College kids and ramen go together like college kids and booze. Ramen’s price tag makes it a cheap option for those of us who are broke or trying to save money. Eating anything too often, however, can get boring — but day after day of ramen noodles and its sodium-packed “flavor” get boring even faster. A few innovative recipes, though, just might spice up those boring old noodles.
Ben Kendall’s suggestions
Let’s face it: Ramen is substandard fare most of the time, and it does not provide much in the way of nutritional value. But if you’re hungry … well, ’nuff said. I tend not to eat too much of it, as I am not a huge fan. I like to think of ramen as being a modular food system. That is, you can usually add things to it to suit your fancy — at least, that’s cool in its own weird way.
One of my favorite ramen recipes is to add skinless chicken breast. Cook your chicken breast all the way through (you don’t want to get sick), and then chop it into little bits. Meanwhile, boil some frozen vegetables (or fresh ones if you’re impatient) and drop those in with the ramen. Here it pays to use the flavor packet, as just using the chicken for the chicken flavor may not be enough — that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Anyway, throw everything together in a bowl and serve. Add whatever condiments you can think of when you’re cooking.
A really sad cousin to fettuccine or spaghetti can be made as well. After you’ve boiled the noodles for their requisite time, you can throw out the water and add in marinara or Alfredo sauce and any meat bits you have around. You can even use the flavor packet, but I’m not sure how much that would work out.
Going with the Italian-food theme, you can use some Parmesan cheese atop the noodles instead of the sauce. Or maybe shooting a whole bunch of Sriracha in the noodles may be interesting. Hey, at least it’s better than just breaking up the dry ramen, pouring in the flavor packet, shaking it up and eating it like chips.
Kevin Piaskowski’s suggestions
My first suggestion is ramen noodles flavored with peanut butter. The ingredients to this concoction are simple. They include: one package of ramen noodles (with flavoring), one tablespoon of soy sauce, two tablespoons of peanut butter and two teaspoons of Sriracha. These measurements will vary depending on personal preference. Start by boiling the noodles per usual, adding the flavor packet and then draining out the remaining water. Then add the soy sauce, peanut butter and Sriracha in order to create a tasty and unique twist to a classic meal.
My second suggestion is ramen-noodle Pad Thai. For this simple recipe, you will need two packs of ramen, sesame or ginger dressing, peanut butter and a quarter cup of water. Start by cooking the noodles. Once they are tender, drain the water but save the broth. Then add the flavoring to the broth and mix thoroughly. Finally, add a tablespoon of peanut butter and dressing to the broth. Now you can put it all together in one dish.
Mitch Small’s suggestions
One of the things ramen definitely lacks is food value. Turns out, there aren’t many nutrients in white flour noodles and the mysterious flavor packet. However, if you throw a handful of spinach in the boiling water just before you add the noodles, you’ll get some extra flavor and mileage out of that 50-cent packet of noodles. If you don’t care for spinach, you can always whip an egg in a small bowl and drizzle the mixture slowly into the boiling water (again, before the noodles) to imitate egg-drop soup and make your bowl of noodles feel like an actual meal. But when I feel like either of these is too much effort, I add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper to increase the heat.
Amanda Barker’s suggestions
All college students know ramen is the way to go when you have no money, but it can get so boring sometimes. There are so many ways to spice it up, though! Creamy balsamic ramen chicken is one way to go with it. All you need is chicken, bell peppers, balsamic vinegar, heavy cream and of course, ramen. It does not take too long, and you get to enjoy a better and more filling dish. Only eating ramen for dinner, though, can get boring. Spice it up by making it a dessert. How do chocolate peanut butter ramen krispies sound? All you need is peanut butter, cocoa powder, corn syrup and ramen. The best part about it, other than peanut butter, is it’s a no-bake recipe!