If you’re anything like me, you’re looking to save a little bit of money throughout the week. One of the best ways to save money is to cut your costs, and one of the easiest places to cut costs is how much money you spend on food per week. Now, there’s the obvious, like cutting down how much you go out to eat on a weekly or monthly basis, but there’s the less obvious, too, like switching out one night a week for popcorn and movie night, or going meatless for a day.
We eat a lot of ramen at our house. It’s cheap, it’s easy to make, and it can be re-purposed so many ways. Maybe you’re a broke college student surviving off of instant noodles and you’re looking to add some variety. Or, maybe you’re just the average person looking to switch out a meal or two a week for a cheaper option, but don’t want to sacrifice taste and health. Well, check out these amazing ramen recipes! They take a packet of ramen just that one step further to make it a satisfying and downright delicious meal.
Stir Fry Ramen
We do this one a lot. Stir fry is probably one of the cheapest, easiest meals out there. It’s perfect when you have a lot of leftover vegetables that you don’t know what to do with, or that little bit of frozen veggies in the back of your freezer that are in danger of being freezer-burned. Save them by turning them into stir fry! It literally takes minutes. This recipe’s got a distinct Asian flair with the mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and cilantro, but stir fry is so easy to customize. Almost all of the ingredients are interchangeable, so you can make it with whatever’s in your cupboards! Here’s the recipe.
Pad Thai Ramen
Unlike some of the other recipes in this post, this isn’t a soup. It’s the poor man’s pad thai. It combines really inexpensive ingredients into something tasty. Bonus points if you used leftover veggies to make it! This one’s a favorite at our apartment. When we’re in a bind for a little bit of protein, but it’s not meat day, we usually do one of two things: we make tofu stir fry, or ramen pad thai. It might not be a lot of protein, but the a little bit of peanut butter goes a long way!
We usually make it with a package of frozen vegetables (usually around $1 or $2 a bag, and we only use half of it in one go) and our favorite brand of peanut butter and a little bit of sriracha. It tastes great, and barely cost a thing, and it’s super college friendly. Here’s the recipe.
Winter Chicken Ramen
Now, this recipe calls for a few unusual ingredients that can be easily substituted for something cheaper or more familiar. Simply substitute the fresh ramen noodles for the instant kind, and the chicken demi-glace for some chicken stock and you’ve got a beautiful chicken ramen recipe! The beauty of this recipe is that it’s extremely customizable. You can switch out the vegetables for whatever kind of veggies you would prefer, including, but not limited to: green peppers, bok choy, kale, nori, radishes, and whatever else you can think of. Vegetables add a little bit of texture and bulk to your ramen noodles, so don’t be afraid of them! Get the recipe here.
Chicken Miso Ramen
Miso is a traditional Japanese soup base made from fermented soybeans and Dashi (fish) stock. It’s actually really tasty. It’s normally served with green onions, tofu, and seaweed, but the soup base can take your packet of instant noodles to a whole new level. This recipe switches out the fish stock for chicken stock, and adds succulent pieces of chicken breast, meaty shiitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, mirin (Japanese cooking wine), and soy sauce to make this an all-round tasty, comforting soup that isn’t anything to sniff at. Does it sound amazing? It is! Get the recipe here.
Beef Noodle Ramen
Okay, but this one is just gorgeous. Beef ramen may be one of my favorite flavors, and this recipe just kills it. It’s very comforting and warming, packs a punch in the protein department, and won’t cost you very much. I usually buy whatever is the cheapest cut of beef at the store and marinate it to juicy goodness before I cook it. Especially when you’re not eating the meat on its own, even the cheapest cut can still be really tasty in a soup. For us, that’s skirt steak most days. But whatever it is for you, choose that.
The beauty of this recipe is that it doesn’t require a lot of meat, so you can use maybe half or less of what you’ve bought (especially if you’re cooking for one or two people), pop the rest in the freezer, and have this again sometime. This recipe combines garlic, carrots, sriracha, celery, onions, steak, and a perfectly boiled egg with your instant ramen that will keep you coming back for more. Here’s the recipe.