Meal Ideas for Uni

Hi guys and gals as we get closer to the start of another year, It got me thinking about what new stuff I want to try/cook while away from home, which also made me think about some of the main things I cook at the moment. I decided to make this blog just in case it gives anyone unsure of what to cook while on their own some inspiration.

Chicken and Noodles

At uni sometimes meals just need to be cheap and nutritious without being overly elaborate and this is one of my go to favourites. Cook off some chicken breast, I usually buy large frozen bags since they are more cost friendly, when the chicken is nearly done, boil and simmer some egg fried noodles, dice the cooked chicken and add back into the saucepan used to boil the now drained noodles. Then finally you want to add a stir fry sauce sachet, you can get these in most food shops, recommended flavours include: Hoisin and Garlic and Sweet Chilli. The sachets usually say serves 2 but I find one sachet per person is more generous and your done. Simple and full of nutritional value.

All Day Breakfast Wrap

This one has been my go two plenty of times, more comfort food than healthy meal but sometimes you need that come mid January, fry or grill off your breakfast items of choice. I usually go with bacon sausage and fried eggs (I eat a lot) Then add it all into a wrap, you can also add some grated cheese for extra taste.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Sometimes looks complicated but is actually pretty simple. Add mince to a saucepan and cook till browned, then I would usually just add a jar of bolognese sauce, Dolmio is always a good bet to add to the mince and simmer for however long the jar says. While it’s simmering boil some pasta of your choice, drain and add to the mince and sauce, simple. If your a bit more adventurous I usually fry off onions and mushrooms and mix them in to the bolognese at the end. You can also make extra extra bolognese and chuck it in the fridge, then next day just microwave it off and all you have to cook is pasta.

So there’s a few of the things I would make when i’m at uni. You’ve probably heard the whole ‘living off pot noodles’ thing but honestly if you want proper meals there easy to make, trust me. Thanks for reading!

Jordan

Healthy meal ideas as a vegetarian student!

Hi everyone, hope you’re well and have had a good week!

Today’s blog is going to be the first in a little series of blogs, which will revolve around healthy eating and meal ideas when on a budget and maybe a slightly lazy student! For this months blogs, I will be sharing recipes and tips for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This first blog will be talking about store cupboard essentials as a student and a bit about my personal list!

I have been vegetarian, on and off for around 3 years now, with a very short lived attempt at veganism ( didn’t last as I missed cheese too much 😉 ) and I love it. I know it’s not for everyone, but personally I love healthy eating and vegetables and found that I felt better when actually taking time to think about what I am eating and that’s how my enjoyment for cooking began! As a student, I have loved having the freedom to buy and cook whatever I want, especially broccoli and cheese for pretty much every meal! But there is always the problem of budgeting and using your money wisely when cooking for yourself. My biggest tip for this is having store cupboard essentials in, either when my parents would take me for a food shop when coming to visit or when going home during the holidays. Personally my store cupboard essentials that have a great shelf life include:
– Tinned Tomatoes, baked beans, kidney beans and chickpeas for veggie chilli, pasta sauce, curry and casseroles or whatever you fancy- you can get really inventive with a tin of chickpeas with a bit of imagination! Oh and beans on toast or with a jacket potato- obviously ( a classic student meal!).
– Dried carbohydrates, so pasta, rice, tinned potatoes and noodles- literally the back bone to most student meals, add some veg and you’re good to go.
– Jars of curry powder, dried chillies, mixed herbs, salt, sugar, pepper and all-spice. can really making a boring meal interesting! As well as cooking oil, a definite essential.
– Porridge oats, tea, coffee and cereal. Oh and biscuits, definitely- my personal favourites have to be Aldi’s own dark chocolate digestives- 49p a pack! I know.  I honestly don’t feel like there’s anything that can’t be fixed with a digestive biscuit and a coffee, especially when the biscuit costs less that a penny!
Having these bits in are brilliant for making a meal when you feel like you don’t have anything in and are hiding at the back of your cupboard! In the next blog I will touch on my fridge and freezer essentials as a student as well as giving you a few of my favourite breakfast ideas!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog, please comment if you have any questions!
Alice 🙂

How to cook: student edition

Hey all, hope you’re enjoying the lovely weather this week (if it’s lovely by you, if not, I’ll happily swap for cooler weather haha!).

I’ve mentioned it in a past blog post, but when I moved into my accommodation on campus I had next to no cooking experience. I had done scout cooking competitions (with the aid of responsibility adults…) and knew how to make things like pancakes, egg bread and the good old student diet staple: pasta. But other than that, my parents are both great cooks and I never really cooked anything substantial.

Now, I know this isn’t the case for everyone, I have a friend who’s done cooking courses and people who would cook things from as scratch as you can get, but I’m sure a few of you reading will be in a similar boat. And in which case, I wanted to make this post to give you some tips and tricks I learnt to help me feed myself.

The first thing I would say is that yes, although you shouldn’t be living off ready meals, to begin with it helps to have days where you eat premade things and days where you try something, cause if you force yourself to cook 7 days a week to begin with the likelihood is that you’ll get fed up and just go back to not cooking at all. Also, start with small things. Google recipes for things such as spaghetti bolognese, try making an omelette or something with only a couple of ingredients- if you start off by choosing a 15 ingredient recipe you’ll get caught up in a lot of confusing multitasking and that’s how things get burnt and you forget to check on certain things.

Another great thing I used to make substantial healthy meals but get a little extra help is food kits. You’ll know what I mean if I mention the company Old El Paso. They’re a personal favourite of mine at least. They provide the seasoning and the minor ingredients and you get the fresh ingredients, and following the instructions on the box you can make really lovely meals! It’s the simplest thing on the food market.

One thing I will say to you is that regardless of how often you cook, and if you make your own meals or just don’t feel comfortable cooking, please remember to keep your diet balanced at least! I sound like a mother scolding a child for not eating their veg when I say this, but you need your greens and a healthy amount of carbs and protein to stay healthy, and overall, happy. Not to mention functional for your classes!

And another thing I will say is, you’ll be ok! I know a lot of people worry about having full responsibilty of cooking, but you’ll figure things out with some practise, and I’m sure your flatmates will always be happy to help! Or you could cook meals together!

Looking After Yourself at Uni

University tends to be where most people learn to become independent and start fending for themselves. However, this can be a shock to the system for some people and prove to be incredibly difficult. It is very important to keep yourself healthy and happy, especially at university as poor health can affect your participation and performance, so I’ve compiled a few tips that will hopefully help you look after yourself.

Register with a GP

Whether you are a relatively healthy person or have an on-going illness, it is important to register with a local GP when you start uni. This way you don’t have to keep going home whenever something happens and you can have all your prescriptions where they need to be. Information about registering with Edge Hill’s local surgery – Beacon Primary Care – can be found here. The health and wellbeing centre also offer a lot of health support, including mental and sexual health, this information can also be found on the health section of the Edge Hill website.

Seek emotional support when needed

Following on from the health side of things, it is also important to seek emotional support when you need it. University can be very stressful at times and being away from home doesn’t always help. Always make sure you have someone to talk to whether that’s a friend, family member or a counselling program. Edge Hill also offer a range of workshops, relaxation sessions, support group and one-to-one counselling if you’re struggling with personal problems, or any aspect of uni life. Further information can be found here.

Cook proper meals

Moving to uni means that you will have to cook for yourself. Come on, we all know take aways are not a sustainable way to live, as yummy as they are. If you’re nervous about what to cook why not get together with your friends and take it in turns to cook for each other? I did this with a friend throughout first year and I picked up so many new recipes that have now become the things I eat on a regular basis. It’s important to keep a balanced diet for physical health, as well as concentration reasons, Rhiannon Thomas has recently written a great blog post on this subject and I urge you to check it out. 

Keep things clean

Cleaning is, unfortunately another essential part of looking after yourself. Keeping your room tidy and dust-free can have so many health benefits from reducing allergic reactions to making you feel cleaner and happier. Leaving your bathroom to stew in its own filth for a month is not only disgusting but detrimental to your health. I recommend putting aside a couple of hours a week to do a full clean of the areas of your flat you’re responsible for, it won’t take all day and it will leave you feeling happier and more productive.

Until next time! 🙂

Things I wish I knew before university

Here is a list compiled by some of my nearest and dearest friends of things that they wished they knew before starting university:

  1. Do not worry about making friends! You’ll find a group to slot into and you will wonder why you ever let it worry you!
  2. Don’t leave all the referencing to the end of the essay – you’re going to hate yourself for it at the end.
  3. Everyone has different backgrounds when coming to university – you have to respect that, even if they put the milk in before the teabag. 
  4. How to budget! So many students say they wished they had more experience of budgeting before coming to university. Check out this post or this post about budgeting. Why not ask whoever does the shopping if you can be given the responsibility a couple of times before you come, to try it out for yourself?
  5. It’s okay to feel lonely or homesick sometimes – it doesn’t mean you’re not ‘making the most’ of your university life. It happens, and it is a normal feeling. In this case, I’d always suggest contacting friends from university to speak with first; they’re likely to be a 10 minute walk away for you to go and have a cuppa, but obviously stay in contact with home friends too.
  6. You may become distant with your friends from home, and that is okay too. You have whole new different experiences now, especially if you’re doing different courses. For me, it was important that I stayed in contact with those people, and made sure to do so with the people that were interested in staying in contact with me.
  7. Lecturers and tutors don’t chase you up for that piece of work you haven’t submitted, or that book you’ve read about, as much as your high school and college teachers insist that they do. You’re gonna have to motivate yourselves, guys.
  8. How to cook! Similar to budgeting, my recommendation would be to practise cooking some easy meals before you start at uni, particularly things that you know you’re going to be able to afford to cook. Alternatively, make friends with people who really enjoy cooking…

So there are 8 of the (many) things that my friends and I wished we knew before university. Don’t worry – we’ll keep you informed of anything else we really wished we knew.

What to Cook?

Hello everyone! I hope you have all had an amazing Christmas break doing what ever you’ve been doing with family and friends! Battling the sales discounts! Consuming all the discounted chocolate with your hearts content. With the holiday season coming to a close I hope you have all received much fun and love over the break. Never the less; If, like myself all you have gained over the break is weight, I have come up with some simple and easy meals you can make.


Spaghetti Bolognese

Speaking from experience, this meal is something quick and easy to prepare. Try something new for a change! What I really enjoy doing is putting my headphones in, listening to music and cooking in my own little world. Just remember to keep an eye out for the food burning. Also, speaking from experience the smoke alarm is very sensitive. There is nothing worse than trying to find shoes and a coat whilst it’s pouring rain or gale force winds and you have to walk to your safety point. Avoid setting the smoke alarm off at all cost. It is officially the walk of shame!


chicken stir fry

This meal works hand in hand with the massive wok you brought with you to uni. If you don’t have one id personally drop everything you have planned and make it your number one priority. They are worth every penny. £21.00


Tomato and Basil Soup

It’s also a good idea to know how to make a nice soup when you’re at university. With freshers being a big part of the first week experience, freshers flu creeps up on you rather quick. To counter act those awful couple of days, theres nothing better than a home made soup to make you feel that little less like death.


instantnoodlesThe last meal I could suggest from my food arsenal would have to be the one and only, flavoursome, reasonably priced instant noodles. There will come a time where the end of the month is too far aw
ay and the next student loan seems like only a forgotten dream! You will be either in the library or working on that assignment and have very little time to make the exciting meals above and so the only logical meal to make is… Instant noodles. I strongly believe instant noodles or insta for short are the meaning of university! For 15 pence a packet and noodles that cook in 2 minutes f
lat, who could turn down such an offer?

Cooking…

So, when it comes to cooking in university it’s a whole new experience. Before you leave home you have thousand of ideas when it comes to meals, however the sad reality is that you will be living off of ready meals and toast until you find the courage and effort to cook the ideas.

I found that simple and quick meals were the best route. Often after long days at uni and countless hours studying, you just want something quick, such as a pizza, that will be ready within 12 minutes. However, if you spend just a little more time making a proper meal you’ll find it to be not only more healthy, but often more filling than the pizza.

Suggestions:

  1. Fresh pasta and sauce.
  2. Jacket potato (11 minutes in microwave and a further 5-10 in the oven to crisp) with beans, salad or anything that suits.
  3. Stir fry.
  4. Homemade curry or lasagne.
  5. Soup.

To be honest, you’re grasping your first taste of independence and before you know it you will be the next Gordon Ramsey. Good luck and get cooking!

Until next time…

Healthy Eating at University

I’d like to start this blog by congratulating you all on passing your A-levels and getting into Edge Hill University. You will honestly love it at Edge Hill and it will get to the point where it’s like a home to you (I know I consider it a very special to place to me, even now I’ve graduated).

Anyway onto the topic of this week’s blog: healthy eating. I’ve started dieting recently to help me trim my figure down a bit and reduce the risk that I’ll get weight related issues in the future. It’s always important to have a balanced diet but that can become a challenge when you’re spending most of your time studying (as well as having some fun of course!). By far the best way to ensure you have a balanced diet whilst at university is to cook for yourself, and the majority of student accommodation (on and off campus) is self catered. Which means you can rustle up some healthy, and tasty dishes fairly cheaply (Aldi and Netto in Ormskirk are both reasonably priced for food). However, if you’re a bit of a beginner when it comes to cooking for yourself there’s still time to learn and there’s plenty of student cook books out there with recipes in to try (I’ve also addressed the topic of being a self catered student here)

Some halls on campus though are on a catered package which means the excellent catering staff at EHU will make your meals for you and all you have to do is decide on what you want, where from and pay for it with your uni card (this will be issued to you on welcome sunday when you enrol). The good thing about eating on campus is the on campus eateries like Sages (in the hub) display nutritional information on the dishes they serve and there’s always a veggie option for those vegetarians amongst you.

I hope you’ve found this entry helpful when it comes to having a balanced diet whilst at university and if you have anything you wish to ask me then please do not hesitate to drop me a comment.

Move over Gordon Ramsay! Joke, we need help?!

Cooking in uni, well, where do I begin?

During freshers week you’ll be loving the freedom, meeting new people and eating what you want when you want. For most, cooking will be a new experience. For me, I was worried that I wouldn’t be ready, but after a few hours with my flatmates it became apparent that I had the most cooking knowledge (I was just as shocked as my mum when I told her).

Simple things like how to work the oven and to actually read the packet for temperatures and times seemed like common-sense to me, but I live with people who go for the stick it in and guess approach. How no one has suffered from food poisoning I’ll never know! At the beginning of the year I was adventurous, making lasagnes, trying my mums recipes and buying loads of ingredients. I wish I could be like that again, less money and healthier. Towards the end of the year it was more about having quick meals or anything to line the stomach for a night out. Ready meals, tinned soup and pot-noodles became popular favourites because they were easy to clean up and quick.

We tried flat meals, but apart from my lasagne, I couldn’t take more than a spoonful of someone’s food (sorry guys, but it’s the truth).

So yeah, learn how to do simple things like boil an egg and cook pasta. Get used to eating tinned food (beans, soup, anything Heinz), but most importantly learn to appreciate your family’s cooking before you come. After Christmas break, you’ll get what I mean!

Until next time…:)

Cooking as a Student

Students have this bad reputation of being terrible cooks and living off tins of beans. Whilst I love beans and ready meals as much as the next person, I’d also consider myself as a student who loves to cook. The stereotype of students living off beans comes from two places: Firstly, beans are quick/easy and students are busy/lazy and secondly because beans are cheap and students have to learn to live economically. I always try to find time to cook and also consider myself a bit of a bargain hunter. I also often cook with other people to keep costs down. Below are my meals over the past few days:

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese 

Foodblog- 1

Pretty quick to cook once you’ve got the hang of it. I also always cook a few portions, so that I don’t have to cook for the next few days!

Veggie Korma and Homemade Naan Bread

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My first attempt at making naan! This took quite a while, but was really nice and there was leftovers for the next night.

Pizza

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I really enjoy making pizza and it’s a quick (although not particularly healthy) option.

Kale Chips

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Kale chips are my new favourite healthy snack! I simply cut up kale, put it on a tray, brush it with oil and then season with salt, paprika and chili. Then I stick it in the oven for seven minutes and it’s perfect and crispy!

Oreo Cheesecake 

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After deciding that the amount that I spend on cheesecake was just too high I thought that I better take matters into my own hands. Cue lots of oreo-eating. I did eventually make this though, and it couldn’t have turned out better.

So, who said that students don’t cook?