Girl holding up steak. Screenshot of Camfess with the caption "exams aaaaaaaaaaa"

Trip to the Gyp: Exam Season!

Quick and easy dinner recipes to fuel that big brain 😉

For most of us, exams are coming up soon (*scream*). I don’t know about you, but trying to strike the balance between eating enough to keep my brain somewhat alive but also not taking up too much time by trying to make elaborate dishes, is honestly becoming scarier than the exam itself. Therefore, for you lovely Tab readers, we have compiled four quick and easy dinner ideas that will have you back behind a desk within minutes!

Saucy sausage pasta – 20 mins

I know, I know, typical Uni food. Fortunately, this pasta is not only super fast and easy to make, but also full of potential to add as many yummy veggies you want – because healthy body, healthy mind am I right?

I made mine with only a half an onion, a jar of Loyd Grossman pasta tomato sauce (I know, splashing out), three Richmond sausages and of course, some pasta. A bottle of rosé was also present, but not required.

First, fill a pot with water and place it on the hob to boil. Next, simply chop up the half onion and throw it into a frying pan. While that is cooking on a medium heat, chop up the sausages and throw them in after as well. As you may notice by the attached image, I had a slight mishap while putting the sausages in the pan and that resulted in a single sausage slice boiling in water for a while (it didn’t make the pasta taste like sausage don’t worry).




Frying pan containing chopped sausages and onion. Pot filled with water containing one slice of sausage

As soon as the water has started boiling, add your pasta (don’t forget to salt!) and place the lid on in order to conserve energy. By this point, the sausages and onions are likely to be, or nearly, cooked through, so stir that pasta sauce through until it’s nice and hot. Admittedly, I threw in a variation of random spices from my flatmate’s cupboard at this point. Once the pasta has cooked, drain the pot and pour the pasta into the pan with the sauce.

Bowl of pasta

Voila! Feel free to add whatever vegetables you want to the process, as well as some cheese at the end if you wish. Alternatively, you could buy a can of spaghetti with sausages from Mainsbury’s and eat that, but remember we’re trying to be HEALTHY.

A Big Ol’ Steak! – 10 mins

You know those days where you’re just not feeling carbs? Yeah, me neither. BUT after devouring about three packets of crisps in one day, I decided that a carb-free dinner might honestly be what was best for my body that day. First things first, open the steak packet up and let it rest for about 20 minutes (yes, you can return to work while you do this). Next, rub the steak in oil and season it with what you wish – I went for salt and pepper. As a uni student, washing up is my worst nightmare so I did indeed do this all in the packet.

Steak in packet with salt, pepper and oil

After this, put some oil in a pan and let it heat up. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, some butter and garlic – which you can then use to baste the steak (my flatmate’s suggestion – I was too hungry to do this). Fry the steak for about 2 minutes a side for a medium rare, then take it off the heat and let it rest.

Plate of steak, egg and salad

I then used the rest of the oil to fry an egg, added some mixed salad leaves and ta-daaa. Dinner complete. Probably takes longer to eat it than it did to prepare it. Back to work.

Vegan broccoli pasta – 20 mins

More pasta! I know, but it’s the easiest dinner carb (fight me). My friend Hannah created this delicious vegan pasta dish that is both yummy and good for the environment.

Ironically, I was working and didn’t have time to make this quick and easy recipe – so the images you see below are courtesy of Hannah herself (lucky you)!

First, fill up a pot with water and place it on a hob to boil. While this is heating up, chop up half an onion and pop it in a frying pan to cook. Once the water has started boiling, place the broccoli inside and pop the lid on – leaving it until the broccoli is soft.

Pan filled with pasta, broccoli, onion and cream

While the broccoli is cooking, pour about half a pot of vegan double cream into the pan (Elmlea Plant is available from Mainsbury’s). Drain the pot and pour the broccoli into the pan, smushing it so it breaks up and is nice and soft. Switch the pan to a lower heat while you cook the pasta.

Bowl of broccoli pasta

Once it has finished cooking, simply pour the pasta into the pan and you have a delicious brain fuelling meal! Various vegetables and spices can be added to this recipe as well – as well as the fact this sits in the fridge for a good few days and so most definitely allows for meal planning.

Before uni, I honestly had no idea vegan food could be so delicious and I would most definitely recommend everyone gives this one a try at some point!!

Upper hall food/takeaway – 5 mins

Technically not a gyp recipe, but it will actually probably save you a decent amount of time – and hall normally has healthy options too. Although cooking yourself is considerably cheaper (and your bank account will probably appreciate it), sometimes the fastest way to get some good munch has to be take away. This way you can work while you wait, so it’s basically part of the revision process. Right? Just make sure not check your Deliveroo driver’s location every five seconds.

Bolognese with potato, broccoli, carrot and focaccia bread

As you can see, I was particularly hungry this day and took home a LARGE meal. Also, hall and takeaway are not only convenient, but they do actually have food you can’t cook at home if your college doesn’t have ovens, and to me that’s a pretty good excuse….

Hopefully these ideas will save you that extra little bit of time that you can use to cram in content at the last minute. And remember that as much as we joke about it, please do take time off work to look after yourselves – exam grades don’t define you and never will. Good luck everyone!

All images are author’s own

Feature image credit: Hannah Huang, author’s own screenshot from Camfess

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