Saturday, May 28, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

If you need inspiration for dinner, and the supplies on hand are limited, I can honestly say that a hearty breakfast for dinner is a great choice.  My children seem to think it's a treat to be served their favorites in the evening, and for me, the prep is much easier at the end of the day, than first thing in the morning!

Some favorites:
French Toast
Bacon and Eggs
Egg Sandwiches
Tortilla Egg Skillet Dishes
Breakfast Burritos
Eggs and Potatoes

I'm sure there are many other such breakfasts that you can brainstorm, but the nice thing is that, along with being hearty, these are all pretty cost effective (excluding the bacon, of course...I can't believe the prices these days!).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ramen Creativity

Top Ramen isn't known for any great nutritional value.  However, as a time saver, it's one of the tops.  I have a couple of slick tricks for making a Top Ramen meal a little more satisfying, and for cutting some of the sodium in the process.

Tip #1:  Poach Eggs in Your Ramen

I know it sounds a little weird.  I actually discovered this trick when I was in the home of an Asian friend.  Not only were eggs included in the soup, but interesting vegetables, as well.  The broth was prepared, with vegetables.  Eggs were slipped into the pot, where they poached.  Noodles were added last, to keep them from getting too mushy.

I don't worry as much about the noodles.  The kids (except for my most picky eater) love the eggs in the soup.  My challenge is keeping them whole, and not putting in too many.  I boil my water, add the seasoning packets and noodles, and get the pot back to a boil.  Then, I shut the burner off, and work quickly to break the eggs, and get them into the soup.  Cover tightly, and leave it for a few minutes.  If any of the eggs hasn't poached well, I spoon hot broth over, to finish up. 

***Note on the seasoning packets that come with your Top Ramen...I use a ratio of 1 packet seasoning to 2 packages of Ramen Noodles...there's still plenty of flavor, not as much of the sodium.

Tip #2:  Ramen in a Stir Fry

I enjoy stir-fried veggies, and Ramen Noodles can be a nice companion to a stir fry.  Boil the water, lightly cook the noodles, until just tender.  Don't over cook.  Drain the noodles.  Transfer to a skillet or wok, in which olive oil has been heated, preferably with a little crushed garlic, and diced onion.  Lightly fry the noodles, add a few dashes of soy sauce, toss well, and remove from heat.  Serve as is, or serve stir-fried veggies over your noodles.

You can also incorporate the DRY Ramen Noodles into your stir fry, adding a little liquid, if needed, for the noodles to cook in. 

Many people use Top Ramen as a budget stretching food, and others keep this item on hand just for the sake of convenience.  These are just a couple of ways to put the noodles to work for you.