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Ra-Ra for Ramen! Recipes to Cheer Up the College Snack

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Oh, how we all just love Ramen. It’s a college staple. Actually, let me rephrase, it’s a life staple. In a rush? Late night out got the tummy a’rumblin’? Not hungry, but still going to eat anyway? The four-by-four-by-one-inch package pairs a basic noodle foundation with a sprinkling of spices, making for a truly irresistible meal—all in three to five minutes flat. A delicious concoction satisfies even the most stubborn of palates and the most budget-conscious of chefs. But as we all know, too much of a good thing is, unfortunately, a bad thing. And let’s face it—there is a lot of Ramen out there, with just about every flavor stuffed into that little spicy packet accessory. Have no fear! Ramen noodles can indeed stray from its quick fix, powdered-flavor reputation. They can be more than just an instant snack or a savory satiation. Ramen can, dare I say it, even be a healthy option. I’ve put together 5 recipes that will add complexity, taste, and creativity to your next Ramen meal. Better get your noodle-slurping game ready.


Mediterranean Ramen Salad
If you want to add a bit more “meat” to your salad, just add Ramen noodles! This dish leaves a lot of room for creativity, so feel free to add whatever you normally like in your salad.


Ingredients:
1 package Ramen noodles
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Italian dressing
Choice of greens (optional)
Salt and pepper


Directions: Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the Ramen noodles. When finished, drain water from the noodles and put noodles in the refrigerator to cool. While the noodles are cooling, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl, except for the greens. Add the cooled Ramen to the bowl and fold the mixture as to coat the noodles evenly. Let sit for a few minutes so that the Ramen soaks in the flavors of the dressing. Finally, toss the greens with the Ramen mixture, and add salt and pepper to taste.


Quiche Ramen
This recipe is inspired by my German host-grandmother, who used to make this every day after school (although she would use German dumpling-like pasta called “Spaetzle” in place of the Ramen). It includes all the beloved German fixtures of butter, eggs, pork … you get the picture. It will fill you up, so if you’re looking for comfort out of your Ramen, this is the way to go!


Ingredients:
1 package Ramen noodles
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup sliced cold cut ham
2 eggs, whisked smooth
Salt and pepper


Directions: Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the Ramen noodles. When finished, drain the water from the noodles and place noodles into a bowl. In a heated skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the ham and give the mixture a quick stir. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl with the salt and pepper and immediately add to the skillet along with the noodles. With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until ingredients are evenly distributed and the eggs are cooked through. Spoon mixture into a serving bowl and Guten Appetit!


Makeshift Ramen Lasagna
This recipe will make a substantial meal out of the skimpy little noodles you are used to. Be prepared to be amazed by Ramen’s potential!


Ingredients:
1 package Ramen noodles
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound ground beef
16 ounce can tomato sauce


Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the Ramen noodles. When finished, drain the water from the noodles and place noodles into a bowl. Add the egg and Parmesan cheese to the Ramen and mix until noodles are thoroughly coated. Leave aside a small portion of the cheese to sprinkle on top of the end product. In a hot skillet with olive oil, add the onion, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, mixing with a wooden spoon until the onion is transparent. Add the ground beef, breaking it up as you mix the mixture. Cook the meat only until the outer coating is browned but not entirely cooked through. Remove the pan from the stove. In a glass cooking pan, pour half the tomato sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Atop the tomato sauce, place an even layer of half the ground beef mixture. Next, distribute all the noodles evenly atop the beef mixture. The noodles will serve as the middle layer. Continue to layer the other mixtures—first the remaining beef and then the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan on the final tomato layer and place the lasagna into the oven for thirty minutes or until all layers are cooked thoroughly.


Ramen Pudding
Okay, this recipe might seem like a stretch, because not many people couple Ramen noodles with dessert. Lo and behold, this dynamic dessert will be sure to defy all your expectations!


Ingredients:
1 package Ramen noodles
1/4 cup sweet and condensed milk
1/4 cup melted chocolate
Dried fruit and nuts


Directions: Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the Ramen noodles. When finished, drain the water from the noodles and place noodles into a bowl. Let the noodles reach room temperature. Drizzle noodles with the sweet and condensed milk and melted chocolate. You can use honey in place of the sweet and condensed milk. Next, add whatever your heart desires. I suggest dried fruit and nuts, but you can also add marshmallows, warm cookie pieces, cookie dough, etc. Get creative!


Note: You can accelerate the cooling of the noodles by placing them in the refrigerator.


Spicy Ramen
This is a fresher, more complex version of the Ramen we’re all used to. It blends spicy and sweet Asian flavors with the neutral flavors of cooked veggies, making this Ramen dish a well-balanced meal!


Ingredients:
1 package Ramen noodles
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Leftover cooked veggies


Directions: Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the Ramen noodles. When finished, drain the water from the noodles and place noodles into a bowl. Whisk the soy sauce, honey, and Dijon mustard in a separate bowl and then drizzle the mixture atop the noodles. Add any leftover cooked veggies that you have to the noodles. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green bell peppers, brussels sprouts, and onions work amazingly! If you don’t have any leftovers on hand, simply place veggies of choice on a pan, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and coat them lightly with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake the veggies in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When finished, add them to the noodle and soy mixture.


Note: I added some leftover cooked shrimp to my version of this recipe. Try chicken, beef, or fish!


As you can see, Ramen can go many ways. From savory to spicy to sweet, Ramen noodles pack a lot of hidden street cred. Don’t just lean on the spice packet for flavor. Add different textures, colors, and sizes to your Ramen noodles. You not only continue to save a buck, but you actually won’t get bored this time around! Amen to Ramen!


By Aylin Erman for Her Campus







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