Before coming to University, I was pretty convinced that my extensive knowledge of The Great British Bake Off qualified me as a top notch chef. But alas, after three weeks of baked beans and £1 Domino’s pizza deals (perhaps the best part of Freshers week), I realised maybe there were one or two things about student cooking I hadn’t quite got the hang of…
The past couple of years have taught me a lot about do’s and don’ts in the student kitchen, and I’d say I’ve gained some somewhat useful knowledge. So here are my essential kitchen tips for cheap, simple student cooking.
COOK FROM SCRATCH!
According to Panasonic, processed food like chicken nuggets and pizza account for 77% of student dinners. That’s a lot! Learning to cook from scratch instead can save your bucks big time. My top tip is to stock up your cupboard with essentials like tinned food, pasta and rice, and herbs and spices. This means you always have the basics handy for a last minute curry or pasta dish to whip up in no time!
(Honestly, same. Via Giphy)
PLAN AND PREP!
A lack of planning and prepping is normally what leads to impulse Maccies orders and meal deals which really start to add up, and aren’t fantastic for that beach bod you promised yourself you were going to get either. Every Sunday, I write a list of what I’m going to eat that week for lunch and dinner, go out and buy ONLY what’s on my list (to avoid impulse buys) then spend a couple of hours cooking it all up. I know that might seem like a big chunk of time, but by cooking in bulk then freezing what I’ve made, I can spend the rest of the week simply microwaving my frozen food, instead of worrying about dinner each night… Just some food for thought…
(I mean c’mon this is SERIOUS bulk cooking inspo. Via Giphy)
SEASONING IS EVERYTHING!
Spices and herbs are cheap, irregular purchases, that go a seriously long way. Those tinned beans and 30p lentils sure don’t look appetising on the shelf, but add a few spices to the dish and you’re laughing! Figure out what kind of herbs and spices you like, and watch as your ‘boring’ dishes rise from tasteless to topnotch in no time.
(Be like Salt Bae. Via Giphy)
SHARING IS CARING!
Cooking with flatmates or friends is a seriously great way to save money and time! There aren’t actually a huge amount of recipes out there for just one person, so food shopping becomes much easier, and buying in bulk doesn’t feel like it’s hurting the bank so much. If you’re not keen on cooking, this is also a great way to escape the kitchen a few times a week…
(Actual footage of me in the kitchen. Via Giphy)
LEARN ONE FAIL-PROOF DISH!
It could be a curry, a stir fry or your classic Spag Bol. Master one dish that you know you can make so if all else fails, at least you can resort to that. Then it feels like you’re always a winner in the kitchen!
(This GIF has absolutely no relevance but I couldn’t write a food blog and not include it tbh. Via Giphy)
If you enjoyed this, why not check out some of the other StudentMade blogs for more cooking tips, and our top recommendations for places to eat out around the city on those nights you just really just can’t be bothered to step into that kitchen 🙂