With special thanks to Morgan St.Jean, Justine Lee, Casey Frantom, Renata Tirta, John Clancy, Brian Richardson, and the Review staff for their contributions to this list.
College students and ramen noodles seem to go hand-in-hand. They are cheap and easy to prepare, but many have played that game and are probably sick of it by now. Here are a few ideas I, and your peers, have come up with as ways to re-create the traditional ramen dish. Ramen is also a great tool to use as a substitute in many of your favorite dishes.
A lot of the ideas sound crazy, but sometimes crazy is awesome. With a little creative energy, a cheap dish becomes a delicacy. So break outside the instructions, and think of something new. These ideas will get your noodle flowing.
1. Drain the noodles prior to adding the seasoning packet; recommended use with beef flavoring
2. Once the water has boiled, add in enough soy sauce to change the color of the water to a golden brown. Add rice vinegar and sesame oil with the flavor packet, if desired. Cook until done. Also, add some bean sprouts, fresh diced garlic, green onions, etc
3. Prison Burrito: Prepare noodles as directed, drain and put into a zip-top bag. Throw in cheese and finely chopped veggies of your choice and seal. Roll bag so it forms the shape of a burrito. Let bag sit for 10 minutes. Remove from bag and enjoy.
4. Poor Man’s Sandwich: Boil noodles, drain and add seasoning packet and 1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter. Place noodle mixture between two slices of bread.
5. For an extra crunch, toss ramen into a fresh salad.
6. Prepare as directed on the bag.
7. Cook as directed, but about three minutes before it is done, add an egg to the water and let the hot water cook the egg until poached.
8. Break up the ramen into four pieces and place inside a large square of tin-foil. Add in an inch of water, shrimp, green onions, soy sauce and sesame oil. Wrap the tin-foil up around the ramen, leaving enough room for steam to escape. Put in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through and noodles have reached desired tenderness.
9. Prepare as package recommends. Once the seasoning packet is added and the desired amount of liquid is obtained, add a can of mixed vegetables, let the water heat them through and enjoy.
10. Since ramen is particularly tasteless when uncooked, add them to the top of your favorite cake-like dessert for an extra crunch.
11. Add cooked ground beef to the prepared ramen. Best with beef-flavored ramen.
12. Use ramen noodles as a replacement for spaghetti noodles. Prepare your favorite spaghetti sauce and meat balls, if desired. Use the seasoning packet to add extra flavor to the meat.
13. Add broken-up ramen to your prepared snack mix. For an extra special treat, spread snack mix evenly on a baking sheet and broil for five minutes.
14. Experiment with ramen noodles from different countries. They run roughly the same price as the ones we are used to getting, and most stores carry them in the ethnic section.
15. Have ramen for breakfast. Prepare 2 slices of bacon and set aside. Cook ramen as directed sans flavor packet, while the ramen cooks, add 2 eggs and cook until poached, about three minutes. Remove eggs and drain ramen. Plate the ramen and place eggs on top, poking them to let the yoke drain onto the noodles. Add your favorite shredded cheese and the crumbled bacon.
16. Use as noodles in your favorite stir-fry.
17. Before opening the package, break up the noodles into really small pieces. Toss the flavor packet. Fry noodles on stove-top with vegetable oil, shaking the pan constantly so you don’t burn the noodles. Add desired amount of brown sugar. Serve on French vanilla ice cream, drizzled with your favorite ice cream syrup.
18. Ramen cheeseburger pie: Prepare noodles as directed, sans seasoning packet. Drain noodles, put half in the bottom of a pie pan. In a skillet, brown ground beef, onions and mushrooms with season packet and vegetable oil. Drain excess fat. Pour meat mixture over the noodles. Place remaining noodles on top of the meat mixture. In a bowl, combine 1 egg and parmesan cheese, brush over top of noodles. Bake in 350-degree oven until noodles have become crispy on top and it is heated through.
19. Mix with your favorite acrylic paint color. Apply to canvas surface to achieve an impasto-like texture.
20. Break up noodles in package before opening, making sure the pieces are really small. Dump onto a plate. On another plate, add 3 beaten eggs. Cover final plate in flour, use a fork to mix in the contents of the flavor packet. Take thawed chicken strips and place in egg, crushed ramen, then in flour. Cook in olive oil in a heavy skillet until done.
21. Add sautéed Spam and soy sauce to your prepared-as-directed ramen.
22. For those of you that love to use a crock-pot add chicken, your favorite spices, vegetables and seasoning packet mixed with 1 cup water to the pot. Add in 2 more cups of water and cook for eight hours on low or until vegetables and chicken are tender. Add ramen noodles, cover, cook for another 10-12 minutes.
23. Add crushed noodles, prepared as directed, to your favorite tuna or chicken salad.
24. Make a ramen pizza. Prepare noodles as directed, minus the flavor packet. Drain and spread noodles over pizza pan. Add your favorite toppings and cover with shredded cheese. Cook in 400-degree oven until cheese is melted and noodles are crispy.
25. Experiment by mixing different ramen flavors together, such as oriental and beef.
26. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add noodles and cook for two to three minutes then drain. Heat 1 Tbsp. cooking oil in a frying pan, add diced onion and noodles. Once the onions have started to crisp, add half of the seasoning packet. Beat one egg and mix in with the noodles, stirring while egg cooks. Top with sriracha sauce.
27. Make a creamy chicken noodle soup by heating one can of cream of chicken soup and cooked, drained noodles. Leave the flavor packet out.
28. Ramen-Foo-Yung: Crush ramen noodles, prepare as directed and set aside. Chop onions, peppers and mushrooms. Sautée with soy sauce until mushrooms are tender. Add vegetable mixture to noodle mixture and form into 4-inch patties. Fry in vegetable oil until browned on both sides. Serve on bed of bean sprouts, topped with brown gravy.
29. Add hot water to a spray bottle. Open package of ramen and spray with hot water, enough so that you can pull apart the noodles. The interesting, crimped shape and intermingling of the noodles can add a decorative touch to any plate.
30. Amp up tomato soup by adding cooked ramen noodles and chopped vegetables.
31. Break into nuggets and place outside of door. This will alert you of intruders.
32. Add red food coloring to boiled, uncrushed noodles, without adding the flavor packet. Let sit for one hour in fridge or until noodles have soaked up the water. Place in bowl to represent brains for Halloween decorations.
33. Oriental Cole Slaw: In large bowl, add 1 lb. prepared coleslaw mix, 6 chopped green onions, 2 packages crushed ramen noodles, 1 cup slivered almonds and 1 cup sunflower seeds. In small bowl, combine 2 flavor packets, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Pour over coleslaw mix and let chill for two hours.
34. For a lightweight hiking snack, open ramen package and sprinkle seasoning packet into bag. Eat.
35. Soaked in liquid for a long period of time, the noodles become soggy and not so pleasant. Add these and a variety of other items such as fish, toothpaste and tomatoes and blend. Dare a drunk friend to drink this rather disturbing concoction.
36. Make a bird feeder by spreading peanut butter over the entire surface of the uncooked ramen then roll in seeds of your choice. Hang outside with string.
37. Switch up your favorite lasagna recipe by replacing cooked ramen noodles for each of the noodle layers in your recipe.
38. Boil noodles, add soy sauce and 2 cloves of crushed garlic, cook for two minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped broccoli and cook another two minutes. Add 6-8 frozen cooked shrimp. Cook until shrimp is heated through. Garnish with green onions and top with sriracha sauce.
39. Prepare ramen as directed with chicken season packet. For an extra zing add garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, ground red pepper and a dash of taco seasoning.