PSA fresheners and second year that was in Pollock: There is more to student cooking than noodles and beans on toast
For most of us, this is the first time we have to cook for ourselves. It can seem scary – after all, you’re just moved to a new city and are adjusting to college life. So eating well is probably the last thing on your mind.
But it’s easier than you think to make fast, cheap and healthy food that will be much more delicious than any ready meals.
I’m a student who makes and shares recipes on my Instagram page @sophies_slice, where I share some of my tips for making students’ cooking a breeze.
These are my top five tips for making quick, inexpensive, and tasty dinners as a student.
All recipes can be found here.
Taste bomb ingredients
These flavor-packed ingredients are great for upgrading a boring dinner and adding instant flavor to save you time.
One or two of these may require a trip to Waitrose in Morningside or M&S on Princes Street, but you use them in such small quantities that they take up a lot of space for just a few extra pennies per day. portion.
Here are some of my favorites – and how to use them:
- Sun-dried tomatoes – just fry garlic and dried basil. Then turn with sun-dried tomatoes, cooked pasta and a little pasta water for a delicious 10 minute dinner.
- Miso Paste – might seem a little extra and fancy, but believe me. Add a little to pasta sauces, soups or stews for the perfect salty, spicy touch.
- Harissa Paste – packed with spices, herbs and so much flavor. Here all the work is done for you. Simply stir rice through with some frozen vegetables and canned chickpeas for a healthy, quick vegan meal.
Visit Edinburgh’s grocery stores
Edinburgh is packed with independent grocery stores, and while some are overpriced and smart, many are much cheaper than the average chain supermarket. Especially when buying international food.
These are a few of my favorites:
- Starlight Chinese Supermarket on Clerk Street: stock up on soy sauce, rice, noodles, frozen dumplings and more. Most items are in large packages, so I recommend that you buy with flat mates and split the cost up.
- Maqbool’s Supermarket opposite Appleton Tower: a Middle Eastern supermarket that is super cheap. This place has a great selection of items. My favorites are the dried fruits and nuts and the amazing flatbreads.
- New Leaf Coop in Marchmont: I was put off by this place by the front half, which is full of overly expensive organic goods. But go through to the back half for a great refill. Bring your own Tupperware and fill up with dried items like pasta, flour, sugar and rice for almost nothing. It also has a huge selection of spices that cost a fraction of the supermarkets. They also offer student discounts.
Double up on rice
Fried rice is the ultimate comfort food, but it needs day-old rice to make it. So every time I cook rice for curry or chili, I always cook a double serving. Store the excess in the fridge and the next day you can make fried rice for dinner in less than 10 minutes.
Just throw the protein / vegetables you have in the fridge to make a delicious meal. It also helps keep the temptation away from ordering a Chinese and is an easy way to use leftovers.
Love your freezer
Freezing space in student apartments and halls is often short, but I like to save some space for frozen vegetables. These are quick cooking so they can be thrown into meals at the last minute to add some much needed nutrients to the students ’diet. I also love frozen berries because they do not fall off and are so much cheaper than fresh fruit.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are very difficult to portion when you are just cooking for yourself, so frozen is a great way to save money and reduce waste. The frozen bags of chili, garlic, ginger and onion are amazing because they are so much easier to store and portion for one person than to buy fresh.
Embrace the cans
There is more to preserves than baged beans and tuna. Canned foods are great for students because they are often pre-cooked so super easy for new chefs, last forever and are easy on the budget.
Mix some canned tomatoes with fried garlic / onion, mixed herbs and a pinch of sugar for a cheap, delicious and healthy pasta sauce. Add lentils to fill a bolognese or chickpeas to fill a curry. Make a delicious chili with black beans and kidney beans for a cheap flat dinner to impress.
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