Just Ramen?!? I don’t think so!

Lets talk for a second about being broke, not just broke like living paycheck to paycheck but being so broke that you don’t even have money for food. Well I can’t fix that but I have a way that will keep food in your belly and it will still taste good… Have you ever thought about Top Ramen? How many flavors there are? But the more importantly all the things you can do with it! Did you know that there are 18 different types of Ramen? That leaves a world of possibilities for meals. Now I know that when most people think about ramen, it comes to mind of college students who are in the real world for the first time, but it can be SO much more then that! You can do so much with it and probably more then I have even thought about, but you just have stop and think about what you’re working with in your pocket and in your cabinet.

Let’s start out with talking about flavors. Now there are 18 flavors, but two of them low sodium and not all of them are available everywhere, so when choosing your flavor for meals you can use whichever ones are available or sound enticing for your meal. The flavors are the following:

  • Chicken Flavor
  • Chicken Mushroom Flavor
  • Creamy Chicken Flavor
  • Roast Chicken Flavor
  • Picante Chicken Flavor
  • Beef Flavor
  • Sriracha Chicken
  • Picante Beef Flavor
  • Roast Beef Flavor
  • Shrimp Flavor
  • Lime Shrimp Flavor
  • Lime Chili Shrimp Flavor
  • Chili Flavor
  • Chicken Tortilla
  • Pork Flavor
  • Oriental Flavor
  • 35% Less Sodium Chicken Flavor
  • 35% Less Sodium Beef Flavor

So whenever you are needing a quick meal on a tight budget I highly recommend spending a few extra bucks on canned vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, mixed vegetables, canned spinach, beans of all verities, ect) and you can normally find deals on them at your local grocery store for really cheap per can. Just adding a vegetable to your ramen can make it more filling and I personally think it makes it taste better. Next, if you desire, pick a protein. Now if your budget is so tight that you can’t afford to get chicken or ground beef, you can get hot dogs for pretty cheap and what I like to do is cut them in half and put them in the frying pan until they are browned and then cut them up and put them in your ramen.

So since we have talked about living on a really tight budget, let’s now talk about just making some meals with ramen. I have stated before that I am a very cheap person and prefer to make meals that are not only delicious but that don’t cost a whole lot to make but that also feed my family with leftovers for lunch the next day. I have recently come across a few really awesome recipes that don’t cost a lot to make but are actually really yummy when it comes to using ramen. The one that really struck my interest was cheeseburger ramen casserole, and after making it i think it will personally be one of my family’s favorite new meals. It only takes about 30 minutes to make, and only has 8 ingredients. Now before i start going into the recipe i will say for my family i did cut the onion from 1 cup to 1/2 cup because my hubby isn’t fond of onions, but i did add some mushrooms in it and it still tasted wonderful. After i made this i started thinking and i feel that you could also add peppers, and maybe other vegetables if you would like just remember it WILL be sauteed so lettuce and things that wilt probably won’t taste that good but hey if you want to try it go for it.

What you will need:

  • 1.5 LBS ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 (3-OZ) packages of beef flavored ramen noodles
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 TBSP yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

How to prepare:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 9×13 inch casserole/baking dish with cooking spray (or I took a paper towel with vegetable oil and hand greased the pan)
  2. In a large skillet, saute beef and onion (and if you add more veggies those as well) if around 6-8 minutes or until beef is browned. Stir in water and seasoning packet from the ramen, and bring to a boil.
  3. Add in your noodles and cook for 3 minutes or until noodles are soft and most of the water is gone. Remove from heat and stir in ketchup, mustard, and relish.
  4. Pour into baking dish, sprinkle cheese evenly over the top, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through with cheese melted.
  5. Remove from oven. Dig in and ENJOY! (WARNING: contents will be HOT so even though it will smell EXTRAORDINARY, wait to cool a little before consumption.)

Another recipe that sounds SOOOOOOO amazing to my family (mostly because we love Asian food) but we have yet to try is Mongolian beef ramen. Now normally I wouldn’t talk about something we haven’t tried yet but I am really excited about this one and it sounds fantastic so I’m going to share it and give and update on how we liked it once we try it. It will take roughly around 40-45 minutes to cook including prep and cook time.

What you will need:

  • 1 LB sirloin steak, sliced against the grain
  • 2 TBSP corn starch
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 3 TBSP minced garlic)
  • 1 TSP minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 3 packages of ramen (any flavor the packets will be discarded or set aside)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • toasted sesame seeds

How to prepare:

  1. Cook ramen according to the package and set aside. Again, DO NOT add in the flavor packet.
  2. In large skillet, or Wok if you have one, on medium-high heat warm up the vegetable oil. Toss beef with corn starch, in a separate bowl, and cook until crispy (roughly 2 minutes per side) then transfer to plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sesame oil to the skillet and stir in garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute then add in soy sauce, brown sugar, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until mixture thickens (3-5 minutes).
  4. Add broccoli and carrots to the mixture and cover with tight fitting lid, then cook until vegetables are tender.
  5. Return beef to the skillet and stir until completely coated in sauce. then stir in ramen and green onions and garnish with sesame seeds.
  6. ENJOY!!!!!

I know that there are so many more ramen recipes out there but this post would take days to read if I did all of them so for now this is all I will give you but I have a feeling that I will be doing another post in the future that will have more after I have experimented a little more with this topic. I would also like to say thank you to those of you who have been reading this and keeping up and also apologize for not posting this sooner. My life got slightly crazy for a bit but it’s back on track now and will be back to regular posting this Saturday. Again thank you all for your support and remember you are only as broke as your spirit is, so keep your head up and keep pushing forward!!!

Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.
Tena Desae
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