A bowl of ramen noodles is the quintessential meal for college students on a budget, but the conventional packaged version can get old easily. With a few extra ingredients and some creativity, you can transform packages of ramen from salty to spectacular.
After cooking a package of ramen noodles, drain any excess broth. Add chopped carrots and sliced onions to the noodles and let the residual heat soften the vegetables. Once softened, wrap the noodles and vegetables in leaves of iceberg lettuce and garnish with sesame ginger dressing. To add protein to the meal, serve with a side of edamame.
Create your favorite mix of greens and vegetables using uncooked noodles. As an alternative to croutons, break up the noodles and sprinkle them over a bowl of spinach or romaine lettuce. Mix three tablespoons of apple juice and two tablespoons of oil with the ramen seasoning packet to create a simple salad dressing. Drizzle the mixture over the salad for a refreshing twist on a once-boring bowl of greens.
Discard the seasoning packet in this recipe to avoid a high sodium intake. To keep the noodles flavorful, use low-sodium vegetable broth in place of water when cooking. Toss in microwave-steamed broccoli, bagged spinach and grated carrots for healthy nutrients. For a balanced meal, add slices of grilled chicken to the lo mein noodles.
Crispy chicken tenders
Combine Ramen noodles with flour to make delicious baked chicken. Break apart the noodles and combine with crushed croutons and half of the seasoning packet. Mix beaten egg and flour with the noodle mixture. Roll chicken tenders in the Ramen breading before placing in the oven. After the coating has browned and the chicken has cooked thoroughly, serve with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables.
To create a skillet noodle pizza, cook and drain a package and a half of any Ramen noodle soup. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add noodles to the skillet and cook until browned. Spread one-third of a cup of tomato sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with cheese, oregano and your choice of toppings. Let the pizza cool for five minutes before cutting it into slices.
A version of this article appeared in the Jan. 28 print edition. Mary Hornak is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.