I hadn't eaten ramen in a while. When it has a history of sustaining you through those lean weeks when there was too much month and not enough paycheck, you tend avoid it when you no longer HAVE to eat it. Eventually though, the craving for ramen returns. Ramen brought me comfort for under a quarter and the price hasn't changed much in over twenty years. Some people eat it as a soup, some butter their noodles and flavor it with the packet. Either works, but you're cheating yourself out of taking things up a notch to create a delicious dish that will even impress Mom!
If you want to get fancy and make your own ramen, more power to you. I'm a girl who likes to take things I'm used to and make them better. Until recently, I had no idea there were so many options when it came to ramen noodles. Seriously, It thought there were only three options: chicken, beef and shrimp. At Publix, that's all you can find in a tiny little section of the soup aisle with a few selections of cup a soup. Now although Publix's selection is small, ramen noodles are only 17 cents a pack, so if one of these three flavors are your favorite, you're going to save a few pennies. I have yet to check the price on Ramen at Family Dollar or the Dollar General, but I will be checking there as well. Its fascinating to me that Ramen was only 17 cents at Publix, when its 20cents a pack at Walmart Express! That's still 5 packs for a buck, but why is it more expensive at Walmart when they have it vast supply? I had no idea there was a creamy chicken ramen noodles options! Now my go to brand is Maruchan so they are responsible for creating other flavors that I'm only just now aware of like: Sriracha Chicken, Lime Chili, Shrimp, Picante Beef or Chicken, Chicken Mushroom, Chick Tortilla, Creamy Chicken, Chili, Chicken, Roast Beef...seriously, it goes on like Bubba talking about all the different ways you can cook shrimp; how did I not know there were this many kinds of ramen? HOW?!!
So noodle soup is all the rage now. Maybe not so much right now in June in the south, but people love themselves some high end ramen. They will pay ridiculous prices for hand made noodles and...ok, maybe its worth the extra dough with the extra love thrown in, but dude, you CAN make decent ramen at home and save money while feeling like you got away with something.
Key things you need to have around are: Limes, scallions/green onions, sriracha (if you like it spicey) individually packed chicken breasts, chicken beef or vegetable broth, eggs (go for jumbo) and bacon. How easy is that list? There's other things you may acquire a liking for like peanuts, peanut butter and seaweed things, but you'll have to let me know how that goes for you. : ) The things I listed are the things that most people won't object to. I'm all about starting with the basics and then building onto that. Also consider up-cycling your lunch for your dinner. Sure, a five piece chicken finger combo may be a bit much for you to eat, but if you eat two to 3 pieces for your lunch and then properly store the remaining pieces, you can create a ramen meal with the leftovers fit for your mother in law! That was a figurative statement; seriously, don't make dinner for your MIL with leftover food. Its ok for you, but if I have to explain it, I'll need to write another blog.
If you want to start simple, try replacing the water called for in the making of the ramen noodles with chicken, beef or vegetable broth. I suggest doing this for any pasta dish. Boil your pasta in broth, it adds a layer of flavor I know you'll appreciate. If you make homemade mac n cheese, boil your pasta in beef broth. You'll want to eat them all by themselves!
I love saving money and eating fancy. You NEED TO EAT, if you must skimp dollar wise, make sure you aren't cheating yourself out of your dollar and ramen's highest potential; not for the sake of the ramen, but for the sake of the happy feeling your body gets when its been fed well. Even if you can afford to eat more expensive food, if you knew you could make a high end dish at home for under $1, why wouldn't you?
If you've been inspired to try upgrading your ramen, please send me a photo and explain to me what you put in and how you prepared it. Please take care of yourself, and thank you for stopping by. -Morgen