Tips for easy student cooking

There will come a point in your time at university where you are, quite simply, broke. You’ll have taken your bag of pennies to the bank – and come back miserable and disheartened because that pile of coppers that you’ve been collecting for months didn’t even amount to enough for a Your Shop meal deal.

Either that or who have no idea what you’re doing in the kitchen. Forget the bedroom – this is where the skills lie to getting yourself through university.

Below are a few starter tips to getting you through your first year. Let us know how you get on @York Vision.


Onions are gods gift to the lazy cook. If you’re making pasta just slice an onion as thinly as you can and put it in a pan with some oil for a few minutes. Add the sauce, let it simmer for a bit and your homemade-like sauce is ready to eat! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can caramelise them by adding some sugar when they’re golden and use them as toppings or sides to pretty much anything.


This is probably the shortest way to a healthy and filling meal. Chop up some vegetables, or just take some frozen peas/corn and throw them to a pan. Let them cook until they’re soft and pour in the egg mixture. To make this just whisk 2 eggs, some milk, some salt and some pepper. For more flavour you can add cheese -any type of it. Let the omelette solidify and turn it over. If you are not dexterous enough to do this, just pop it in the (preheated) oven for 5 minutes. Or just call your final result scrambled eggs. For some extra protein, add any type of diced or sliced meat to the vegetables.


Flour, milk and eggs. That’s all you need to make the batter. For American-style pancakes, just increase the amount of flour and eggs and add some baking soda. Make sure your pan is hot and oiled when cooking. You can store the batter in the fridge for up to 2 days, and use it for all meals; chocolate and strawberries for breakfast, cheese, vegetables and meat for lunch and dinner.


Fresh meat is somewhat expensive, but take advantage of the offers around supermarkets to buy it in bulk and store it in the freezer. Defrost it in the microwave, or leave it on the counter when you head out to lectures. Use medium-high heat in a pan. Make sure you season them well with salt, pepper and spices of your choice. You can go for one of the mixes designed for meat, or just find your favourite herb. I prefer oregano and rosemary. I cannot stress this enough; seasoning is the secret to any delicious grilled meat.


Low-fat yoghurt has the most protein, least calories and fat than all of its dairy relatives. Have it as a snack or breakfast with any combination of fruit, cereal, nuts or honey. Use it to thicken sauces, or mix it with some condiments for a lighter dip to your chips.


Whether boiled or sauteed, vegetables are super-easy to prepare. Carrots and tomatoes will add flavour to your soups and sauces. Mushrooms and peppers once sauteed will enhance your boring rice. Or you can just add some peas or corn while it’s cooking. You can slice any vegetable and add some salt and pepper to snack on.

Canned fish

This may not sound delicious but it can be, and will provide you with much-needed protein and good fats. Add some lemon, mayonnaise and onions to some tuna for an easy lunch. Or, you can just throw it in your pasta.


For those of us with a serious case of the sweet-tooth, desserts are tricky. Find a simple recipe for cookies and make it in big quantities. Substitute caster sugar with some brown sugar and add a couple tablespoons of cornflour for extra chewiness. Use any type of chocolate you want, and give M&Ms and walnuts a go. Once you’ve made it, roll it up in cylinders, wrap it in tin foil or cling film and toss it in the freezer. Every time you want cookies just take the dough out, cut it in slices and bake them.


It’s good to always keep some fruit in your fridge. Go for whatever is in season, because it will be more nutritious and cheaper.