A student’s guide to avoiding baked beans on toast
Moving away to college or university and learning to fend for yourself is a scary but exciting prospect! There’s a lot to take in – a new home, new friends and new skills – it’s easy to forget about cooking but using Love Food Hate Waste tips, advice and recipes you can make a good start in the kitchen and save your money for other things.
All students could do with some extra cash in their pocket so let’s get you started with super savvy kitchen tips so there’s always something tasty to eat, without having to spend a fortune and often for free.
Student halls and houses often have limited food storage space but stocking up on a few essentials will ensure you can rustle up a gourmet meal or quick snack without having to run to the shops! Make sure you have these essentials to hand:
- Rice – The perfect staple to serve with spicy dishes, or why not make filling egg fried rice or risotto (scroll down to the recipes on this page of short videos)? Simply throw in any leftover veg, meat or fish for a tasty tea.
- Pasta – Mix it with a sauce for a simple supper, or add some mayo, salad, ham or cheese for a cheap lunch!
- Couscous – could it get any easier? Simply pour on boiling water following the directions on the pack and serve in place of rice or as a meal in itself – try adding herbs and spices to add some flavour! Adding some chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sultanas and nuts will give this simple ingredient a Moroccan feel.
- Tinned tomatoes – an absolute necessity as the base in lots of sauces! To make a quick and easy bolognaise sauce, chop an onion and some garlic if you have it, lightly fry it in a frying pan with a little bit of oil or butter stirring regularly until soft, add some minced beef (or vegetarian equivalent) and stir until cooked, add a stock cube and a spoonful of herbs (dried or fresh) followed by one or two tins of tomatoes and a squirt of tomato puree (not essential) – turn onto a lower heat and simmer for 45 mins – 1 hr (stirring regularly). You can make a chilli the same way – just add chilli powder to taste (start with ½ teaspoon) instead of mixed herbs. Add chopped peppers and mushrooms to a bolognaise and a tin of baked beans or red kidney beans to a chilli near the end of cooking!
- Tinned sweetcorn – perfect mixed with tuna or in salads.
- Pesto – great stirred through pasta or couscous with some cheese on top.
- Tinned beans – beans on toast – a filling breakfast, lunch or dinner or serve on a jacket potato for a winter warmer! Red kidney beans can be added to chilli.
- Stock cubes – great for adding to soups, sauces or gravy to add flavour.
- Tomato puree – great added to tomato based sauces like bolognaise, or used as the base for a pizza.
- Tinned tuna – Quick and easy protein – salads, sandwiches or pasta bakes!
- Tortilla wraps – a great alternative to bread – why not spread with mayo, add cheese, ham and salad – roll ‘em up and away you go! Lunch at the ready! Alternatively – fajitas or enchiladas are easy to make for dinner!
- Soy sauce – great in stir fry with veg or chicken for an oriental feel.
- Sweet chilli sauce – perfect for a dipping sauce or added to stir fry or fajitas.
- Tomato ketchup/ Brown sauce – Apart from being the obvious accompaniment to chips,BBQ food and bacon sarnies, these sauces make a great base for fajitas – just add some herbs and spices, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce when you fry your meat and/ or veg!
- Herbs and spices such as dried mixed herbs, chilli powder, ground cumin, ground coriander and curry powder – all great for adding flavour to dishes and creating cheap, tasty meals at home.
- Onions and garlic – store them in a cool dark place, they give lots of flavour and are essential in lots of recipes.
- Ready-made pasta sauces – buy them on special offer and use when you don’t have time to make a sauce from scratch to give flavour to pasta, rice or cous cous.
- Salt and pepper
Share a meal … the cooking and the washing up!
If you live in shared accommodation, why not take it in turns to cook or make meals together? You can share the expense of food shopping as well as the washing up; and ensure that meals made with your store cupboard staples go further… dishes such as curry, Sunday roast and chilli are perfect for sharing! Try planning ahead as a group and making a shopping list together.
For recipe ideas check out the free recipe card downloads from Love Food Hate Waste.