Chances are you’re not pleased with what’s served at your university cafeteria if you’re reading this. It is also possible that you’re finding it hard to meet the growing expenses on the razor-thin budget. If that’s the case, you’re not alone.
According to Hunger on Campus, 50 percent of community college students and 47 percent of four-year college students in the US reported food insecurity and an inability to pay for balanced meals.
However, it is still possible to eat good food at home without spending a fortune. From using all-purpose seasoning and barbeque sauces on bland dishes to picking frozen food off the shelf, you can do wonders by applying some fundamental techniques.
Before you can start cooking, you need the basic utensils to do so. You don’t need anything too fancy. You just want to have simple, affordable, and minimalistic food that saves time and is decently palatable. For this purpose, all you need are two cooking pans, plates, spoons, and bowls. But to make things smoother, here is a list of items that you may need for your kitchen:
- A quality non-stick skillet or sauté pan with a lid
- A Dutch pot or any deeper saucepan for preparing soups and pasta
- Sheet pan
- Glass oven-baking dish
- Chef’s knife
- Mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Set of Tupperware
- Plates and bowls for eating
Of course, you can choose some or all of them according to your budget. You can also buy these utensils in batches as and when you can afford them.
You have to buy your food beyond the scope of bagging in frozen pizzas, margarita mixes, and packs of mac and cheese. The foremost thing to do is make a list of things that you will require. It would be wise to first have a budget in place before making this list to determine how much you can afford to spend.
Mainly, going for frozen food items will save you money. Moreover, you will derive almost identical nutritional value compared to fresh food items, such as fruits and vegetables. While shopping, try to look for coupons for the things on the list or for food items that you eat regularly. It is best to avoid packaged foods whenever possible.
Sauce and Condiments
If you have never thought of trying sauces and condiments before, it’s high time that you give it a thought. Let’s say you have recently learned how to heat a can of beans, but it’s not appetizing enough. Just mix in two teaspoons of Ray Ray’s BBQ sauce, and you have something of a gourmet dish on your plate. Here are some preliminary items that you might want to introduce to your kitchen:
- All-purpose seasoning
- Dried oregano and basil
- Barbeque sauce
Switch it Up
One of the greatest pleasures of cooking your own food is the liberty to indulge in any type of cuisine or dish of your choice. In addition, you can explore many delicious vegetarian recipes, as it will enable you to save money.
Cookbooks are unnecessary nowadays when you can get the most exotic recipes at your fingertips. However, it is still worthwhile to write down the recipes you like, as it will save your time while procuring groceries. Also, try to collect recipes for one-pot meals and learn how to cook by stir-frying.