How to make this classic dorm dish more exciting

By Alex Crozier

It would be difficult to find a college student who is not pressed for time, money, or both. One of the first things to go after leaving the nest is the quality of food college students eat. Ramen packets, microwave mac and cheese, and any number of low cost, low effort foods are a staple of the late teens to early twenties lifestyle. But these carb-packed, penny pinching foods don’t have to be as dingy as people make them out to be. Now’s the time to learn how to add some spice to your boring meals and become a dorm room chef one dish at a time.

Ramen Noodles are a classic anytime meal. Being extremely cheap, flavorful, and a blank slate for additional ingredients. Many people may be in the noodle game for it’s quick and easy nature; your only variety is between the orange and the red packet. But with just a little more intention you can give life to your noodles if you’ve grown tired of ramen.

Making these additions doesn’t change how you cook drastically but there are still a few things to know before diving in. Ramen cooks quickly, so have all of your ingredients read to add before you start cooking anything to avoid overcooking the noodles.

When boiling water, add a couple pinches of salt and put a lid on your pot to get it boiling faster.

Mushrooms are difficult to overcook, so add them in before your noodles to flavor your broth. Green onions on the other hand should be added last so they don’t get slimy.

To pan sear meat, have it at room temp before adding to a hot pan so it cooks fully. Also salt and pat dry before cooking to get a better crust.

Spices alone can really change your ramen for the better if you’re in a pinch.

Adding a combination of these ingredients (and some unique ingredients of your own) will give new life to the same old flavor packet. Possible additions like:

  • Sauces
    • Spicy sriracha
    • Rice vinegar
    • Soy sauce
  • Veggies
    • Mushrooms
    • Green Onions
    • Corn
  • Spices and powders
    • Bouillon powder or broth
    • Chinese five spice
    • Onion powder, garlic powder,
    • Pepper
    • Peanut butter or diced peanuts
  • Proteins
    • Boiled egg
    • Pan fried beef or pork
    • Rotisserie chicken

Once all of your ingredients are added let them simmer for a couple minutes and then serve immediately. Get creative and try out new combinations of flavors, each try only costs about 5 cents.

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