Good eats for cheapskates: Spicin’ up your Ramen with style

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Laura Preby

Ramen has long been a reliable default choice for penny-pinching college students. Add some spice to your life without breaking the bank with these D.I.Y. dorm cooking tips.

Brandon Scott, Online Editor

The college staple in microwavable food has always been ramen noodles. Cheap and easy to prepare, ramen noodles provide a delicious salty snack at any time of the day without breaking the already empty wallet of the average college student. However, eating the same flavor of ramen over and over again can become boring and dull. For only a few extra dollars spent on cheap ingredients, you can turn your boring ramen noodles into delicious snacks your roommate will be jealous of.

The first recipe I’m going to bring to you is a simple way to enhance the flavor of your ramen.  First you are going to need to gather these ingredients:

•             1 Package of ramen

•             Water

•             Olive oil

•             Soy sauce

•             Garlic salt

•             Seasoning packet (should come with the ramen)

This recipe is simple. Add the water to the ramen so that the water just covers the noodles. If you add to much water and cook it, the noodles can over cook and become less absorbent to flavors. If you are using a microwave, cook for three minutes, stir and move noodles and then microwave for another minute and 30 seconds. If you are boiling the ramen in hot water, simply wait for the ramen to start too separate. Use a fork to test this safely. Once the ramen looks ready (should almost be loose like spaghetti) drain the water so that only a little bit is left. Add each of the ingredients on the list one at a time and be sure to stir after each ingredient is added. For the olive oil, add about ½ a tsp. For the soy sauce, add as much as you like. I recommend not over a 1 tsp, otherwise it might overwhelm the flavor. Add a dash of garlic salt and the seasoning packet that came with the ramen and stir the whole dish until it is thoroughly mixed.

The second recipe I’m going to share is a simple mac and cheese ramen. You need to gather these ingredients.:

•             1 package of ramen noodles

•             Water

•             American Cheese (about 3-4 slices)

•             Parmesan Cheese

•             Any other cheeses you prefer.

•             Seasoning packet (From the ramen package: recommended beef or chicken flavor.)

Follow the first two steps from the last recipe using your preferred method of cooking the ramen. This time drain the water so that there is enough to cover the top of the noodles. Simply add the cheese a slice at a time and stir until the cheese melts and mixes with the noodles. Make sure the water is hot enough for it to melt the cheese. Then add the seasoning from the package and mix that into the cheese. Enjoy!

For those looking to up the ante with their ramen dish, I bring to you my best friend’s specialty ramen. This dish was invented by my best friend Mike Agresto in the kitchen when he was bored one day. It soon became one of our favorite cheap meals to prepare for long nights of gaming. To start, obtain these ingredients:

•             Ramen package(s). (If you want to prepare a large amount for seconds, use 3-4 ramen packages) **I recommend chicken, beef, or pork flavor.

•             All beef hotdogs

•             Chive onions (precut or fresh and cut yourself. Both are fine, fresh brings more flavor however)

•             Soy sauce.

•             Tabasco (Don’t worry, this doesn’t make the dish spicy)

To start, obtain a big pot, and fill it with water a little over half way. Once it starts to boil, throw in the amount of ramen packets you want to make. (No less than two). Grab two to three hotdogs and cut them vertically so you have hot dog circles. Add them to the pot along with about half a cup of chive onions. Stir the pot until all of the ingredients start to mesh together. The ramen noodles should be separating at this point. Add the seasoning that came with the ramen and continue to stir. After a few more minutes the ramen should almost be ready. Add about two tsp. of soy sauce and about three to four drops of Tabasco sauce.

“It’s just kind of a recipe that I made up out of the blue” says Mike. “I was really bored in the kitchen, and felt like experimenting with what we had and one day I managed to make this. The key to the dish is to make sure the water level is just right. Also make sure you don’t add to many drops of Tabasco or it really cuts through the flavor instead of blending”.

Ramen is a cheap snack that college students love. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a main course meal at restaurants. Head Chef Dan Goulet of the Lords Valley Country Club has served ramen to his clientele before and they loved it. “It’s not about how expensive or prestigious the ingredient you are using is, it’s how you blend the ingredients you have and understanding how they work together to make a unique taste,” says Goulet. “Ramen noodles are used often in many popular Asian dishes. Using soy sauce, wasabi, sesame seeds, ramen noodles and tuna, I was able to make a dish that many of the members of the club enjoyed.”

So future college culinary masters, remember that. Your cheap ramen can become a delicious meal your friends will ask you to make again and again. These three recipes are just the beginning of what you can do with ramen noodles. Go out, buy a few packages of ramen and experiment to see if you can make your own unique ramen creation.