Monday, July 20, 2009

Noodles? Or an opportunity to make something different

There isn’t a person I know who does not like these noodles. They are as common as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti.

The noodles I’m talking about are those packaged noodle soups known as ramen noodles.

Of course, there are different brands but everyone knows or has heard of ramen. These soups are as common a household item as Kleenex, Scotch Tape or Q-tips. So what ever you like to call these little packages of noodle soup, they’re still a good choice for making an inexpensive meal.

One of the common items in my house is a flat of these noodles and they don’t stay around long. The kids will have these as a snack, a quick meal or even a way to exercise creativity in the kitchen. They even eat these things like crackers! They just pop these things open and start crunching them as if they were eating potato chips or pretzels. Not all the time… But when they do I just shake my head and walk away.

..........One thing I like to do is to take a look in the fridge and figure out what I can make. Many times the kids will walk around complaining “there is nothing to eat!” I love it when the kids say that. It gives me an opportunity to show them how to make something from nothing.

I don’t say anything; I just walk into the kitchen and start pulling things out of the fridge or pantry and get to work. One particular day I decided the ramen noodle would be a good start. So I whipped up a simple soup meal. In a matter of minutes one or more of the kids will come by just to see what I am doing. One of them will ask.

“Dad, what are you doing?”

Typically, I respond by saying, “Oh, nothing, just throwing some things together.”

The response will always be something like. “Dad’s making ‘who-flung-what’ again!”

It’s a standing joke in my house. Every now and then I’ll tell the kids I’m cooking Chinese food …I call it ‘Who-flung-what’ J

Anyway, after many years of doing this the kids have learned not to wait. When they hear me in the kitchen they ask if there is enough for them!

My youngest son did me proud. After seeing me cook a ramen noodle meal he came up with his own recipe. He even wrote it down on a blank recipe card my wife had in her Longaberger recipe basket. Good for him!

These ramen noodle meals don’t have to be anything special. Just a little bit of a few items and you can walk away from the stove proud of your work. So here is an idea to get you started:

Try this one for yourself before you decide to cook some up for the family.

Here is how I did it:

½ half of a small onion

1 tblsp Olive oil

1 clove of Garlic

1 packet of Ramen noodle soup (whatever flavor you like)

¼ cup of mixed vegetables

½ tsp basil

½ tsp Dill

1 slice of cheese

(White American or Provolone)

1 slice of butter

A pinch of dried parsley

Consider this a basic starting point. The variations are as wide as your imagination. I usually crush the noodles in the packet before I open it. The full block unbroken produces cooked noodles that are longer than I can stand.

............I generally keep a bag of frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer at all times. These are good for a wide assortment of meal “additives”, the ramen meal is just one example.

Before you cook the noodles chop up the onion and garlic. Cook them in olive oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer) right in the pot your going to use for cooking the soup.

You don’t have to cook these in a frying pan. Just cook them in the pot you’re going to use.

I like my garlic to be a little brown and my onions to be cooked until they start to look clear around the edges.

(This is usually about the time the kids start sniffing around to see what’s up. The smell of the onions cooking draws them like bees to honey.)

When the onions and garlic are finished cooking add the basil, dill and the water for the noodles. Also, add the noodles and the veggies.

............Let them cook together. When it looks like the noodles are about done, throw in the butter.

............Cook it all a little more and once you’re satisfied the noodles are done, pour your ramen in a bowl and put the slice of cheese on top.

Put it aside with a plate on top and let the steamy noodle soup melt the cheese. Once the cheese has melted or become soft, sprinkle the parsley on top. (Just to make it look nice)

You’re done. Enjoy!

I usually prefer Creamy chicken but a friend came by and I cooked up this same recipe using the beef flavor. I took a snapshot of it with my cell phone so you could see what it looked liked.

How does .71 cents sound?

The pack of noodles cost .16 cents

The mixed Veggies were $4.48 for a 5lb bag with 26 servings. A serving is 2/3 cup .... I used ½ cup or .12 cents worth

Pre-Sliced Provolone cheese was $1.50 for 18 slices .... I used 1 slice or .08 cents worth

Onions cost $2.38 for a bag of six or .40 each. Every bag has onions of different sizes and I used half a small one... so I am calling the price .15 cents

Olive oil cost $5.92 for a 25.5 oz bottle holding 59 servings. Each servings is 1 tblsp. or .10 cents

I'm calling the price for the spices to be about .10 cents

So the math works out at:

.16 noodles

.12 veggies

.08 cheese

.15 onion

.10 olive oil

.10 spices

.71 a bowl

(Check out the videos at the bottom of the page. A couple of these are wacky so have fun with them.)


  1. You have inspired me to experiment with food again. I decided to try embellishing on a simple chicken noodle soup. It turned out pretty good. Just added some carrots, green beans, okra, green pepper,and potatoes. A few of my favorite spices and MMMMMMMMMMMM!!!
    I did discover that some of the veggies cook at different time limits so that should be taken into consideration. If I do it again, I will cook the veggies first and then add the soup and noodles to cook. The noodles mushed because I put them in with everything else at the same time.
    Thanks Russ! I appreciate your inspiration.

  2. Thanks for the comment Martha.
    I'm glad to hear you have rediscovered the fun in being creative and letting your imagination have its way!
    You bring up a good point about cooking. The ingredients that take the longest to cook should be started first. I hope your inspiration keeps you going and that you find some smart ways to save some money while doing it.

  3. Russ, How many does this serve? Two?

  4. Drew,
    Thanks for asking. The bowl of soup you see is a serving for one. It holds 2 cups of fluid. Consider it to be the same as if you made yourself a bowl of ramen with some extra ingredients. I hope this helps.

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