Like many collegiettes, I don’t have cash to spare for food. I don’t even have cash to spare for a new binder! But I have a secret to eating well: a case of ramen. Embrace the college-student stereotype and stock up. With a few cheap additions to your dorm-room pantry and mini-fridge, I promise you can create gastronomic masterpieces using ramen noodles as your base.
1. Basic Ramen Noodle Soup
Sometimes—particularly when you have the exam-week sniffles—plain ramen soup is the best-tasting snack since chocolate. My microwave shortcut is to simply put the dry noodles in my water-filled vessel without bothering to boil the water first—a few tests in your microwave will let you know how long to leave your noodles in for. Don’t forget you can control the sodium content of your soup by adjusting the amount of seasoning you add.
2. Buttered Noodles
Instead of adding the flavor packet to make soup, drain your noodles. You now have a base for any number of improvised pasta dishes. Arguably the simplest, buttered noodles (or “I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Buttered noodles) just use the ramen with a dab of butter. It’s a quick and easy change from the monotony of soup.
3. Store-Bought Pasta Sauce
The easiest (and fastest) route to ramen pasta comes in a jar—preferably, the cost-conscious store brand—that you keep in your mini-fridge. The options are nearly endless; I’ve tried marinara, cream-based, and cheese sauces. The curly ramen noodles can be a little unusual, but prove to be a unique and yummy alternative to regular noodles. Don’t forget to grab some parmesan cheese as a topping. It’s worth the investment—remember, it’s likely only you delving into your pasta stash, so the ingredients will go further than they would at home.
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