Learning to cook for yourself while at uni is absolutely an important skill: problem is, fitting food prep and budgeting around a busy schedule is easier said than done.
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to have to spend forever hovering over a stove, especially after a full day of lectures.
Enter the student’s secret weapon: the slow cooker.
While you do still have to do some prep and washing up beforehand, this is, in my opinion, far overshadowed by the relief of not having piles of dishes to do later on. All you’ll need to do is clean the inner part of the slow cooker (fun fact – it’s dishwasher safe!)
The variety of recipes you can make in it is surprising: I’ve done soups, stews, spaghetti Bolognese, jambalaya and overnight oatmeal in mine.
I’ve even known people who’ve used theirs to cook the turkey for their house Christmas dinner.
So if batch-cooking is your thing, and you want to be able to eat healthy on a budget, then I definitely recommend adding a slow cooker to your kitchen.
Below is one of my go-to recipes – it’s easy to make, packs in vegetables and protein, and can be adapted to suit most dietary needs. It also freezes well, so no need to worry if there’s tons of leftovers.
How to make a sausage, sweet potato and bean stew
INGREDIENTS: 12 sausages (pork or vegetarian); 3 small sweet potatoes; 2 cans butter beans; 2 tins chopped tomatoes; 3-4 large handfuls of leafy green veg (I prefer kale or spinach); 1 onion; 4 cloves garlic; 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube; 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1 tbsp olive oil; Black pepper and mixed herbs to taste
Prep time: approx. 20 mins Cooking time: 6-8 hours Serves 4-6
METHOD: 1. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes (peeling optional) and dice into smallish chunks. Add to slow cooker.
2. Fry off the sausages in a large frying pan until golden brown. Transfer to a separate plate and cut into pieces approx. 2cm thick, then add to slow cooker.
3. Dice the onion and garlic, and fry in the olive oil until onion is golden and starts to soften. Add to slow cooker.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes, the stock cube and a small mug of water.
5. Drain the cans of beans and add to mix.
6. Add herbs, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 6-8 hours on the low setting.
7. 10 minutes before serving, add the green leafy veg and allow to cook till wilted.
8. Serve with optional bread roll