourself or find at any supermarket—coconut milk, chicken, and vegetables of your choice (I use baby corn, broccoli, peppers, onions, chilli) and rice. Put your rice onto cook. Then, cook your chicken through and add your veg to the same pan. Pour your paste over the chicken and veg and stir so it's evenly coated and then add your coconut milk. Leave to bubble away for a little while so everything absorbs the flavour and then serve with your rice. Super easy and you can change the recipe to whatever suits you!

5. Slow-cook bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is such a student staple and there's a reason why! Bolognese is the best for bulk cooking and it's a guaranteed delicious meal.

You'll need mince meat, chopped tomatoes, beef stock cubes, carrots, onion and any other vegetables of your choice—I sometimes add broccoli and pepper. Cook the mince in a large pot until brown, then add your vegetables and let them cook. Add your tin of chopped tomatoes and beef stock (however much you like) and then bring to the boil. Give it a stir and then turn the temperature down and leave it on the hob to cook. Make sure you check it every half an hour and give it a stir. After three hours the meat should've absorbed the majority of the liquid and you should be left with a thick bolognese sauce, make sure to season it with salt and pepper. Serve with whatever pasta takes your fancy and you're good to go.

All these meals are super easy and guaranteed to be tasty, so get whatever is left in your fridge and make one of these meals tonight, you won't regret it!
Featured image: Katie Smith on Unsplash