Thursday, 13 September 2012

Top five Uni Students’ survival meals

A useful preparation for uni life on a limited budget is learning to cook the basic survival meals.  You may think you can live on ready meals, takeaways and the generosity of fellow student who can actually cook (and many do!) but before you know it those teenage spots begin to reappear, your bank balance is in serious jeopardy and you begin to hanker after something that is not swimming in grease, wrapped in plastic and bears no resemblance to its original food source.

In my last blog I mentioned that Junior suggested giving the recipes for the top five survival meals so here you go:

1. Tomato sauce (for pasta, baked potatoes etc)
      1 tin of tomatoes
      1 onion
      3 garlic cloves
      Pepper, salt, ½ teaspoon of mixed herbs
      Cooking oil
      Green or red peppers
      Can of sweet corn

1. Prepare your vegetables:
Peel and chop up or slice the onion (you can wear swimming goggles if you have problems with crying!)
Finely chop up the garlic.
Peel  and grate carrot
Cut peppers in half and scrape out seeds and white stuff from the inside the cut up into small pieces
2. In a saucepan add 1 tablespoon oil and heat.  Do not allow it to burn.  Add onion and stir it over a medium heat until it goes soft and ‘clear’.  Add garlic, peppers, carrot, pepper salt and mixed herbs, and can of tomatoes.
3. Cover pan with lid 9 (or plate) and turn heat down so that sauce is simmering gently.  Check every few minutes and remove from heat when vegetables are soft.

This is the basic sauce recipe.  It is even nicer the next day when all the flavours have had time to merge well.

Variations:     Add a can of sweet corn at the end of the cooking time and heat long enough just to warn to corn through – it is already coked so will not need much time.
                      Add a can of tuna
                      Use it as the sauce on a pizza base and then sprinkle with cheese and grill

2. Baked potatoes
Buy special baking potatoes.  You can either microwave them or cook them in the oven and the amount of cooking time required  them will depend on their weight.
Always wash them and then poke them a few times with a fork.
For oven baked potatoes (nicer because the skin is crispy), heat the oven to 200oC then place potato(es) in the centre of the middle shelf . Bake for 45 – 60 minutes and test by poking a fork into the centre.
If cooking in the microwave, follow the recipe in the microwave instruction book.
You could start them off in the microwave and then finish them in the oven for about 15 minutes to cut down on the cooking time but still get a crispy skin.
Fillings:  Butter
              Baked beans
              Grated cheese
              Tomato sauce recipe (see above)

3. Scrambled eggs
Use 1-2 eggs per person
In a bowl break the eggs.  Using one half of an egg shell, measure one serve of milk or half milk/half water per egg into the bowl.
Add salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of mixed herbs if you fancy it.
In a saucepan melt a teaspoon of butter or oil.
Pour in the egg mixture and stir it over the heat until it coagulates into the scramble.
Pour onto a slice of toast per person and enjoy.

4. Pasta
The best way to cook pasta is to follow the instructions on the side of the packet.  Different sorts of pasta will vary in cooking times.
Sprinkle with grated cheese, use the pasta sauce (above) or pesto sauce – there are endless variations/

5. Cheese toasties
Simple and nutritious, it is simply cheese on toast grilled to melt it.  You can vary it by sprinkling Worcestershire sauce on the toast first, putting sliced tomato under the cheese.  If you want to go exotic, try my special family Welsh Rarebit  recipe(welsh rarebit recipe).

Of course there are lots of other good student staples such as porridge and peanut butter but these are good to start with especially if you are one of those rare creatures that cannot stand anything coming out of a particular fast food manufacturer with golden arches and a Scottish sounding name.

By learning to cook basic meals you will eat far more nutritiously, save a fortune, stay healthy (especially if you add lots of fruit and veges) and have great fun with your friends as you learn to cook together then eat the results.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! As an addendum, scrambled eggs can be made in the microwave (saucepan = too much effort and washing up). Pop them in an open bowl, for about 1 min, break up with a fork and thereafter put back in for 30-sec intervals, breaking up with a fork each time until done!