Gallery: Ramen Hacks: 30+ Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Instant Noodles

As a half-Japanese kid in the ’80s, I grew up eating instant ramen at least once a week, and it still holds a special place in my gut. That said, my tastes have changed and expanded considerably over the years, and sometimes that little flavoring packet just isn’t enough. As such, I’ve spent a lot of time devising ways to upgrade my ramen in cheap, easy ways. Ghetto gourmet, if you will.

Faux Pho

Cook the noodles according to package directions, using only half of the seasoning packet. To the broth, add the juice of 1 lime, a tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, and a good pinch of pepper flakes (if desired). Transfer to a serving bowl then add 1 to 2 ounces thinly sliced flank steak (it’ll cook in the broth), a handful of bean sprouts, and some mixed herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, as desired).

Faux Pho

Source: Gallery: Ramen Hacks: 30+ Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Instant Noodles

Another variation of the recipe, with rice added …looks good!

Apples Artichokes Asparagus

Amanda and I were talking about soups today.  I suggested that she might like to try making this delicious and simple Turkish Red Lentil Soup.  It is one of my favorite soups, and comes together very quickly without any extra steps of pureeing, putting through a sieve, or peeling lots of vegetables.  Red lentils have a nice flavor and texture. They are generally available at natural foods stores, but you can also find red lentils in Indian groceries or in the Indian section of a large supermarket.

This recipe is from the New York Times, May 10, 1995.  It accompanied an article about dishes being prepared for the James Beard Food Awards, for which a Mediterranean theme was planned.  This soup, adapted from Sultan’s Kitchen restaurant in Boston, was on the menu.  It is a great soup for a cold day.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

2 cups red lentils

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Turkish Red Lentil Soup | Whole Foods Market

Turkish Red Lentil Soup | Whole Foods Market.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup (about 8 ounces) red lentils, picked through and rinsed
7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
Lemon wedges and chopped mint for serving (optional)

Method:

In a large pot, combine lentils, broth, onion, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, cumin and cayenne and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables and very tender and lentils begin to fall apart, about 25 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to quickly blend the soup until it is creamy but not completely puréed. Or, you can carefully blend about half the soup in a blender, but use caution when blending hot liquids: blend only in small batches, hold the lid down firmly with a kitchen towel, and begin blending on low speed. Add salt and serve with lemon wedges and a garnish of mint if desired.

Nutritional Info:

Per Serving:200 calories (10 from fat), 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 12g protein

via Turkish Red Lentil Soup | Whole Foods Market.