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Meals we are practicing(25 Posts)
DS will be starting Uni in September, he likes his food and is quite health conscious, we have been practicing some meals together and he has occasionally been cooking for the family. Dishes we plan to cover:
curry & rice
Chilli (bean &/or mince)
Eggs (omelette, poached, fried, boiled)
Savoury mince (cottage pie, baked potato filling)
Fish finger sandwiches!
Any other ideas?
I taught DS1 to make one meal: chicken fajitas. Then I pointed out that if he added a tin of chopped tomatoes he'd have pasta sauce, if he did that but subbed in mince he'd have a different pasta sauce (not quite bolognese), if he used mince and kidney beans and adjusted the seasoning he'd have chilli.... you get the picture! I also provided a student cook book (which I have no idea if he used).
He's about to enter his 3rd year and has not starved!
Also introduced him to the concept of "make more than you need and you've got a ready meal for tomorrow"
Some of them take quite a bit of time to cook and need planning ahead, a lot of effort for a meal for one. Is he expecting to bulk cook and eat for a couple of days or freeze?
I would try to think of more one portion meals, quick flattened chicken breast or beef strips and veg stir fries with rice/noodles, cooking a single chicken breast/salmon fillet (with gravy, Cajun spices, soy sauce to have with veg) for example. Pasta with meat/veg but without needing to bake.
I did this with my two in the summer before uni started. Prior to that they had done little more than pasta in the way of cooking. I found it harder than I thought because they struggled with basics like chopping onions.
I wrote a cook book for them with idiot proof step by step instructions. Also about how to choose and buy fresh meat and veg.
I also took them round a supermarket and showed them how to shop as cheaply as possible, choosing own labels and checking price per kilo and dates.
One ended up being an enthusiastic cook and his flat even had a cooking rota. This meant that he had to cook for six people but had his meals cooked 5 days a week. His flat mates were from all over the world so he learned to love unfamiliar food as well.
The other DC went vegetarian soon after starting uni and survived on a very limited repertoire.
DS1 is so disinterested in food we didn't really do anything before he left last yr but he was soon sending pics of his stir frys and pasta dishes proclaiming himself a fab cook lol. I think they learn pretty quickly when they are bored of pot noodles and toast.
DS2 is a fab cook and loves his food. He's already started planning his shopping lists and what he can preprep for the freezer.
Stir fry. Meat and non meat. Salmon in the oven with salad. Takes 15 minutes. Fry ups in one frying pan. Smoked salmon or prawn pasta with cream and Parmesan. Takes 10 mins and just stirring. Any pasta sauce with cheese added. Avocado on toast with bacon. Sausage casserole using mixed beans and a tomato sauce. Loads of toppings for baked potato. Quick fried chicken with a salad. Ditto any cooked meat. Buy fruit and make smoothies.
I don’t think you can expect them to cook from fresh every day and let them take short cuts and do “meals in minutes”. They have so much to get used to when they start, satisfying parents on healthy eating as well is a tall order. Often DC agree who is going to cook on a certain evening so they pitch in together. Easier than meals for one all the time and far more sociable. Just go with a small repertoire of quick and easy meals that don’t require much effort and they will flourish.
I agree it’s a bit much to expect them to be conjuring up sophisticated meals at least in the first few weeks as they find their feet, get laid low with freshers flu and try to get to grips with their studies. I fully expect my DD to survive on ovenable things like breaded chicken and frozen potato items for a while. I’ve said she should try to have some fruit with breakfast and snacks and some veg with dinner. I’m sure in time she will get into cooking “proper meals” when the initial giddiness subsides. She’s already in a group chat with flat mates and fajita night is being planned ☺️
I've bought a lot of vitamin c tablets for dd.
I certainly don't expect her to be simmering bolognaise for hours.
Stirfries, quick pasta sauces, avacado on toast, beans on toast, a bit of fish or chicken baked in the oven with fresh or frozen veg. Eggs. Cheese. The odd ready meal.
Hummus and pitta
Roast veg and couscous
Tuna mayo salad
Anything that avoids too much chopping, prep and washing up!
How many people are sharing the kitchen? We had a standard cooker between 11 of us, meals needed to be v quick, not casseroles!
Lol at not making casseroles etc. We used to take turns cooking & it was a lot better to stand & cook for 1-2 hrs once a week, than all be competing for the kitchen counters & sink, every day. Worked out cheaper, too. Maybe I was just lucky though.
Smoked mackerel pâté. Smoked mackerel (the shrink-wrap boneless stuff). A tub of cream cheese, maybe just use half. Squeeze of lemon juice (use the rest for cocktails ), or use the jif lemon type. Black pepper. - Remove skins from the fish. Mash with a fork. Eat on crackers, in a sandwich, salad, whatever. Keeps for a day or so in a tub in the fridge.
Pasta, peas or broccoli (cooked in a pan together), pesto (the Zest brand vegan pesto is nice & keeps in the fridge for ages). Bit of chopped ham mixed in at the end, if there is any. Or some cheese grated on.
Invest in a instant pot or slow cooker for him, and buy a recipe book. He can bung in casseroles before going out for the day, do jacket potatoes in it, even cake. Also even if he's skint, a few sausages, tin of tomatoes, couple of potatoes or pasta and he's got a great meal out of scraps.
Great that you’re doing this but i’m at a 17 year old needing to be taught boiled eggs and jacket potatoes...
Don’t DC just contribute to the household generally and learn general cooking and housework skills?
DS1’s current culinary repertoire
Crushed avocados on toast topped with poached eggs
Grilled Cheese on toast
Pizzas made with a tortilla base topped with ready made pasta sauce, mushrooms, peppers, onions, olives topped with cheese and grilled
Mushroom and spinach omelettes
Shop bought tortellini with ready made pasta sauce wilted spinached topped with cheese and oven baked
Oven baked bought veggie burgers with oven chips and frozen peas
I'm so proud of my middle DC, hes off to uni this year and he (like me) is a proper foodie. He totally loves cooking new dishes and can handle Sunday lunch for 10 easily.
His older sister and younger brother on the other hand are useless, she lived off stir fry for 3 years. Once she memorably rang me and said "what do I like to eat"
Before my DC went to uni I made them do a trial week of living on their uni food budget. They shopped and cooked all their food for a full week, it helped them realise what food costs, and how long they needed to prepare it.
There were some interesting swaps, eg fresh orange juice when bought by mum and dad, became smart price orange squash when buying themselves to keep in budget!
My flat mate lived for about 2 solid years on pasta and pesto!! Could add some broccoli to make it a bit healthier. Plenty of Parmesan on top and it’s pretty tasty and VERY quick.
My brother took to making baked bean toasties when he went to uni having never eaten beans before 😱😂
A flat mate of DH used to heat up baked beans on their solid ring hob. Still in the tin!
Hope the OP is teaching them how to make a pot noodle in a kettle.
On the pesto pasta theme, Chuck in a handful of frozen peas with the pasta and a small can of tuna after draining and you have all food groups in a pan and it freezes brilliantly. A weekly staple in my house if we need to cobble something together in 10 mins
I agree with previous posters that sharing a kitchen between 8 to 10 people may make some of the more time consuming meals more difficult to make. Ds shared a kitchen with 7 others and the cooker seemed rather ancient. The following were some of his favourites:
made soup at the weekends to freeze for quick lunches
smoothies for breakfast,
avocado and bacon sandwiches,
salmon, chicken with pasta,
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