Five student food hacks for uni-goers who wish they’d listened to their parents
Unless your dad happens to be Gordon Ramsay, you probably don’t remember much from ‘Food Tech’ at school (maybe that flour fight you had with your mates – well worth the detention!)
What actually sticks with us is algebra and good ol’ trigonometry and tbh we’ve never used them since. No beef though, we know there are loads of scientists and engineers living their best lives with everyday equations – we’re just baffled that you can leave school knowing how to ‘find angle x’ on an isosceles triangle but not knowing run-of-the-mill cooking hacks.
That’s why we’ve put together this student food checklist, to help you survive in the kitchen at uni. Keep reading our handy student guide and find out how to cook rice, chicken and more.
We teamed up with some of our favourite foodie bloggers to save your bacon (literally! Kind of.) #YouGotThis!
Get cracking in the kitchen with Nine Grand Student
Okay so, there may be around 101 different ways to cook eggs, but Chloe-Ellen has you covered when it comes to eggcellent recipes to impress your flatmates (it’s really hard to resist these egg puns).
How to boil eggs
- Pour a half an inch of water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil
- Then, pop in your egg and place the lid on the pan
- Cook a room temperature egg for 6 minutes (add on another 30 seconds if it’s been in the fridge). Change your timings slightly if you have eggs that aren’t medium-sized.
- Remove the egg and run briefly under a cold tap to stop the cooking. Simply slice off the top and get dunking your soldiers!
How to make poached eggs
- Bring a small pan of water to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Meanwhile, line a small ramekin with cling film, and smear with a little oil. Add some seasoning or chili flakes if you like your eggs with a spicy twist
- Crack in an egg and seal the cling film by twisting two ends together and folding over the middle of the egg
- Lower into the simmering water, then cook for 3-4 minutes (go for the lower end of this if you want a just-cooked egg with runny goodness)
- Lift out the dish and gently remove from the film. Serve your poached egg on anything you like – avocado on toast is definitely an Instagram favourite – make sure you capture that #yolkporn…
How to scramble eggs
- Simply melt a knob of butter in a small pan until it starts bubbling
- Meanwhile, crack two eggs (or however many, depending on how hungry you are) into a bowl and lightly whisk together, along with 1-2 tbsp. milk and some seasoning
- Swirl the butter around the pan to coat the base, then tip in the eggs. Immediately turn down the heat to low
- Using a rubber spatula or a fork, carefully stir the eggs every ten seconds. Continue cooking until they’re set to your liking and enjoy on some buttery toast with a brew in hand. Absolute food goals!
Say pasta la vista to boring meals with Rouge by June Konrad
June from Rouge has blessed us all with her taste-bud-tingling recipe that’ll teach you how to cook pasta before you can say “mom’s spaghetti!” Her delicious pasta sauce is always a winner, and it’s simple and cheap too – bonus!
- 250g fresh or dried pasta
- 1,400g can of chopped tomatoes
- A splash of vegetable oil
- Garlic powder or 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- Seasoning (i.e. salt and pepper, mixed dried herbs, basil)
- Fill a pan with enough water to cover the pasta and bring to the boil
- Simmer the pasta for around 8-12 minutes depending on what pasta you’re using (check the pack instructions for these deets)
- Too many of your flatmates using the hob? Cook the pasta in the microwave! Place the pasta in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with water before microwaving at high heat for 15 minutes (or 4 minutes longer than the packet’s hob instructions)
- Next, make your sauce. Place the oil and garlic into a pan and cook for a minute before adding the rest of the ingredients – make sure to crumble in the stock cube to make sure it all dissolves
- Bring to the boil, and then simmer for five minutes, stirring every so often – cook for longer if you want to make your sauce thicker
- Drain your pasta and serve on a plate, not forgetting to pour your mouth-watering sauce on top!
Get clucking with Campus Living Villages
Chicken is Britain’s fave meat for a reason; it can be grilled, poached, baked, roasted, fried, casseroled, stir-fried – the list goes on! Its versatility makes it ideal for tasty and quick meals. People might feel daunted by the dreaded s-word (salmonella), but once you know how to cook chicken, you’ll never go back to worrying!
We’ve definitely cracked the code when it comes to cooking the perfect pan-fried chicken breast.
- 2 chicken breast fillets (with or without the skin)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- First, rub the chicken with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper (or whatever seasoning you fancy) on top
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized pan over a medium heat, then place in the chicken breasts and cook for between 8-12 minutes (if they have the skin on, put them skin-side down and let them crisp up for a couple mins)
- Turn the chicken over occasionally to make sure it browns evenly. When the meat is no longer pink on the inside and the juices run clear, it’s ready!
- Make sure to rest your chicken for 5 minutes before serving so it’s extra juicy
Your five (hacks) a day from Budget Bytes
Beth’s cooking hack is to become besties with frozen veggies. We get it, not everyone likes to eat their greens, but we all need our five-a-day and buying them frozen means they last ages and are always there if you need a quick meal.
Work vegetables into your diet with ease; they’re already pre-washed and chopped, meaning they’re ideal to add to any soup, stew, pasta, casserole, or even pizza – you’ll hardly need to lift a finger.
How to cook frozen vegetables
- Microwave – the microwave saves the day yet again! Steam your veggies straight from frozen by placing them into a microwave-safe dish and adding a few tablespoons of water, before microwaving for around five minutes (feel free to experiment with timings if you prefer soft n’ tender or crunchier veg).
- Sauté – it may sound fancy, but sautéing frozen vegetables is easy peasy. Simply combine your favourite greens with a few teaspoons of olive oil or butter in a pan and cook on a medium-high heat for a few minutes. Go crazy with whatever you’ve got on your spice rack; from crushed garlic and simple seasoning to chili flakes with honey and lemon juice, you can enjoy a taste sensation!
- Throw ‘em in – the easiest method of them all is to just add your frozen veg straight into your favourite casserole or stew. For bigger and bulkier vegetables, thaw them first by running the packet under cold water until defrosted – as long as you cook them for around 20 minutes, they’ll be perfectly tender when you hear the heavenly sound of the kitchen timer!
As Beth says, “frozen veg is a godsend for busy people!” and we know that “busy” is an understatement when you’re at uni.
Avoid a sticky (rice) situation with Campus Living Villages
Say goodbye to sticky, undercooked and dry or overcooked rice, and hello to fluffy clouds of goodness! Learn how to cook rice like a pro with our easy method for cooking our favourite carbs.
- For every cup of rice you want to use, add 1 ¾ cups of water to a large saucepan with a lid and bring to the boil on a medium heat
- Add your rice into the boiling water and season with a generous sprinkling of sea salt
- Stir the rice once to make sure it’s all separated – do not over-stir my friend, this is when rice can become sticky
- Cover the pot and simmer the rice on a low heat for around 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to steam in the pot for another five minutes
- Fluff up the rice gently with a fork and serve with your favourite curry, chili or stir-fry
We hope our cheap and tasty student food hacks help you on your way to being the best chef in your block (you never know!) Who says students live off Pot Noodles and beans? Not us!
Take me back to the #YouGotThis hub.