Student Cooking and a Menu Plan

How did you learn to cook?

I learnt from my Mum, growing up regularly helping her make things together – with a few lessons at school in sixth form. I guess most people probably learn the same sort of way – from someone close, gradually over several years.

Not so my eldest son. Cooking hasn’t been something that he’s wanted to have anything to do with – apart from cooking sausages on the camping stove for breakfast when we’ve been camping. He is pretty good at washing up though.

But he’s off to Uni soon, and I’ve been trying to persuade him to learn how to cook a few things before he goes.

It’s self defence really.

It goes like this —


Teaches Student to cook

Student spends less money on food

Less likely to go into debt

(and less likely to ask Mother-of-Student
for financial help!)

Or, at least, that’s the idea.

A great idea too, I think — he wasn’t so convinced, but after some negotiation we came to an agreement and I was allowed to teach him how to cook four meals.

Learn to Cook in Four Meals

Clearly student meals need to be cheap and easy. But on top of that, the equipment is somewhat limited. The only equipment they will have (apparently) is:

  • one ring
  • a microwave
  • and a fridge

No freezer. No oven.

So —

Learn to Cook in Four Meals (with not much equipment)

After a fair amount of thought I came up with four different meals that I thought would teach him a variety of different cooking techniques.

  1. Macaroni-cheese-prepMacaroni Cheese: Wouldn’t it be useful (I thought) to learn how to make cheese sauce?

    So we started with Macaroni Cheese — simple, cheap and a useful base for a load of other pasta bakes. Sadly, even though it was beautifully cooked, a whole plateful of pasta with cheese is not so exciting and the first ‘lesson’ ended with a faint air of disillusionment — a lot of effort for an unexciting result.

    I realised pretty quickly that the most important thing was to go for meals that were cheap, easy and delicious.
  2. Chicken-stir-fryChicken stir-fry with noodles: This went really well — received lots of compliments and things started to look up!
  3. PaellaEasiest ever Paella: Food to impress the girls! This is expensive, but is a favourite and did seem to finally spark some real interest in the whole project! Also, it is a glorified risotto so adaptable.
  4. Jacket Potatoes in the microwave: Simples.

  5. flapjackMicrowave Flapjacks: We agreed to add Number 5 as we both felt there had to be some comfort food! And after making these, he was heard to say “Wow, I really could make these at Uni” – Result!

    (Who knows if he actually will? – I’ll let you know!)
  6. I’ve learnt something too – not least, how to make cheese sauce in the microwave (you’ll need the ring to cook the pasta if making macaroni cheese), which is SO easy and good that I’ll post the recipe soon.

    Also – I now have a great recipe for Flapjacks made in 10 minutes start to finish in the microwave. I’ll share it with you later in the week as it is one of those recipes you really should have up your sleeve.

    As usual, I’m linking my Student menu plan up to Mrs M’s meal planning Monday, where you can find more lovely ideas for meals.

    Meal Planning Monday

    Have a good week!

    What four meals would you have chosen?

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