Off to Uni?

I was in IKEA today buying yet more storage and boxes (I love a wander through the store, but know many people would rather pull their own teeth out than spend a well earned afternoon off there!); and saw so many people and bits and bobs designed for students eagerly preparing to head off to Uni for the first time - an exciting time, fraught with anxiousness too. It got me thinking about what life skills are needed, it’s a big jump from living at home to living on your own, and having to adjust to a new way of life, as exciting as that may be.

As a natural ‘feeder’; the first thing I thought about was enabling Teenagers to cook for themselves, understand the basics of nutrition and budgeting.

Here is a simple, delicious and nutritious recipe - a fail safe for you to teach or show your teenagers, something for them to take with them into the big scary world.


Tuna Pasta Bake


(ingredients in italic are suggestions and not essential)

  • 500g Dried Pasta (any shape)

  • 2 Tins of chopped tomatoes

  • 2 Tins Tuna (or swap with chopped ham, chicken, quorn, tofu)

  • Selection of vegetables: (onions, garlic, peas, sweetcorn, peppers, jalapenos, courgette, mushrooms, olives, capers, carrots, celery etc) - fresh or frozen

  • Olive oil or oil spray

  • Dried (or fresh) herbs: (basil, oregano)

  • Chilli flakes

  • 150g cheddar cheese (grated)

Tuna Pasta Bake


1) Chop vegetables into small chunks (approx 1cm in size) - If frozen vegetables are used, add these still frozen in step 3.

2) Boil a kettle of water, put the pasta in a large saucepan and boil for 15 mins (until the pasta is soft).

3) Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the vegetables and oil (or spray oil) to a very large pan. Add the tinned tomatoes and cook on a medium heat until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add herbs and salt/pepper if you like it. Keep stirring to stop it sticking or burning.

4) Once the pasta is soft, drain and add to the tomato sauce. Add tuna (drained from tins) and stir together.

5) Empty the whole pan into an oven or grill proof dish, sprinkle grated cheese on top.

6) Pop under the warm grill or in the oven until the cheese is melted.

7) Serve onto a plate (or eat straight from the dish to save on washing up!).

This will last for 3-4 days if covered and kept in the fridge.

Here is a link to the IKEA website; they have a huge amount of student and kitchen equipment >>


Wherever your child is heading off to, whatever they are going to study, this simple and well tested recipe will keep them full, healthy and it’s quick, easy and cheap to make!

We wish all new students so much luck and happiness in their exciting new adventures! (and good luck to those parents waving them off! too!)

Claire Humphreys