Ramen Recipes for the Struggling Student or Starving Artist

Ah, to be young, beautiful and broke…it’s just as fabulous and simultaneously horrible as it sounds. Over the past five years, I’ve watched my 20-something peer demographic search for careers in a dismal job market, struggle to pay off student loans, cringe at climbing rent and gas prices, all while desperately trying to justify $17 cocktails at the newest Hollywood hot spot. It’s rough out there!

Ramen noodles have been slammed with a bad reputation, commonly associated only with starving students and the nutrition label illiterate. But, the ranks of the broke and hungry are well aware that five packets of Ramen go for $1.00 at most local grocery stores. That’s dinner, Monday through Friday, for the change you find the pockets of your favorite jeans come laundry day! Although, I can’t say I’m an advocate for slurping sodium saturated noodles five times a week, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

Through years of starving artist wages, culinary experimentation, and long hours slaving over a boiling pot of noodles, I’ve concocted an array of Ramen recipes to make these noodles more interesting. If you love Ramen, or need to eat it a few times a week on months when you forgot to factor your Time Warner Cable bill into your budget, you can add these recipes into the mix and turn ordinary noodles into a $0.20 masterpiece.

1. Oodles of Noodles Ramen

What you’ll need:

-Ramen & Flavor Packet
-1 cup Frozen peas, corn and/or broccoli
-1/2 cup shredded chicken (optional)

Directions: Cook the Ramen noodles, but instead of eating it soup-style, drain the water. Now, you’re left with a heap of bare noodles just waiting to be decorated. Add in your desired Ramen flavor packet, and 1 cup of frozen peas and corn. For all of you non-vegetarians, mix in ½ cup of shredded chicken, stir and enjoy!

2. Protein Packed Ramen

What you’ll need:

-Ramen & Flavor Packet
-One Whole Egg
-1/2 cup shredded chicken

Directions: Prepare the Ramen as normal, but when water is boiling and the noodles are almost completely cooked, crack the egg into the pot. Stir the egg into the noodles with a fork. Add in the flavor packet, and throw in ½ cup of shredded chicken. Stir again.

3. Poor Man’s Pad Thai Ramen

What you’ll need:

-Ramen noodles (no flavor packet)
-1/3 cup peanut satay sauce
-Red chili flakes
-3 TBSP crushed peanuts

Directions: Cook the Ramen noodles as usual, then drain the water. Do not add the flavor packet. Instead, add 1/3 cup of peanut satay sauce and stir. Add the red chili flakes to taste, and top the noodles with another 3 tablespoons of crushed peanuts. Garnish with a slice of lime, if you’re feeling extra saucy.

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