Upgrading Instant Ramen Noodles

Let’s be real – all college students are pros at making instant noodles. Hell, I can make that dish blacked out, crying and half naked and have it come out looking like Chef Ramsey made it. It’s easy and simple and gets the job done. However, as we all know, as we grow older, our metabolism slowly starts to not be so kind to us anymore and devouring instant noodles is probably not the best habit to rely on.  So, how do we turn this starch-heavy dish into a well-balanced “adult-like” meal?

Let’s take it to the next level

Sever the ties with the MSG Packet.

Only use half of the sodium packet – your blood pressure will thank me later and you really don’t need to use it all to get lots of flavor. If you think it’s still lacking, add other condiments, like our well-beloved friend Sriracha or even honey mustard, to the mix instead.

Get your protein fix

The easiest (and cheapest) option is adding an egg. This can be as simple as dropping an egg into the boiling water in the last 1-2 minutes of the noodle’s cooking time.  You can also get real fancy with pan-frying an egg and placing it on top of the noodles once they are done cooking.

Protip: The sodium and water from the broth combined with an egg are GREAT for hangovers (I can personally attest to this and so can science).

If you’re an avid meat-eater, try adding chicken/pork/beef/whatever choice of meat you like. To do so, cut the meat into thin slices and while the noodles are simmering, drop those bad boys in the hot broth.

Get your greens

We may not like these so much, but in the long-run, you won’t regret eating your veggies. If you’re impatient and/or hangry, try adding some quick-cooking vegetables like spinach or bean sprouts.  If you’ve got some time on your hands, throw some cabbage or snow peas in the mix at the beginning of the cook time for the noodles. Frozen vegetables are also great options but just be sure to defrost them completely prior to including them into the broth.

Get those creative juices flowing and experiment with new ingredients! Anybody else have some ideas to upgrade their instant noodles?

 

Simple and Delicious Challah Bread French Toast

As a brunch staple, French toast is one of those menu items that looks amazing and tastes even better. Who doesn’t love seeing that compote topped, whipped cream laden stack of goodness arrive at their table? My eyes bug out and I get so excited, but then I think to myself, “Hey, I could make the shit out of that French toast and save some money while am at it.” So, from one avid bruncher to another, here’s a recipe that you can make sans the up-charge.

To make 4 thick slices (you can multiply this recipe for as many slices as you desire)…

Ingredients

French toast:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons milk.
  • 1 loaf of Challah bread (you can find this at most grocery stores)
  • 1-2 table spoon(s) butter
  • Powder sugar for garnish

If you’re feeling fancy…

Blueberry sauce:

  • 1 cup blueberries washed and dried
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

  •  In a shallow, flat-bottom pan or container, (I use 9X9 glass pie pan but anything with at least 2.5″ sides and at least 5″W by 6″L would work) beat together first 5 ingredients with a fork or whisk until eggs, milk, and vanilla are well combined and you can see the spices dispersed throughout the mixture.
  • Cut four 1.5″ slices out of your challah loaf.
  • Take the challah you just sliced, and place the slice or slices into the pan/container holding the egg mixture.
  • Let the bread rest in the pan for a minute or so on the first side, then flip the slice(s) the other side, repeating the one minute rest.

MEANWHILE: IF you chose the fancy option:

  • Throw all the ingredients into your smallest pot (aka a saucepan for all you newbs).
  • Bring to boil
  • Turn down your burner to the lowest heat level to let the sauce simmer (Simmering is when the water/sauce/liquid emits only tiny rapid little bubbles. It should look more like it’s frothing than boiling)
  • Let the sauce thicken for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Depending on how thick you like your blueberry sauce, a good test is to dip your spoon into the sauce and raise it out of the saucepan. If the spoon comes out with a nice coating and the drips coming off the spoon are slow and heavy, congratulations! You made blueberry sauce. If it’s too runny, then let it simmer a little longer. This will keep reducing the sauce till it’s the thickness you prefer.

BACK TO THE ACTION:

  • Heat a large flat bottom frying pan, or skillet, on medium/high heat for about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1-2 table spoon(s) butter to pan and letting it melt/ heat for about another 2 minutes.
  • When the butter begins to brown, add your first slice/slices. You want them to have at least a half inch separation in the pan so that they cook evenly.
  • Fry on the first side over medium-high heat for only about 2-3 minutes.
  • A good test is to check frying side of the toast: if it’s a golden-brown tone it’s ready to flip.
  • Repeat on other side.

Once all your bread is fried up, plate as desired with or without the blueberry sauce. Top with powder sugar and serve to your mouth!

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Food Science | Egg-Celent!

Eggs are one of the most complete foods you can find. Think about it, eggs contain everything needed to grow a baby chicken. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and high-quality proteins and low in carbs and fat.

According to dietary research from Saint Louis University, people who consume eggs for breakfast, eat roughly 330 fewer calories daily compared to those who eat cereal, toast, or bagels for their morning meal. 1

‘Complete protein’ – 9 essential amino acids:

Amino acids are the Lego blocks of protein, which make up our body and feed your brain. Of the 23 types of protein-building amino acids, 9 are categorized as “essential”, meaning they cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be obtained via diet. Egg contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, giving you a truly “complete” start to the day.

(http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN30_02%2FS0007114573000267a.pdf&code=45c81aec5471213e3592b187924f0996)

How to Shop for Groceries the Right Way

Now that you’re in the awkward and confusing post-collegiate stage of life, there are certain amenities that you were once accustomed to that aren’t as easily accessible. One that we all cherished (and possibly took for granted) was the meal plan. What a luxury that was. Sure, you can eat out every meal but you should remember that Chipotle has a slim menu, $12 at the grocery store will get you much more than a burrito and a bag of chips, and when you stumble through the door at 2am, you’re going to wish you knew how to cook.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned through trial and error on how to shop for groceries the right way to get into the groove of cooking:

Educate yourself

We are all blessed to be living in this age where unlimited amounts of resources are at our fingertips, so why not be resourceful and use them? Instead of binge-watching It’s Always Sunny on Netflix for the 5th time (guilty), check out some cooking shows and/or food documentaries for some inspiration.  For the left-brained individuals, Good Eats is a great show that explores the scientific technique behind cooking.  Be sure to check out Sorted Food, a popular and fun YouTube cooking channel. My personal favorites are Chef Gordon Ramsay videos on cooking basics. Another way to learn is through cooking blogs (ie: Serious Eats, Taste Spotting, Chow Hound, Food52, The Kitchn, Budget Bytes). And if you like to see Action Bronson stuffing his face, Vice channel, Munchies is a great watch.

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Start small

We all know how daunting it can be to learn how to cook for yourself. That being said, setting small goals can help overcome the anxiety.  I began cooking simple dishes (click here for some 3-ingredient meals) with a weekly target of learning one new dish per week and built my goals (short-term and long-term) up from there.

Have a tentative plan

This might be harder to do since planning requires some forethought and a bit of effort.  Try making a general outline of your meals for the work week – this step can help ease the overwhelming stress of what to cook after a long day at work. Sit down and make a food calendar, what’s for dinner Monday night? What’s for lunch Tuesday-Thursday? If you’re work brings in lunch on Friday, shop accordingly. Meal planning can help you save money and limit the amount of wasted food.

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Most importantly – have fun!

Feeding yourself shouldn’t be a chore. Cooking can be used as a creative outlet and the beauty of it is that there are no “wrong” answers. Food is something that should be enjoyed and the process of creating your own meals can be rewarding and empowering. It’s also a good way to socialize with friends with half the cost (and possibly calories) of eating out!

We promise you too can be this happy.

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Anyone else have any blogs or tips to share? Happy Cooking!