The Ramen Competition…

It is time for a College Survival Recipe and after that a Challenge to you the reader.  Might as well make this a little fun and give you an idea for how to have some fun with friends and family, or at least at their dietary expense.  The ingredient, one that we all love and hate: Ramen Noodles… The simple part of the challenge is to make them eatable.  More on that later.  Either way, love them or hate them, for a broke college student or young adult or in our house a teenager’s staple, they provided a mean to “survive” many days.  While some will argue that survival is a pretty liberal term used here, Ramen does stave off pangs of hunger.

The recipe provided here is not the traditional Ramen Soup as seen on the package.  Below I provide a list of ingredients to add and a different way to cook the noodles.  In college I did not have these added ingredients, so although this is a Ramen dish, you may argue that it is not much of a college dish.  The method of cooking is strictly a college application as that is when I was taught this way of preparing a noodle dish.  Therefore I call it college because of the base ingredient Ramen.  Do I call it Ramen Gourmet?  NO WAY!

The Ingredients

Ingredeints
Ingredients used in cooking

So where did this combination of ingredients come from?  Easy this is from having some leftovers in the fridge and not wanting to eat them in the same way again and seeing what was available in the kitchen.  The ingredients:

  • Ramen (2) – On this day Chicken Flavored, used both flavor packets
  • Water
  • Toasted Sesame Oil (Hot)
  • Diced Onion
  • Garlic Powder (Optional) – I like minced garlic but didn’t have on hand.
  • Soy Sauce (Optional) – Was in the fridge.
  • Cooked Chicken Strips (2) – Diced, Seasoned?

So we had a couple of chicken strips left over from a couple of nights before.  Just so you know the amount of chicken was about 1/3 of a breast piece.  The chicken is spiced with some rub and grilled on a George.  I have found that a citrus-cilantro rub on the chicken actually enhances this recipe.  It really doesn’t matter how or if the chicken is seasoned.

There are some optional ingredients listed above and below in the garnish section.  They are strictly a personal taste issue.  Really everything but the Ramen could be considered optional if you wanted, but I kind of like this dish.

Tools Used

I used the following items while cooking:

  • Stove top
  • Skillet
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Bowl & Fork

Cooking

Sauté Onions in Oil
Sauté Onions to desired level

Start off by adding a little oil to your skilled and put it on to heat.  Again you don’t need the oil I used but it does add a good flavor.  You could use a little olive or vegetable oil instead.  While the oil and skillet is getting hot dice up the onion.  As you can see in the picture you don’t have to have a fine dice on the onions.  Once diced add to skillet and sauté as desired.   For me I like to have the onion translucent.

 

 

 

Cook Started
Ramen, Garlic & Soy added to the skillet

Once you have the sauté on the onion take the skillet to the sink and add water.  This is where it gets a little subjective on the amount.  I have never measured the amount.  I add enough water to where it is about 2/3 of the thickness of the Ramen.  This will vary based on the size of your skillet so it may take some trial and error on your part.  The good thing about it is that it really doesn’t matter much.  So don’t worry about it.  Relax.  Put the skillet back on the stove top and turn up the heat to high.  Add the Ramen and their flavor packets to the water.  Also add garlic powder and soy sauce to taste… well to match your tastes since you will not really be tasting at this point.

 

Cooking
Cook down until Ramen Soft

While the water is heating up to a boil you can dice the chicken.

Once the Ramen begin to soften a little in the water flip them.  Let them cook a little bit more so that they become loose.  When you can start stirring them around in the water do so.  This will mix them with the water and added seasoning.  You will continue cooking the noodles until most of the water has either been absorbed into the noodles or boiled off.  For me I like this dish to be mostly dry so I do not leave if very soupy in the skillet.  Again this is a personal issue and may take you some trail and error.

 

Add Chicken
Add the chicken to Ramens

After boiling off most of the water add the chicken to the dish.  I then stir in the chicken so that it become thoroughly heated and the last bit of water, that I wish to have removed from the skillet, boils off.  This should not take more than 30 seconds to a minute, but don’t worry if you want to do it for longer or decide to boil off more water.

Once heated and fully mixed slide the mixture into a bowl for eating.  As you can see it is not really soup anymore, but a noodle dish, so I use a fork to eat my Ramen.

 

Add-ons

Sriracha
Finishing Touch

Season how you like.  I like a little more spice in mine so I add Sriracha.  It really is up to you and what you have available to add.  Some suggestions include:

  • Sriracha
  • Green Onion
  • Crushed Peanuts (Note, I have added peanuts in the cook before and I like them that way too.)
  • Crushed Cashews
  • Soy Sauce
  • Citrus Juice (Lemon or Lime)
  • Etc.

I like adding the nuts to the top as a garnish because it adds a little crunch to the dish.  I just didn’t have any this day.

Eat!

Season Serve
Add Seasoning and Serve

Challenge

OK, so here is a challenge.  Get some Ramen packages and invite your friends to your house for a cooking challenge.  Hand them each a package and tell them they have to use both the noodles and flavor packet completely, but otherwise can add whatever they can find to enhance the dish.  Figure out your own “Chopped” rules or timing schedule for use of the kitchen. Sit back and enjoy the results.  Of course you will have to have some ingredients they can use.  Can’t really throw them at a fridge with only a few condiment packages and beer in it… That is the typical college fridge though so maybe that is a good challenge.

Dining

If you liked this recipe please let us know in the comments.  If you try it and figure out new ways to make it better please let us know.  We would love to enhance our own creations.

So sit back, relax, and have ABigBeer while you enjoy the results.


We hope you like this recipe.  Please give feedback or comment below:

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Don’t Save it for the Future…

I saw a post on Facebook the other day about saving a bottle of single malt scotch whiskey for a special occasion.  Thank you Malt Activist for prompting me to write this post.  The post immediately made me think of a bottle of whiskey I gave my dad when I was 19. Before I go on, let me say now, drink it for any occasion!  Tuesday is a nice day.  Now to the story.

Saving Good Times
Saving for an Occasion

The Past Adventures…

I was working in Texas as a roustabout in the oilfield for the summer and the drinking age there was 19 at the time (sorry youngsters 21 now).  I hate to say it but it was probably one of my most formative drinking summers of my life.  I learned to like BEER and unsweetened iced tea.  I already knew I liked whiskey in mixed drinks.  Didn’t realize how much I would learn to love it neat.  So it was a really good summer.  We did a lot of stupid stuff, because at that age we were invulnerable and it was legal (well most of it was).  So I figured before I left the state back for Missouri-Rolla, back to two years of not being able to drink legally, I would pick up some booze.

I got my dad a bottle of Crown Royal for his birthday.  To me that was one of the best liquors around.  I knew he drank whiskey on occasion so it seemed natural to pick up for him.  It didn’t hurt that during the summer my fellow roustabout working buddy and I spent many nights drinking .50 cent Crown & Cokes at Grahams Central Station in College Station/Bryan ($5. cover).  I don’t even believe Grahams exists there anymore.  Back in 1983 Crown was one of the best available to us.  What would I know of quality liquor anyway.  I was 19 and had never explored the vast landscape of different whiskeys or even beer for that matter.  The choices were far fewer then also.  We would have never conceived on how small the world has gotten today during that summer of sun and sweat.

My dad was not much of a drinker.  He would have the occasional beer or have a drink of Jim Beam at a Shrine/Lodge event.  He drank at social events mostly and rarely.  I knew that but liquor was still really new to me and didn’t really think it that inappropriate to give to him.  He put is up in the cabinet above the refrigerator where all the liquor goes in the house.  There it sat waiting for a special occasion to be brought out and drank.

Fast forward too many years and there it is still sitting.  My parents even built a new house and moved the bottle with them.  My brothers had married, well one of them was already married and had a kid when I gave him the bottle.  So my other brother had married (twice) and 4 more grandchildren had been born. I had graduated 3 times from Missouri-Rolla and was recently married when my dad discovered he had cancer (around my first wedding anniversary) and within 6 months he was gone from us.  It was way too soon.

A couple of months later my mom gave me back the bottle.  I didn’t even think it still was around and figured he had already drank it or at least some of it. She told me he was waiting for the right occasion to have it with me.  When she gave it to me I couldn’t think of all the great things that had happened over the 15 years since I had given it to him.  Times when we should have cracked it open and had a toast.  I could only think of the fact that he and I would never share it.

The bottle came home and went into the cabinet above the fridge, where the liquor is stored in a fine Christian home.  I figured I would wait for a special occasion, when I felt like celebrating, to crack it open, toast his memory and make new ones with my friends and family.  Not that I really liked Crown much anymore, it is okay, but it was a sentimental bottle that had a deeper meaning to me so I would wait to cherish it.

Over the next year we adopted a son, named him after his grandfathers. The light of my life.  Started a new business that was/is a grand success.  Bought a new house and still the bottle moved with us to a new house and took up residence above the fridge. Other great things occurred over time and other tragic things.  Things that should have been celebrated in their accomplishment or in their overcoming.

The bottle sat. Why? It sat in the cabinet because it was a time of non-drinking in my household.  What does that mean?  I was a very social drinker when I traveled.  I traveled probably 25-45% of the time.  I developed my taste for finer whiskeys and craft beers during these years.  I grew to really enjoy the diversity of options available as I traveled around the country.  Yet when I was home, I didn’t drink.  I just didn’t care too and my wife was not much of a drinker either.  I even stopped homebrewing during this time, this I lament.  The liquor above the fridge was trapped behind the boxes of kid cereal.  Waiting to be freed for a special occasion of friends visiting and entertaining.  Those were infrequent due to my travel schedule.  So it sat.

The Current Reality…

My wife was diagnosed with cancer in the mid 2000’s. I don’t really want to get into the ups and downs of that but to say that many a trip and battle with insurance companies and treatments and surgeries and so on later she passed in 2010.  Yep a real low point in life.  I struggled to maintain who I was but have now went on to discover WHO I AM and get back to some of my individuality.  Still I am and always will be heavily influenced by her and our time together, but there were things that I missed and discovered again.  Not whiskey or beer  because I had drunk a fair amount of those during my travels.

After a while, and cleaning out the different pockets of life around the house that hadn’t been touched for years, I discovered the hidden cache above the fridge.  I took it out and placed it in a more accessible cabinet.  Still the bottle sat.  I would see it and think about drinking it.  It just did not feel right to drink without their being some sort of occasion.  What could be grand enough now to open this bottle that had been around since I was 19.  A returned gift and stored for so long.  It was then that I realized that everyday is an occasion.

The Results…

Two years ago I finally cracked the bottle open.  The bottle that had sat in a cabinet for 31 years. I had looked at it too long.  I realizing that with all the great things that had happened to me with my dad over the years, and the things that had happened to us after he was gone, and with my wife now being gone, that the bottle was a wish unfulfilled.  It would never be realized as long as I was wanting a “Special Enough” occasion.  So two years ago I attend a BBQ Grilling competition with some friends who were competing and took the bottle with me for the two-day event.  It was a celebration, socializing with friends that I had made in my new existence, enjoying the day, eating good food.  It was a great time to celebrate life and living with friends.  We didn’t do that great in the BBQ competition, but they are back again this weekend celebrating life and living.

Just so you know I did take a little time by myself to crack open the bottle.  Poured myself three shots to commemorate the occasion.  One to remember my dad, one for my wife, and one for my future.  I then took the bottle back to the BBQ gang and enjoyed the rest of the night (drinking my Balvenie Doublewood neat).

Don't Wait, Do it
Don’t wait for something better if you can do better today.

Call to Action…

There are highlights in your life that need celebrating in special ways.  Occasions that should be marked with a special treat.  Be ready to highlight those with what is special to you.  The Laphroig above is a fabulous choice.  Just don’t forget to enjoy the everyday.  The everyday is special and celebrate it for its success and its tribulations.  There are so many things in our lives to celebrate and you should do so.

Enjoy it when you can.  No telling when you will be able too, and saving something for a special “enough” occasion just may not come.  Every day you have on this planet is special.  Embrace your day.  Sit Back, Relax and have ABigBeer or fine Single Malt Scotch.


 

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