Get Cooking and eat well

LIVING away from home means that your parents will no longer be providing you with tasty meals every night so you will need to cook for yourself.

 

Students have long had a reputation for living on just Pot Noodles and beans on toast.

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. No, we don’t mean ordering in takeaways or eating out at restaurants, we mean learning to cook healthy meals which will work out cheaper and better for you in the long run.

 

This is something you can do while you’re still living at home so you’re ready to fend for yourself.

 

When you get to university, make sure to stock up on basics such as pasta, rice, chopped tomatoes, tuna, flour and sugar.

 

Knowing you have these in the cupboard will make rustling something up each evening much easier and make a takeaway less tempting.

 

Don’t be afraid to go for value brands as these can be just as good and all they might need is extra seasoning.

 

It’s worth working out which sorts of spices and herbs you actually like as well, as you can add these to bring more flavour to your dish.

 

To start with, get the hang of a few basic meals and leave the complicated stuff until you’ve gained more confidence.

 

There are many websites and cookery books out there specifically aimed at students learning to cook for the first time. Even top chefs like Jamie Oliver have tailor-made recipes for school-leavers.

 

Ask your parents for the recipes to some of your favourite family meals – you can even have a go at making these before you leave home. They will also be happy to teach you some basic skills, from how to boil an egg and cook rice, to how to make an omelette.

 

Learn how to make a basic tomato sauce which you can then turn into a number of different dishes such as chilli con carne and chicken stew. You can simply add whatever meat and vegetables you fancy to the sauce and serve it up with pasta, rice, potatoes or couscous depending on what you’re in the mood for.

 

One-pot meals are also good because they tend to be cheaper, can be frozen and don’t involve a lot of washing up. You can cook together meat and your favourite vegetables, or just the veggies and make a great-tasting dish.

 

Cooking with friends and flatmates is a really good way to improve your skills in the kitchen. You can share your own family recipes or adapt them depending on each other’s different tastes.

 

When planning meals, make sure you check sell-by dates and don’t buy more than you can use when it comes to foods with a limited shelf life. And remember, the more you cook, the better you’ll be at it. 

 

Paella

 

Cut up a portion of raw chicken and coat with paprika. Cook inapan until brown. Cut up a ring of chorizo and pop it in when the chicken is almost cooked and add your choice of vegetables.

 

Once the chicken is completely cooked, add paella, rice (risotto rice is also fine) and fry on low heat with the chicken, chorizo, and vegetables for around three minutes.

 

While your rice is frying, make 1 litre of chicken stock (500ml per person). Add this to the pan after three minutes and leave the whole pan on a medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Once the stock is mostly gone, the paella is ready to serve!

 

Pork Tagliatelle

 

Cook four bundles of tagliatelle in boiling water. Add oil to a pan and fry a portion of stir fry pork.

 

Once the pork is cooked, add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan. Also, add four tablespoons of lemon juice and two tablespoons of honey.

 

Let this bubble while spooning the juices over the pork.

 

Add cooked tagliatelle to mix with the sauce, and then it’s ready to serve!

 

Orange Chicken

 

Cook it a few times and figure out how much sauce you like, then adjust the ingredients accordingly.

 

Add water to a saucepan of rice and allow to cook in the background.

 

Add oil to a pan and fry chicken. While your chicken is cooking, make around 150ml of chicken stock. Once the chicken is cooked, add two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 150ml of orange juice and 150ml of chicken stock.

 

Let this bubble while spooning the juices over the chicken.

 

Turn the heat down and add one more tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of brown sugar, andastick of butter. Simmer for a few minutes and then serve over rice!

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