​Come Dine with Me – Student Style

cheap meals

Written by SMS blogger, Laura Baines.

Whether you’re suffering with exam stress, celebrating the end of term or trying to impress your family when you come home for summer, my go-to three course meal is perfect for any student. All three recipes are tasty, quick and most importantly, suitable on a budget! You don’t need to be a culinary genius and you won’t need any unusual ingredients, just a room full of hungry people (and maybe your mum/sister/housemate on hand to help!)

balanced diet

Pot noodles, Domino's and ready meals become boring very quickly, and once you go out into the big, wide world (eek!) you’ll need to know how to do more than just operate the microwave. Also, it would be nice if you could prove to your parents that you’ve learnt more than just the rules to Ring of Fire!

student food shop

Take inspiration from Come Dine with Me or Dinner Date if you’re cooking for someone special and make it a fun evening with a theme or dress code. So, what are you waiting for?!

Starter: Garlic Prawns

Recipe taken from Sam Stern’s Student Cookbookarlic prawns


  • 2-3 tbsps olive oil or butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced or chopped (use garlic puree/paste for a quick alternative)
  • 350g large prawns, peeled (try frozen ones if you can’t afford fresh)
  • Parsley/coriander, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Salad, for serving


  • Heat oil/butter in a frying pan or wide saucepan
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring
  • Add prawns; cook 1-2 minutes, stirring.
  • Cover and shake until prawns are white and tender, then sprinkle optional herbs to season and serve with a crunchy salad

Main: Good Old Macaroni Cheese

Recipe taken from Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook

macaroni cheese cheap eat


  • 1 tsp oil (add to boiling water)
  • 225g macaroni
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain white flour
  • 600ml semi skimmed milk
  • 200g strong cheddar, grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Extra cheese for topping


  • Boil macaroni for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain, then preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Melt butter in a saucepan for the cheese sauce. Add the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon over a low heat to make a paste ball. Stir for 2 minutes and remove from heat
  • Beat the milk into paste a bit at a time, to ensure the sauce is smooth. Use a whisk or wooden spoon. If the sauce goes lumpy, don’t panic! Use a sieve or hand blender
  • Return pan to a low heat, stirring until it boils and thickens. Add more milk if needed.
  • Reduce the heat
  • Simmer the sauce gently for 5-10 minutes. Beat in cheese, mustard, lemon juice and seasoning
  • Stir into pasta, tip into buttered ovenproof dish/tin
  • Top with grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes

Dessert: Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies

Recipe taken from BBC Good Food Gluten Free Recipes

student pudding - chocolate brownies


  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 250g salted butter (Stork is best)
  • 400g light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 140g gluten free plain flour (or regular flour)
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g raspberries (strawberries, blueberries or nuts work well too)


  • Heat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tin with grease proof paper. Put the butter, sugar and chocolate into a pan and melt gently, stirring with a wooden spoon
  • Stir the eggs one by one into the chocolate mixture. Sieve over the flour and cocoa and stir in, along with half of the raspberries, making sure it’s all combined
  • Pour into the tin, top with the rest of the raspberries and bake for 30 minutes for a gooey texture, or 5 more for a firmer texture
  • Cut into slices and serve with vanilla ice cream or cream!


If you’re interested in baking and want easy-to-follow recipes, please take a look at my blog or follow me on Twitter.