Coming in as a freshman, I remember knowing a few recipes but not much else. Over the course of the semester. I decided to increase my cooking knowledge, and I still am as an incoming junior. Here are few of my tips for cooking because you cannot survive on takeout and microwave food for long.
1. Make a meal plan for the week and a grocery store list
I honestly did not do this at first, and my grocery bill would always be high. My mother told me it was best to make meal plans, so we bought a meal plan book. At the beginning of the week, I would simply come up with a few meals for that week and leave exactly when I eat them to my stomach. At first, it is best to outline exactly what your meals are for each weekday until you get used to the flow of a meal plan. Yes, this includes the times you plan to eat out. This way you can also track the amount of money you are spending on food. A grocery list will also do this. It will center what you are looking for and helps prevent spending on things you think you need.
2. Decide what type of chef you are
There are a few ways that you can prepare meals for the week. One is meal prep for the week at one time or make dinner every night or find a way in the middle. It is important to consider when you willcook certain things because nothing stays edible forever, even in a fridge. This is also a form of time management that is key to having a balanced and less stressful life. This is all about preference and how cooking fits into your schedule. I personally cook on the weekends and/or do the prep for certain meals during the week. This is so during the week I can quickly just throw everything into the pot or skillet.
3. Compile a recipe book
A recipe book is a great idea so that you have food that you know you like at the tip of your fingers when you are meal planning. It also makes it easy to make a grocery list. I also think of it as a way to record how you are progressing as a cook. The more recipes you know, the more food you can make and the less you spend on expensive take outs.
4. Buy produce from a fruit stand or frozen
I know at first the fruit stand seemssketchy, but they are much cheaper than in the store and I personally have never had an issue with them. I have bought three bags full of produce for just two or three dollars. Though it is important not to over purchase produce, because it goes bad quickly. A simple solution to this is buying frozen vegetables. They might not be fresh but in the right dish with spices, taste pretty much the same. They also will keep so if you decide not to use them then there is no harm done and you can use them next week.
5. Get a cooking buddy
I honestly highly suggest this, despite never really having one myself. It is a way tospilt what you buy so that you can make twice as much food for less. You can also share recipes and cooking tips. Also, company in the kitchen is always a way to make it more fun. I personally would always text a friend or two when I was cooking to have someone to talk to.
About the Author
Erika Massey is a rising junior in the Visual Studies program at LIM College. She is a student mentor and works as a student ambassador for the admissions office. She also is one of the co-leaders of the philanthropy club, president of the resident’s hall council, and a member of the global students’ club.