I'm always in search of dinners that are quick, easy, and cheap. As much as I love spending time in the kitchen preparing a meal, sipping a glass of wine, and listening to Leonard Cohen sing to my melancholy soul, I don't always have hours on end. And I do love a bargain. Ramen noodles are a bargain. (Duh.) I made a meal out of them the other night, with things I already had in my kitchen.
Do you follow David Lebovitz on Facebook? Do it. He's a lot of fun, and posts some great recipes and ideas, like putting peanut butter in ramen noodles. I looked around my kitchen, did a little dumpster diving, and came up with a plan.
Our oldest son is away at school, and my husband and I were going out for dinner (ergo, my rush to prepare a meal for the kids, so I could prepare my face and hair for public viewing), so there were only two mouths to feed. This dish could be multiplied easily, though.
How I Made Peanut Butter Ramen Noodles
First I prepared two packets of ramen (four minutes, $2, because I had the fancy ramen from Whole Foods). I stirred in one tablespoon of peanut butter for each pack of noodles (ten seconds, maybe 25 cents). I steamed half a bag of frozen broccoli while the noodles were cooking (same four minutes, $2), and added that to the pot with half a sliced red pepper (sliced during the four minutes, $1), two chopped green onions (50 cents), and a drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce (ten seconds, 25 cents each — probably less), and topped it with chopped peanuts (50 cents) I found in the fridge and a sprig of cilantro (five cents).
Though it would increase the price, chicken would be a nice addition, and you might still be able to make it for less than ten dollars. This dish came in well under the ten-dollar mark, and I was using mostly organic, more-expensive-than-average ingredients. On a tighter budget? This could come in under five dollars.
Don't know about you, but I have eaten a lot of "ten-for-a-dollar" ramen in my day. This recipe is also a great one for solo diners — perfect comfort food after a long day at work or school.
→ More on ramen: 3 Ways Instant Ramen Noodles Can Become a Real Meal
This one is definitely going into our regular rotation. In fact, full disclosure, I made it again the next night. The kids loved it, as did the adults. Total win. Even fuller disclosure: I have leftovers from that second night, and plan to make a frittata with them for the kids tonight, because we're going out again. I'm not sure how that's going to taste. I'll let you know in the comments.
Got any cheap, easy dinner ideas? Please share!