Times are tight, budgets are pinched. We had two dollars left in our food budget on Tuesday of last week, so I buzzed to the store and bought the only thing I could think of. Ramen. At 17 cents a package, ramen has to be the best food deal out there. And, it’s a fun deal, too. Because a packet of ramen isn’t just soup waiting to be made. It’s actually a blank canvas ready to be turned into art. Here are 10 super-simple ways to pimp out your ramen and make it into a simple, satisfying dinner.
1. Veggie Ramen (pictured above) . Toss a tablespoon of butter into a skillet. Add 2 tablespoons each of thinly-sliced carrots, frozen green beans, frozen white corn, and edamame. Cook just until softened. Add a packet of Pork Ramen, 2 cups of water, and cook until the noodles are cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add seasoning packet. Serve and enjoy.
2. Egg Foo Ramen. In a small bowl, whisk an egg with 1 tablespoon of water until well beaten. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour egg into the water, then add the noodles. Cook just until tender. Season with seasoning packet. Garnish with sliced green onions.
3. Chinese Chicken Salad. Shred 1/4 a head of cabbage, 1 breast of chicken, and 1/4 white onion. Add 1 package of crushed Chicken-flavored Ramen. In a small bowl, whisk together the seasoning packet, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Toss dressing into salad, serve and enjoy.
4. Ham Fried Ramen. A simple take on Fried Rice, cook a packet of Pork Ramen until the noodles are tender. Drain completely. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon olive oil until sizzling. Add 1/4 cup diced ham and 1/4 cup of frozen peas & carrots to the oil. Immediately toss in the noodles. Crack an egg into the mixture and stir until well cooked and distributed around the noodle mixture. Season with soy sauce, garnish with a handful of diced green onions.
5. Parmesan Ramen. Cook a packet of ramen noodles. Save the flavoring packet for another day. Once the noodles are cooked, drain the water from them completely. Top with a pat of butter, a bit of freshly-shredded parmesan, and some chopped parsley.
6. Chicken Noodle Ramen. Boil 3 cups of water, 1/4 cup carrots, 1/4 cup of celery, and 1/4 cup shredded chicken. Once the carrots and celery are softened (about 6-8 minutes), add a packet of Chicken Ramen and the seasoning packet. Cook until the Ramen is tender.
7. Chili Lime & Shrimp Ramen. Cook a packet of Chili Ramen according to package directions. Toss with 1/4 cup diced scallions, 1 cup of cooked shrimp, and a lime wedge.
8. Easy Ramen Lasagna. Place 4 squares of uncooked ramen noodles into the bottom of a 9×11 baking dish. Cover with a layer of cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, your favorite canned spaghetti sauce, and a layer of cottage cheese mixed with chopped spinach. Top with an ample amount of spaghetti sauce. Cover with a hefty bunch of shredded mozzarella. Cover and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil 10 minutes before baking is finished to brown up the top of your cheese.
9. Pad Thai Ramen. Cook a packet of Pork Ramen according to package directions. Just before you add the flavoring packet, drain most of the water from the pan (leaving about 2 tablespoons worth of water), then add 1/2 teaspoon cream peanut butter, the juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, a pinch of garlic and onion powder, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Mix together until very well mixed. Garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts.
10. Mandarin Ramen Salad. Cook Chicken Ramen according to package directions. Drain water completely, reserve spice packet for dressing. Toss cooked ramen with 1 small package of coleslaw mix, 2 stalks of diced celery, 1 can mandarin oranges (drained), and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with the flavoring packet and 2 tablespoons sugar. Garnish with diced scallions.
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