Student Kitchen: Cupboard essentials you need for university

A lot of students fall into the trap of eating out almost everyday as soon as their student finance drops into their bank accounts.

While buying more expensive brands and amazing effortless takeaways might seem like you’re living the ‘high life’ eventually you’re going to run out of money (and food).

Keeping these cupboard essentials will not only mean you’ll be able to make up some deliciously quick meals when you’re in a pinch for money but since most of the things listed last for eternity, you can buy them at the beginning of the year and they’ll be good until you finish.

(Well, most of them!)

1, Rice

Rice makes a good cupboard staple based solely on it’s durability. It can be used in soup as a side or even as a main dish.

Make a quick dinner by throwing a beef stock cube in with your rice and towards the end try adding some minced beef and onions that have been sauteed in some vegetable oil. Serve with veggies.

2, Pasta

Cheesy pasta can best be described as oxygen for every student. Pasta is great because it’s just as versatile as rice is!

Top a chicken salad with some leftover pasta for an easy chicken pasta salad.

3, Flour

Flour is great because it can be used in almost anything. From thickening up savory sauces to making sweet emergency-I-have-nothing-left-to-eat pancakes!

4, Couscous

Couscous takes about 10 minutes to make. Simply put some in a bowl (remembering that they double in size once cooked), the pour boiling water until it just about covers the cous cous. Place a lid or cling film on top and wait until the water is all absorbed.

The cous cous will soak up all of the water in about 10 or 15 minutes depending on how much you’re cooking and once you fluff it out with a fork, you’ll be left with plump couscous.

5, Dried herbs and seasonings

A pinch of seasoning can completely transform a dish. Try adding a pinch of dried basil in anything tomato based or switching up your noodles by adding some curry powder to the broth.

[Read: Ways to pimp your noodles]

6, Stock cubes

Stock cubes are like little cubes of flavour. Putting one or two in pasta sauce, soup or even rice will give it a meaty taste!

Chicken stock cubes add a lighter flavour whilst beef stock cubes make a dish more rich.

Pro tip: Try crushing a stock cube into some oil to make a paste and rub it on some chicken before roasting it.

7, Vegetable or Sunflower oil

You’ll need oil in just about anything you make.

Whilst Vegetable and Sunflower oil are the cheapest variety you can get, oils such as coconut and sesame oil have other nutritional benefits. Those benefits however do come at a higher price tag.

Olive oil can be used to cook however, extra virgin olive oil would be wasted if used to cook as the heat will burn off most if not all nutritional benefits, so save it for salad dressings instead.

8, Dried beans

Adding beans to your dishes is a good way to add more protein to your diet, especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.

It’s best to buy it dried rather than tinned as you get way more value for money, but remember to soak them overnight to reduce cooking time!

9, Canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes can be used to make a base sauce that basically goes with everything.

Make a basic tomato sauce by simmering a whole can of chopped tomato, half the can of water, a pinch of Basil and a stock cube simmer down until the water has evaporated and it’s nice and thick. You can use this sauce on ANYTHING!

10, Tinned Tuna

Combine a can of tuna with cooked pasta, a can of tomato and some cheese and you have yourself a tuna pasta bake!

Tuna and other tinned fish such as Mackerel lasts a long time in your cupboard, so if you buy it around the time your student finance drops, it’ll still be okay to eat around deadline season.

11, Canned fruit and veg

Fresh fruit and veg can be difficult to get into your diet if you’re a student, especially if you don’t have much money.

Tinned fruit and veg (in juice or water) count as one of your 5-a-day and are extremely easy to stack at the back of your kitchen cupboard.

12, Canned soup

Although it’s not the healthiest, canned soup is good to stock up on as most supermarkets usually have them on deal which could save you some money.

With a piece of crusty bread could really fill a hole on a cold night of revision and are also easy to stack in a cupboard.

If you think of any other cupboard essentials comment below!

Think your cupboard is impressive? Post a picture on Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #StudentlyFood to have the chance to be featured on our Instagram page.

By Rebecca Adeyeye
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