Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jazz Up Ramen - Cheap Eats

There are times in our lives that we have little or no money.
There are times when just a bit of convenience helps us out.
There are times when we just want to be different!
We always want to stretch our dollars.

OK, no flack.  I know Ramen soup is full of salt (the seasoning packets) - BUT it is incredibly cheap!  Packages are regularly .10 each around here.  I can make that package into a bowl of soup for one or I can add other ingredients and make a meal for two.  It is very easy.
I know Ramen is a staple with college students - maybe this will help someone jazz it up a bit.

NO there is no real nutritional value in Ramen noodles NOR is there any real nutritional value in pasta!  Pasta is pretty cheap - especially if you get it on sale or markdown - and maybe you could get a couple meals from pasta for .10, but not always!

You don't need to use those seasoning packets - save those and maybe add to a big pot of soup or stew later on.  It won't be nearly as bad salt-wise in a big pot of soup.  The flavors are tasty - there are many.  Beef, chicken, pot roast, chili, shrimp, oriental, and on and on!

  • Cook your noodles in water or stock and then add cheese.  Noodles and cheese instead of mac and cheese
  • Make up any stir fry you might make and either stir in noodles or put stir fry over the noodles
  • Consider making a small batch of lo mein (add veggies and/or meat) and a little soy
  • Add cooked noodles to some fried cabbage and a little soy sauce.  Sausage or ham pieces added if you have it.
  • Go Mexican - add hot sauce, salsa, taco meat, taco seasoning, cheese, sour cream...…..
  • Add to any leftovers - meat, veggies, etc. for a soup or stew or 'bowl' dinner.  This would be a great way to extend just a bit of leftovers after a normal meal or holiday and make a totally new type dish.  Add broth, gravy, stock, tomato sauce, whatever you have.
OK - now that looks just yummy!  What a cheap and great way to extend whatever you have on hand.
  • Make a neat salad.  Cook those noodles with herbs and whatever broth you might want.  Drain.  Top with chopped tomatoes, cukes, onions, Italian dressing, herbs, etc.
This would be super with fresh garden veggies (whatever you have), a little dressing when BROKE and you don't know what to eat!  Oh heck, it would be good any time!
  • Turn it Asian.  Add soy, fish sauce, sweet and sour sauce, sriracha  -  maybe a spoonful of peanut butter or peanuts or cashews - shredded carrot or peas or broccoli, green onions, etc..  Get creative!
  • Use half water and half coconut milk for a creamier version of noodles
  • Use tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, curry powder, pizza fixings, etc.
  • Use the noodles for spaghetti & cover with sauce
  • Top noodles with leftover taco meat
  • Cook noodles - drain, add tuna and some peas - maybe make like a tuna salad.
OK, I think you see there are just no limits to what can be done with a .10 package of noodles.  Get creative.  Being broke is no excuse not to have a tasty and filling meal.
I always have Ramen in my pantry.  Even if you have had it in your pantry for ages - the noodles will still be fine (might ditch the seasoning if too old).  Liquid will always soften the noodles.

I have heard people comment that they were "Ramen poor" - meaning they had no money for other stuff.  It shouldn't be a shameful thing - use it in new ways.  Leftovers and noodles most definitely can EQUAL YUM!

Here's a family favorite:

1 - 16 oz. package slaw mix
2 packages beef Ramen noodles
1 Small pack of sunflower seeds
1 Small pack of slivered almonds
1 bunch green onions - chopped

1/3 C vinegar
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C oil
both seasoning packets

Heat the last 4 ingredients until sugar is melted - cool slightly.  Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a nice bowl -(noodles are slightly broken up and raw).  Pour dressing over salad mixture 15 -20 minutes before serving.  This is really yummy!  Tasty and a great crunch.

So there you have it.  You are never so broke that you can't have a decent meal.  Use what you have and get creative.
Always try to think outside the box - no matter what you have on hand.
Happy eating!


  1. My kids loved ramen and would have lived on it if I had let them, but it is a good emergency staple.

    1. It sure is. You can't beat the price, especially when you have a little or no money.
      I like it too!!!

  2. This is a go to staple for my son when he wants a snack. He adds frozen vegetables (which is a good thing as getting this kid to eat his vegetables has been a chore). He does use the package but drains the noodles of the broth. I've never eaten them, except in a similar salad that someone brought to a potluck. Sounds good!

    1. Just so many uses for them. I have liked them for years. Adding veggies is a good thing!!!!
      I think young people like them.

  3. Great ideas! Thanks! Love the ramen slaw recipe!
    My son makes an egg drop type of soup with the ramen that is tasty.

    1. Ooohhhh that sounds yummy. Loved me some egg drop soup. Great idea.
      The slaw is really good.

  4. If only I could eat wheat...I’d try some of these. But my nephew loves it and eats it when he’s over

    1. At least your nephew can get a little variety if he so choses!

  5. My son always is using Ramen noodles in dishes. He loves them. Sometimes you just need something quick,easy and cheap to eat .

    1. Yes indeed! Quick, easy and cheap! I love those 3 things. Smart boy!!

  6. Cheryl, I make the salad you posted for church events all the time. It's a popular one, along with Watergate salad.

    We buy a box of Ramen at Aldi every few months. In winter we add the noodles to a can of chicken noodle soup to make it more filling. This is especially good when sick and don't want to cook again 2 hrs later!
    The Prudent Homemaker has a delicious recipe using them. It's a Chinese noodles dish with vegetables, chicken, and a soy sauce. And Mandarin oranges. Very quick dinner prep.

    We very rarely use the packets, but definitely the noodles!

    1. I usually get mine at Aldi as well.
      I like the idea of adding extra noodles to soup. Mmmm, the other recipe sounds yummy as well. So many neat things to do with them,and they are basically an almost free food.

  7. I have never heard of ramen. They sound like pot noodles which are cheap and popular with students.

    1. That is exactly what they are!!! They are instant tiny little noodles, that you can cook up in a couple minutes. They are tasty - not the most healthy thing - and CHEAP!
      Big with college students and those who just have a microwave.

      Other than that - there are many of us oldsters who kind of like them too!

  8. When I make Ramen I add a can of mixed vegetables to it to bump up the nutrition.

    1. Great idea. So many ways to fix it. So versatile.

  9. I love Ramen noodles! I add l/o vegetables and meat. Now I will be making that yummy-looking salad.

    1. Me too! Such an easy and inexpensive dish. A little of this and a little of that.....
      The salad is good!