11/4/07

Top Ramen Night

I'm looking forward to tonight. The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror and The Next Iron Chef are both on television tonight. It's also Top Ramen night. First, some background is needed on Top Ramen night. Katie, the oldest sous chef, is a sophomore in high school. As you can imagine college is a frequent dinner conversation. What schools does she want to look at? What does she want to major in? SAT's, PSAT's, ACT's,the list goes on and on. All I think about is how to pay for college and how is she going to get fed? Feeding Katie won't be a problem if she goes to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). We are going to tour the Napa campus this summer. List that under how to make a foodie mom happy. If she decides not to go there, what then?
Katie and I have always talk about when she leaves for school that she won't have enough money to eat like she does at home. She's not talking money to eat out, she's talking about money to purchase ingredients for food. Don't get the wrong idea I have to feed 6-8 people and I do not have an unlimited budget. When I do make things,like risotto, I buy good Arborio rice, cheese, wine, butter, oil, ect. She's afraid she won't be able to eat in the style to which she is accustomed to. That's how Top Ramen night was born. I needed to show her and the other sous chefs how to eat cheap and well and never,ever, under any circumstances order discounted sushi just because it's cheap and you're hungry.
Here's the recipe:
Top Ramen ( we use 5-7 packages)
Leftover Meat ( I like leftover shredded tri-tip or ham) but anything will work. Turkey from Thanksgiving, maybe.
Soy Sauce or Korean Stir-fry sauce or Sriracha
You gotta have at the very least:
green onions (finely chopped)
cilantro ( I like a lot and coarsely chopped)
Things to add:
thinly sliced carrots
cabbage
any veggie you can think of
All you need to do is cook the noodles according to the package but do not add all the seasoning packets. It's yucky, gross, and unhealthy. I only add one packet. When you add the noodles to the boiling water to cook, I would also add the leftover meat. After the noodles are done I add a couple of splashes of soy sauce, a little bit of sriracha, lots of green onion, cilantro, and carrots. I like my carrots thinly sliced so they are crunchy and cook slightly in the broth.It's cheap, because you should be using staples from your fridge (or they should be), leftover meat, and lots of vegetables. We can argue about the affordability of vegetables another time, but where I live, veggies at the farmers market and stands are cheaper than the grocery store. It's a fun and adaptable meal. The kids add what they like and leave out the things they don't. Hopefully, I will have taught them enough things to cook cheaply, that they won't eat discounted sushi.