Now that I’ve survived my first year of uni, I thought I might as well share some tips on the kind of food essentials that I’ve found really useful. Some are really obvious, and some not so much. There might also be a few recipes (could you even call them that?) for stir fry and pasta sauces.
1. Rice, pasta and noodles
These three things are literally your life savers at uni. I normally switch between these three ingredients for the basis of most of my meals. They’re really easy to cook and are very quick (except the rice, but it’s worth it anyway, especially if you love chinese food as much as I do).
2. Soy sauce, white rice vinegar, honey and sugar
From these three ingredients you can make two really simple stir fry sauces!
The first one is a kind of teriyaki sauce where you mix soy sauce with honey in a bowl and add raw meat e.g. beef or chicken to marinade before putting in the frying pan to cook! Normally I use 2-3 spoons of soy sauce and 1 spoon of honey to make a meal for one, but it depends how much sauce you like.
The second one is for sweet and sour which involves mixing 2-3 spoons of white rice vinegar with sugar in a bowl and mixing it together. You add this to the stir fry when it is complete, as well as adding 2-3 spoons of soy sauce.
These are honestly lifesavers when you run out of sauce because they keep in your cupboards for ages so they’re always there.
Of course, you would buy ketchup for the obvious reasons, however have you tried ketchup as a pasta sauce? Honestly, I know, it sounds disgusting, but it’s soo good and again is really helpful if you run out of proper sauces!
Even if you’re not a huge tea fan, take some to uni. There’s bound to be a time when you’re so exhausted you need caffeine, even if you only have one every so often.
Buying actual juice is expensive and weighs a ton to carry back from the shop so squash is a perfect alternative!
6. Freezer Food
Even though living off freezer food is not the healthiest way to live, it is inevitable there will be some days when you’re hungover or have no energy to cook and need something as easy to cook as some chicken nuggets and wedges shoved into an oven. I always buy frozen food as back up and it’s really useful! Especially frozen peas. You can just shove them into pasta and that’s your veg sorted.
7. Tea Towels and more tea towels
This one technically isn’t food but you definitely need it as part of the washing up process. And don’t just bring one, because they get dirty pretty quickly, and people will steal yours and use it. Which is totally fine. Unless they get pasta sauce all over it.
I feel like this is one of the most obvious ones ever but it’s always good to have cereal. I know some people have cereal at any hour of the day so you could probably have it as a replacement dinner if you have nothing else, but I personally just like to have it for breakfast and it’s really cheap!
Some meals can get a bit bland and boring after a while, so herbs are always a great way to spice things up a bit. On pizzas, I always use oregano. In pasta, basil or thyme are really delicious! And potatoes are so good with rosemary.
10. Philadelphia Cheese
I never knew I would love philadelphia cheese as much as I did after finishing my first year of uni. It’s such a great sauce for pasta that you can just throw in, with frankfurters and peas (and mint, if you’re feeling extra). It’s also great on top of oven cooked chicken with cheese and breadcrumbs (as I recently found out). Next year I’m going to try a recipe for chicken korma using it!
I feel like every few months, I find out more and more ways of cooking and finding recipes I enjoy, but here are my tips for now! I hope they are useful somehow, and I wish everyone heading off to uni tons of luck!