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Monday, May 24, 2010

Ramen for Grown-ups

Augusta, GA - While I'm waiting on my new job to start, I am having fun determining new recipes from common, inexpensive items around the pantry. One if my new favorites combines a famously cheap meal alternative with the free eggs our chickens lay. It's my own skewed version of the many popular "Don" recipes in Japanese restaurants.

Ingredients:

one pkg Ramen noodles, any flavor
one egg
1/2 cup frozen mireaux or other chopped vegetable mixture
one tbsp chopped onion or scallions
1/2 cup frozen, pre-cooked shrimp



In a high-sided skillet or wok, bring the water and spice packet for the Ramen to a boil. Drop in noodles, onion, and frozen ingredients. Stir well. When the Ramen has softened just enough to break its brick shape, crack the egg over the top. After one minute, lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook until egg is your desired consistency. Note: You can crack and scramble the egg before adding to the boiling water, but it doesn't look nearly as impressive. Serve with leftover take-out packets of soy sauce on the side - and if you're feeling fancy, lime wedges. Total cook time: 4-6 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs.

Cost:
- Eggs, free (we highly recommend keeping chickens)
- Ramen, 25 cents per pkg
- Mireaux, $1 per 16 oz bag at Kroger (> 25 cents per serving)
- Shrimp, $5 per bag (> $1 per serving)


Alternatives:
- Raman - exchange for soba noodles, Souper Meal, or rice/crystal noodles. Be aware that many of those do not come with a "flavor packet"; other alternative, any long-grain rice.
- Flavor packet - use chicken broth instead of water, and toss in a little ground ginger and chili powder
- Eggs - you can leave them out, or use egg substitute. You can also chop in a hard-boiled egg.
- Shrimp - lord, you can sub almost anything for this, so long as it's pre-cooked. Try chopped chicken, pork or beef; tilapia, salmon or crab; or scour your fridge for those not-quite-enough-for-a-meal leftovers, like pork chops, steak, fried chicken or other.
- Mireaux - any frozen veggies will do, but frozen edamame is one of my favorite substitutes for just about anything

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