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Dishes to teach university student fir survival!(18 Posts)
My DS want to learn some cheap and easy meals to cook before he heads off to university next year, what are your suggestions?
Pasta bake, macaroni & cheese....?
Stir frying- cheap, quick and healthy.
Jacket potatoes, pasta, rice, and then toppings like bolognese-type sauces, and stir-fries. How to tell when meat is cooked. Then how to season and add stuff ti a basic ragu to make it into chili vs bolognese, and what could be added to use up stuff in the fridge or eke it out, eg chopped celery or a can of beans.
How to cook carrots and other cheap veg.
The advantage of most food coming in plastic bags now is it has cooking instructions on - I know people who have learnt to cook solely from that, up to roast dinners.
Lasagne is a good one because the component parts can be used in other recipes - bolognese sauce, white sauce etc. Get him to look at Bosh on youtube, they have fast run throughs of recipes. There are probably other channels in that style too.
Basic tomato sauce which can be used for pasta, bolognaise, chilli etc by adding other ingredients. Basic white sauce which can be turned into macaroni cheese, tuna bake, chicken supreme. How to make soup from random vegetables left in the fridge.
Why have you not taught your DS this life skill already? Buy them a bloody cook book! Or start teaching him now - nothing like a bit of practical experience. Of course, there is a pretty fair chance he will do what a lot of students do and live on pot noodles.
Buy him the Nosh for Students book. Everything is measured using a spoon or a mug. The choc cake pud is particularly fantastic. Great healthy recipes.
Egg fried rice with anything added.
Dahl & rice & meat/fish/boiled eggs - cheap easy and quick
I cook from scratch and that's what my kids have grown up with. But the three who are/have been students cook differently to me. Although they are perfectly capable of cooking from scratch, at uni they use lots of shortcuts like frozen sliced veg, jars of sauce and spice mixes.
I'd maybe talk about nutrition, meal planning and shopping, making stuff that's easy and quick and storing leftovers safely. Cooking for one in a shared kitchen, with limited space for equipment and ingredients, when you have half an hour between lectures and pre drinks and you have to wash up as well, is a different story to doing it at home.
I too am wondering why you've left it so late!
Remember to bring all recipes down to "for 1" sizes because to be honest storing full meals in shared fridge or freezer is
1 asking for it to be nicked!
2 means it's unlikely to get used but will fester until thrown out & that will put him off bothering.
Basic tomato sauce using cheap mostly non-perishables
Passata, tinned tomatoes, dried herbs/spices, if poss fresh garlic, onions & celery for base.
Can be used for pasta, chilli, curries, stews, stir fries just by varying the herbs & spices.
Basic white sauce - honestly I wouldn't bother with a roux, I'd go with doing cheats versions using bases of cream cheese, creme fraiche or sour cream.
stroganoff - sour cream, paprika, chilli powder, garlic, splash of white wine.
Creamy garlic pasta sauce - garlic & herb cream cheese, splash of milk, extra herbs & garlic if desired.
Cheesy pasta sauce - creme fraiche, grated cheddar, garlic, touch of mustard.
Then there's more specific sauces:
Sweet & sour - stock, tomato ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, spices
Satay sauce - peanut butter, soy sauce, onion, garlic, chilli (fresh or dried)
Teach him shortcuts to make chopping veg, meat or poultry quick & easy & easy to tidy up (eg rinsing seeds out of peppers) & budget planning.
Teach him quick, easy ways to assess portion control - eg I know half a mug of cous cous per person suits us but I use a certain mug, I use a different mug if making up gravy and it's 2/3 etc
I would recommend he have the following in as a general stock of products:
Dried Herbs & spices
Tomato ketchup, Salt, vinegar, mustard, Mayo, tomato purée
Tinned fruit and veg (baked beans of course, but also peas, green beans, peaches, pineapples, mandarins, grapefruit. Sweetcorn, carrots, spinach, creamed mushrooms - lovely on toast and can also be a sauce on pasta etc)
Instant mash - quick & easy plus a thickener if sauces a bit thin.
Marmite - for toast (adds a bit more nutrition than just butter) also depth of taste for sauces.
Peanut butter - again toast but also satay sauce.
Pasta/dried noodles/rice/cous cous
Honey - toast again 😂 but also for sore throats - common in first term as they're talking more than usual, late nights, drunk vomiting and shouting in nightclubs/at sports events.
Tinned meat & fish (tuna, corned beef, spam)
I'd also recommend: measuring spoons, small measuring jug (also useful for making up mash and cous cous), good sharp veg knives - plural because who has time to wash up every day? Good tip I read on here - have his own washing up bowl so if he needs to wash his dishes he doesn't get suckered into doing everyone else's too! Also useful for if he needs to be storing the clean stuff in his rooms if he's got a light fingered housemate!
Quick cheap easy dishes:
Cheesy or pesto pasta
Stroganoff (basically stir fry again but makes a change)
Fry up (teach him to organise timings)
"On toast" - beans, spaghetti, creamed mushrooms, eggs (fried, poached, scrambled), tomatoes
Baked potatoes - topped with tuna/chicken mayo, beans, cheese, chilli - good way of using up any excess sauces made for other things.
Roast dinner. A Sunday roast was a lovely home comfort and social gathering too.
Very quick and really delicious
Thank you everyone for some fantastic ideas, we are going to have lots of fun trying them out!
Fir those asking why he can't cook already....He already cooks quite a bit, and genuinely enjoys it, but has asked me for ideas of new dishes with a tight student budget (and limited kitchen utensils) in mind.
Take them food shopping with you. Point out frozen chicken is cheaper than fresh, check the weight per £ for say cheese, the value pasta they won't taste the difference of. Dd says this is the most helpful thing I did.
That's a great idea about taking him shopping and also some useful tips on utensils to buy. Thanks everyone.
Cook a roast with him. Great way to make friends.
How to roast a chicken / joint of meat properly. Then he can use the meat for various other things that you've taught him!
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