Blog & Insights
How do I… make quick and easy meals?
The final installment of our “How Do I…” Series: a survival guide to university living.
There’s so much to take on board when you get to uni, from meeting new people and finding your way around, through to managing your workload and independent living. All these activities absorb a lot of time and energy – and to top it all off you’ve got to feed yourself as well.
Whether you’re always the first one to grab a spatula and command the room, or a complete first-timer in the kitchen, cooking meals can often seem like a chore. And if your confidence is low there is a temptation to avoid it altogether. Rest assured, the more time you spend cooking for yourself, the easier it will become – and the quicker you will turn out those tasty dishes. Here’s 5 ways to keep your kitchen cooking.
Don’t get bogged down by all the fancy equipment you think you will have to buy to turn out a simple meal. The only items you will genuinely need are a non-stick frying pan and a basic saucepan. This will serve you well for almost any meal you prepare whether that be pasta, soup, grilled meat or vegetables. Pair this clever duo with a chopping board, a sharp knife and some cooking utensils and you are good to go. We recommend a quick stop at Kmart for these essentials.
Prepare the supplies
Cooking with confidence is all about having everything you might need on hand. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to get the cupboard stocked up in advance with a range of useful basics. Think herbs and spices, canned tomatoes, cooking oil, pasta, rice, bread, garlic and onions. These form the basics for many recipes and as you discover what works and what doesn’t – as well as forming your personal preferences – you can include or discard at your leisure. Here’s a helpful list to get you started.
Eat with friends
The incentive to go to the effort of cooking just for you can wear off pretty quickly. But the science shows that eating healthily will help to optimise your brain function, which in turn impacts your academic output. A handy solution is to regularly buddy up with friends or housemates for cooking nights. Not only can you split out the cost of the ingredients, it’s much more fun cooking together and sharing the task – and you get to pick up some fab new recipes along the way. You can even use an app like Chorma to help schedule your cooking nights (and other household tasks!)
Batch cook and freeze
The student freezer space is highly coveted for a very good reason. It allows you to cook more than you need and store it for the months ahead, saving you both money and time along the way. If you really don’t enjoy the cooking process that much, this is the perfect solution. It gets it over with quickly and you still get to benefit from delicious and nutritious meals. Save space in the freezer (and leave room for others) by using freezer bags rather than plastic containers. That way you can also freeze perfect portion-sized meals.
Be repertoire ready
There are plenty of uncomplicated – and cheap – meal recipes out there that can be knocked up in a flash. Classic student favourites range from pasta, soups and fajitas through to jacket potatoes, omelettes and the classic stir fry. Many of these can even be made using just one pan, making the washing up drill even easier! Once you have nailed a short list of quick and easy meals, the cooking becomes simple and before you know it the kitchen is your new favourite happy place.