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Monday, June 3, 2019

Semi-Homemade Cup of Noodles

Somehow, my family got hooked on Cup Noodles instant entrees this past fall and winter. I had bought a case of them at WinCo, and their convenience for single-serve meals and snacks won our hearts. I'm talking about the styrofoam container of noodles and seasonings to which you add boiling water. It's not fancy. However, when I've just walked in the door, and it's about an hour after I normally eat lunch, these hit the spot in a hurry.

We ran out of them a month ago; but I still had most of a case of ramen noodle soup packets, the kind that make a pot of soup to feed 2 people. So, for the last several weeks, we've been making our own Cup Noodles in mugs, using part of a packet of noodles, some of the seasoning packet, additional dehydrated carrot pieces and chives from my garden. We add water to fill and microwave individual servings for a little over a minute. We top these with lentil sprouts or boiled eggs to make a quick but filling meal.

At WinCo, I was paying about 33 cents each for the styrofoam container Cup Noodle product. Ramen soup packets cost me about 20 cents each, when bought in a case from WinCo or 5-pack from Dollar Tree. We get about 2 servings from a packet of ramen soup. That's 10 cents per serving on the noodle and seasoning part of our soups. The dried chives come from our garden. The cost of home dehydrated carrot bits, fresh lentil sprouts, and one egg comes to about 15 cents, bringing the maximum cost for our homemade "cup o' noodles" to about 25 cents. It should be noted that our homemade version is a much more substantial snack or meal than the commercial product.

I don't know if anyone else makes individual servings of ramen from a packet, so I thought I'd share this in case it's helpful to someone else.


Shirley said...

I use the Ramen soup packages often. For just me I make a whole package adding leftover or frozen vegetables and any leftover cooked meat (chicken thigh meat Saturday.) Sometimes it's a whole meal and sometimes I have leftover to reheat. Since I have to watch my sodium intake I use just a portion of the packet or I use Chinese 5-spice or a combination. Yum!

Alice said...

I happen to have a case of ramen in my cupboard that I purchased for the kids during Christmas thinking they would use it. I've been wondering how I can use this. What is the best way to divide the ramen into two? If I could divide it, the dry stuff would go in a container to carry to work and maybe some frozen peas or other veggies in another container and I have a soup bowl at work that I could put it all together and microwave. What a good idea. We've always cooked the ramen on the stove but I am going to try this.


Shirley said...

Alice, I always use the Microwave - you will find that one bowl means easy cleanup. Enjoy! Shirley

Anonymous said...

I think it makes sense to cook a batch of ramen in a big pot, using packages instead of serving individual cups. The only time we buy the cups is when we are away from home.

We are a longtime fan of dressing the ramen with all sorts of ingredients. My absolute favorite is a shrimp tempura topping. I freeze any leftover tempura from our lunch boxes, doesn't have to be fresh and crispy since the soggy drenched panko is part of the enjoyment.

Last night my husband made a ramen soup, but chose to use a packaged Japanese soup base with konbu, to which he added collard greens, egg and tofu. We're just trying to use all the collards in our freezer. I think I prefer the ramen with its own soup base.

Have a good day,

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I missed your point about cooking the packaged ramen in individual mugs in the microwave, instead of using prepacked cup servings. Makes sense since the ramen in packages is almost as instant as the cup ones, and should hydrate sufficiently as the liquid heats up.


Live and Learn said...

When my older son was in college, someone gave him a Ramen noodle cookbook. It was just his speed and he tried a few recipes from it. There was one with ground meat, Rotel tomatoes, and Ramen that was pretty good. That was his dish. He took it to every potluck or similar situation where it was always a hit. Now his thing is rice instead of Ramen and has a few things that his does with it. One in particular that is much like his Raman potluck dish but subs beans for the meat. Now he takes that everywhere when he needs to bring a dish. And it's a hit, also. He has found what works for him.

Alice said...

I was hoping to divide the pkg. in half in its dry state for two meals. One could just sit in a baggie for a couple of days while I lunched on the other half with some extra goodies I could bring from home each day. I probably wouldn't want to make the entire pkg. because then I would have to refrigerate it overnight somewhere.


Lili said...

Hi Alice,
Yes -- on a couple of occasions, I've broken the noodle brick in half and put each half into a baggie, then opened the seasoning packet and put half of the seasoning in each baggie with the noodles. All is just in its dry state while in the baggie, then when I want a cup of noodles, I microwave in a mug. The brick breaks in half or thirds or whatever, very easily. Absolutely no need tor refrigerate overnight this way. Hope this works for you. And if you want to make these lunches more substantial, on a daily basis you could bring in whatever extras you want, like leftover meat, veggies, or a boiled egg.

Lili said...

Hi Shirley,
To reduce the sodium, I will use less of the flavoring packet, then add garlic powder, ginger powder, green onions, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to flavor. The Chinese Five-Spice sounds like it would add a lot of flavor, too. Then, I save whatever is left of the seasoning packet to use in homemade soup another time. If you ever have dried mushrooms, the liquid from rehydrating them is also delicious to add to ramen, without adding sodium.

Lili said...

Exactly. I've found that the ramen noodles are very much like the Cup Noodles ones. They cook up in the microwave pretty well. I'll heat the mug of noodles and water for about 1 minute, allow to sit for two minutes, then microwave again for about 30 seconds. And like Shirley said, it's wonderful to only have a single mug or bowl to clean up afterward.
Your egg, tofu, and collards sounds like delicious additions to ramen. Yum!

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
I love the sound of your son's easy potluck dishes. I can remember being young and single and the ramen, canned tomatoes, and ground beef would have been so easy and wouldn't have depended on me keeping lots of extra seasonings around.

Shirley said...

Great ideas, Lili! And, yes I do save the leftover seasoning to use in other dishes. Thanks!

Making Cents Of It All said...

My son has several fancy ramen recipes that he found online to make it a more filling meal. I throw whatever leftovers I have in it. I usually only use a tiny bit of the seasoning.

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