So you’ve officially arrived at university and the freedom is pure bliss. There’s no one telling you what to do, no one reminding you of your chores and no one keeping an eye on you. Perfection! But there’s one thing you seem to have forgotten, dinner is not going to be ready on the table at 7pm unless you make it and put it there. Most of us have come to university without having to make dinner every single day, so now we are independent, it is our responsibility to take on the task – similar to a horror story in our eyes, right? The temptation to order a takeaway every night is real, oh so very real, but our student loans are telling us no. So, here are some cooking tips to help you on your way.
- Friends with tin foil
Tin foil is your go-to kitchen product when you are using the oven. Line the tray you are using with tin foil and place your food on top. When your food is ready, throw away the foil and forget about the washing up, because you won’t have any to do…hopefully.
- Bulk up
In the first week of university, when your timetable isn’t overly packed and when the stress hasn’t yet begun, find some filling recipes and cook a few huge meals. Cook as much as physically possible. Once your food is done, split them into portion sizes and freeze them in plastic containers. Your next few weeks of meals are now waiting to be defrosted. Bish, bash, bosh, I like to say. If you are moving to university by car, then you’re the lucky ones because you can probably rope your mum or dad in to help before you leave.
- Leftovers aren’t so bad
Similarly to cooking bulk, make double one night and have the other half for tomorrow night. That way will ensure you only have to cook for half the week. Genius right?
- Make it quicker
We don’t have all day, vodka or Netflix awaits. When you’re preparing food, some things take more time to do than needed, so bear in mind these tips when you’re next in the kitchen:
- Grate hard butter so it’s easy to spread
- Cut meat into smaller pieces when frying
- Instantly put the kettle on and preheat the oven – just in case
- Buy ready vegetables and meat
- Make salads and change the dressing often, each dressing brings a whole new flavor
- Use dental floss to cut soft food to avoid extra washing up – Perfect for soft cheese.
- Don’t cut through the onion root when cutting to prevent the tears and endless trips to the sink to soothe your eyes
- Fun with your housemates
The takeaway menus are flooding through the letter box, you’ve seen the dominoes car drive all over campus roads, and you just really fancy pizza with stuffed crust, wedges and chicken wings. Times are hard. Trust me, I know! But cooking with others makes the whole process so much more fun, plus you might learn something new from them. Make it an evening plan with your friends instead of a solo chore.
- One-pan/pot meals
Often the issue with cooking at university is the hassle of it all. One-pan or one-pot recipes are here to the rescue! These recipes require a large pan or pot to make…and that’s all. So, as you can imagine, they are super simple to do. Some meals take hours to make, but there just as many half an hour length ones too. If you are new to cooking, then they are the perfect way to start because all you are doing is chucking the ingredients into a pan, just at different times. Bish, bash, bosh once again! Jamie Oliver and Good Food websites are my top two websites to use.
- Be organised
When you have a spare 10 minutes, write a vague plan of the meals you intend to make for the week. That way you will have time to get the ingredients you need each night without any hassle. Having a plan will also save you time on the day when you can’t decide what to do, or when you don’t know what you can cook with what you have. Trust me, making a plan for a few minutes each week is a lifesaver!
We are on our phones all the time, so it may as well be beneficial. If you’re stuck for ideas, or prefer to learn recipes through videos than books, then give Facebook a chance. Recently some pages have been showing some very quirky cooking videos which have some easy methods. Like some of the pages and you’ll catch a glimpse of a few meal ideas every day. Pages to search: – Tasty – Proper Tasty – Tastemade – Tip Hero