Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Want to Start Cooking? Here are some tips!

A huge part of college – and life – is food. We all love eating quality food. As you all know, food is our best friend. Even though it would be a dream, eating out every day would certainly become too expensive in the long run.

Learning how to cook can be a life-changer, and believe me, it is not as hard as it looks. I’ve gathered a few tricks and tips I’ve learned while learning how to cook. 

Your new best friends

  • Salt

  • Black Pepper

  • Olive Oil

You will use these items in almost every meal you cook. They will certainly make your food taste a lot better. Make sure you have these at your disposal whenever you are going to cook.

Defrosting Food

This is essential. Whenever you plan to cook anything that is frozen you must defrost it in advance. There are a few ways in which you can do this:

  • Remove the item from the freezer a few hours before cooking it

  • Leave the item (in its package) in a bowl filled with water

  • If you forget to remove it from the freezer and are in a hurry: leave it in the microwave for a few seconds. The keyword here is few. If you put it for too long it can start cooking your food and you may burn it later on.

It is important to know that once you defrost an item you should not refreeze it. Just remove the items you want to cook and cook everything you’ve defrosted. 

When is the food ready?

It is important to know when the food is ready. If you eat something that is either undercooked or overcooked, you may have problems. There are a couple of simple ways to tell if your food is ready.

For meat, fish, and chicken: Once the outside color appears ready, make a small cut it in the middle and check the color on the inside. This will tell you if it is ready or not. 

For vegetables and pasta: Once it appears ready, try a little piece. If it is still hard it most likely is not ready. Keep cooking it and check again in a few minutes.


There is no secret here. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over middle-high heat. Add the items to the pan. The cooking time varies depending on the item.

For meat, fish, and chicken:

  • Add salt and black pepper

  • Leave it in the pan for 3-5 minutes and turn it over to the other side. Do this until the food looks ready. Once it does, make the cut we previously discussed.

For vegetables:

  • Add salt and black pepper

  • Leave it in the pan for a couple of minutes and turn it. You should keep turning it to avoid it from burning.

  • Turn the heat off once the vegetable looks ready. Try one piece and check its consistency. 

Using the oven

This is a very simple way to cook. Most recipes and even packages specify exactly how to do it. There are a couple of things you should know: temperature and cooking time. 

For most items:

  • Preheat oven to the desired temperature.

  • Meanwhile, get a flat bottom pan and add the following items in order:

    • 1-2 sheets of aluminum foil (this will avoid your pan from burning and will make cleaning easier.)

    • Olive oil.

    • The item you want to cook.

  • Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, put the pan in the oven.

  • Put a timer for the desired time. 

  • Once you hear the timer, remove the items and they will be ready to serve. 

I hope these tips and tricks helped you, so that you can start cooking and preparing delicious meals! 

Ana Clever is a junior at Penn State University majoring in Psychology. Coming from Sao Paulo, Brazil, she is a staff writer for Her Campus at PSU and the president of the Brazilian Student Association. She is passionate about traveling, art, and writing. You can find her on Instagram at @ana_clever.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️