Ramen: it's not just for starving college kids!
I'm pretty sure ramen seasoning packets contain similar ingredients as embalming fluid, but darn its tasty! And its easy. Of course, by itself, it has the nutritional value of cardboard (and cheap cardboard at that). But, if you throw in some leftover meat and frozen veggies, you've got a quick and easy dish you can call "chow mein" and people will think its real food :)
Start by preparing 2 packs of ramen noodles according to the directions on the package, but don't mix in the seasoning packets (henceforth referred to as "Magical Ramen Powder"). Just boil some water, cook the noodles until they're soft, then drain them completely.
Next, chop 1/2 an onion. Heat about 3-4 Tbs of oil in a skillet, and saute your onion until they start turning transluscent. While they're cooking, you can start chopping your meat. I usually use leftover roast (sometimes steak) - just cut off a hunk, remove any fat, and then chop it into bite size pieces:
Throw this in the pan with your onion and let it all simmer for a couple of minutes and get yummy. If you don't have leftover roast, you can use any kind of beef - steak or london broil would work ok, slice it small and cook it with the onions.
Next, add some veggies. I usually just use about 1/3 bag of frozen mixed veggies, and/or anything hiding in the fridge that needs to get used. Carrots, celery, peppers, peas, pea pods... whatever you've got. I forgot I had green onions in the fridge until I sat down to eat, but I think those would have been delicious! If using frozen, I usually throw them in the microwave for about 1 minute to thaw them a little and make things go faster.
Throw your veggies in the pan with the meat and onions. This time I had frozen peas, carrots, corn and green beans from a bag, plus some extra carrot coins I froze a while back when I had an overabundance of carrots. Mix everything and let it cook until the veggies are warm and tender, but still have a little crispiness to them.
Now, add in your cooked noodles and Magical Ramen Powder:
Mix it all up to evenly distribute the Magical Ramen Powder, and make sure everything gets coated in the oil (it adds to the yumminess). Once everything's mixed and heated through, you are ready to chow (mein) down! Sorry, I couldn't help it :)
Since going frugal, we hardly ever eat out or get take out anymore, but sometimes I get an absolute craving for greasy Chinese food (I am a Ninja). This dish hits the spot everytime!
This works well with chicken too, just use chicken flavored ramen instead of beef.
Easy Beef Chow Mein
- 2 packages beef ramen noodles with seasoning
- 3-4 Tbs cooking oil
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1-2 cups (approximate) leftover roast beef or steak, chopped
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- Prepare ramen noodles according to package, reserving seasoning packets
- Drain noodles completely and set aside
- Heat oil in skillet
- Saute onions in oil until transluscent
- Add meat to pan, heat through
- Add vegetables to pan, cook until vegetables reach desired tenderness
- Add noodles and contents of seasoning packets to pan
- Mix thoroughly and heat through
Makes 2-3 servingsWant more great frugal meal ideas? Check out the $5 Dinner Challenge!