Going away to university can be a daunting thing, making new friends adjusting to the university workload, and moving away from home. The last thing you need to be worrying about is cooking! It’s so important that you eat well and stay healthy, especially during your first year.
A few good meals can help you ward off the deadly ‘freshers’ flu‘ and can help you settle in by providing a routine. It will also save you money in the long run when you don’t need to fork out for takeaways every night (Dominos Two for Tuesday is an exception). If you’re a cooking novice, then I suggest you practice a couple of these dishes before you go to help adjusting to uni life that little bit easier. Here are three delicious dishes that if mastered will stick with you, not just through uni, but through life!
My personal favourite dish that I can make without even thinking now is Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s so easy and you don’t need that many ingredients.
- Spaghetti – Completely up to you how much you want!
- 2/3 rashers of bacon
- 150ml of single cream
- 1 egg
- Grated cheese (optional)
- Cook the spaghetti until soft, when cooked drain and return to the saucepan
- Fry the bacon
- Chop the bacon up into small pieces and add to the spaghetti
- Whisk the egg and the cream and add to the spaghetti and bacon
- Stir on a low heat until the sauce gets slightly thicker
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Serve with grated cheese on top if you wish.
A second dish that will reassure your mum that you’re eating properly, is homemade meatballs. When I first made these as a fresher last year, some of my flat mates were shocked, probably at the sight of a fresh vegetable no doubt! But it’s really basic, hearty food, and the meatballs can be prepped in advance and put in the freezer to take out at a later date.
- 250g beef mince meat
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tin of tomatoes
For the meatballs:
- Simply mix the minced meat, ½ of the chopped onion and ½ of the garlic together and roll into appropriately sized balls.
- Shallow fry in a frying pan until the balls are cooked all the way around the outside.
For the sauce:
- Fry the remaining onion and garlic in olive oil until the onions go see through.
- Add the tinned tomato and slowly bring to the boil
- Leave to simmer and add the meat balls to cook them further
- Boil the spaghetti and when it is cooked serve in a bowl with the sauce and meatballs placed on top.
The final meal I will talk you through is a pasta bake, specifically a tuna pasta bake, but this recipe is good because it can be adapted, you could change it to a sausage, or a chicken pasta bake if that’s what you have got in the fridge. Also the sauce can be used for a lasagne, mac and cheese, fish pie, and loads of other delicious, baked and creamy dishes.
90g cheddar cheese (grated)
100g tinned tuna
100g tinned sweetcorn
- Heat the oven to 180°C
- Boil the pasta until soft
For the sauce:
- Melt the butter in a saucepan
- Stir in the flour until it has all been absorbed and has come together in a doughy ball.
- Gradually stir in the milk a bit at a time until it has all been absorbed and made a thick sauce.
- Stir in the cheese leaving a bit to sprinkle on the top of the bake before it goes into the oven.
- Stir together the pasta, white sauce, as well as the tuna and sweetcorn.
- Put into a baking dish – Make sure it is oven proof!
- Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top of the bake and cook for 15 mins or until the cheese on top has gone golden brown.
If you practice and master these three simple, but versatile dishes before you get to uni, you will never have to worry about what you will be able to cook for dinner, and you will never go hungry!