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Patrick Decker

Supermarket Score: Ramen Noodles

“Supermarket Score!” is all about taking a look at the great deals and delicious meals that are hidden in commonly found supermarket items.

I can remember, clear as day, being a kid at my babysitter Kimmy’s house and watching one of the boys across the table from me eat raw ramen noodles with his lunch.  Horror.  Or so I thought with the worldliness of a five year old.

How behind the curve I was on the universal glory of ramen noodles.

Being a college student at culinary school has a way of necessitating some fascinating dorm room inventions, often times with the most classic of college foods – ramen noodles – at the core of it all.  Taking a bit of that alma mater inspiration, check out these four fab ideas to give new life to an old dorm room staple.

COCKTAIL PARTY SNACK MIX

Party mix is one of those funny things that everyone seems to have their own personal spin on.  Some are die-hard “from scratch” people while others are bagged mix all the way.  Whichever way you swing, try adding some crushed up raw ramen noodles to the fold.  They’re tender but provide a great satisfying crunch.  Want to make my version?  Toss together 1 cup corn chips, 1/2 cup raw almonds, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Bake the mixture for 10 minutes at 400ºF and then toss in 1/2 cup wasabi peas; let cool and party on (makes about 3 cups).

TUSCAN-STYLE RAMEN WITH KALE

I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who can say “I need to eat less kale”.  It’s just so good (and good for you)!  Sneak in a bit more by making up a Tuscan-style ramen soup.  Saute 1/2 small onion, 1 clove garlic, and 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary in 2 teaspoons EVOO.  Add in the water and ramen spice packet and finishing preparing per package directions.  Remember – you can always start off with only half of the spice packet and add more as desired.  They tend to be very high in sodium and/or MSG, so feel free to adjust the seasoning to what your palate likes.

PEANUT NOODLES

My husband is obsessed with peanut butter, so peanut noodles are a frequent occurrence at our dinner table.  Next time you’re whipping up your favorite recipe (or taking a little inspiration from Rach) and you find you’re short on noodles, reach for the ramen.  Not only is the texture a blast to eat, they soak up a ton of the flavor and trap all of that delicious sauce in all their nooks & crannies.

LUNCHBOX COMPANION

Coming full circle on all those fated lunch hours at the babysitter’s table, I can finally now see the beauty in the raw ramen noodle.  They’re tender, crunchy, and just plain fun – nothing wrong with having something a little different now & again, right?  Pack a container of crushed up ramen and enjoy them sprinkled over your next lunchbox salad or soup.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food.  Always has.  Probably always will.  As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team on Rachael’s daytime talk show, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night.  You can see what he’s up to by following his latest twEATs on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.


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