Spice Up Your Ramen!

            If you have a student going off to college or are a busy mom that can’t cook dinner every day, you should teach your child a few tips and tricks for simple meals. Ramen noodles are known for their low prices, but are often seen as “boring”. On the contrary, there is plenty to do with ramen noodles that can spice up your menu and save you money!     

Ramen noodles can often be purchased for $0.32, or about three for a dollar. It’s a great sale! They also come in many different flavors: chicken, beef, shrimp, spicy chili and even Oriental. (What does “Oriental” taste like?) Okay, there are other flavors. Woo-hoo… Ramen is still just ramen. No! The good thing is that there are a many things you can do to make your ramen healthier, more exciting and better tasting!

1) Stir-fry! Ramen is fine when boiled, but healthier and more of a full meal when tossed in a wok with snap peas, broccoli, carrots and sautéed onions. You can even venture out and marinate chicken in garlic and soy sauce. This dish is great for your college student to learn or for when you’re too tired to cook the usual banquet.

2) Ramen is a distant relative of real soup. Let’s bring them closer! It may not be Olive Garden, but substitute the water for half broth and half water and it already tastes better. Dice chicken, parsley or scallions and you’ll taste wonton instead of salt.

3) Cheetos? Yes! This recipe screams “broke college student”, but also “innovative deliciousness”. Add some Cheetos to ramen for a creamier soup. These cheese-flavored noodles can be a fun alternative to the usual recipe.

4) Don’t use the packet! If you have olive oil, dressing or sauces, you can substitute them for the included flavor packets, which are very high in sodium. Alfredo sauce, cheese sauce, Parmesan and garlic all make great alternatives and are affordable. Just be sure to drain the water.

5) Drain the water and amp the flavor! Add garlic powder to beef and it’ll taste completely different; almost like real meat! Drain the juice after you add the garlic, chop up a potato in thick slices and boil it in the ramen water with a little broth. It’s that easy!

6) Add celery! It sucks up a good amount of the salt in the flavor packets and doesn’t make for a bad side with Ranch dressing.

7) Make a burrito! Keep wraps in the house; all you have to do is soften the noodles, dice chicken, add yellow rice and pour on the dressing of your choice. Have at it!

Ramen no longer needs to just be… ramen. This list of seven ideas is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Use some creativity and create your own meals with this inexpensive food. Whether you’re a mom on a budget or a student living on a dime, you can have some fun and eat some exciting meals with ramen. What have you done with ramen noodles? Tell us in the comments!