Frugal Valentine's Day Ideas!

 

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many are thinking about how to spend the day with their special someone! 

Doing so doesn’t mean spending a lot.

Here are some frugal ways to enjoy the day!

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  1. Make a coupon booklet up for your special someone. Add your hearts desire into the book. (Date night, night off from cooking, foot rub, etc) Just a fun booklet for your special someone to be able to use those coupons when they wish throughout the year.  Click HERE to use the free template!

  2. Instead of going out, eat dinner in! Make supper together or surprise your special someone with a romantic dinner by candle light.

  3. If you have Netflix, pick a movie and enjoy it with some snacks.

  4. Give is a college of photos of your life together. If you have saved any items from the past like ticket stubs or brochures from trips, include them as well!

  5. Stick love notes in areas your special someone will look in the morning. (sock drawer, bathroom mirror, coffee maker) Brighten their morning with notes about why you love them.

  6. If you have a firepit in your backyard,  pour yourselves each a drink and sit out under the stars at night with a blanket and enjoy a fire. You can sit and talk and share some laughs.

  7. If you are spending the day with your children, you can spend the day doing Valentine’s Day crafts and make Heart Shaped meals. (heart shaped mini pizzas, salads with heart shaped boiled eggs, pancakes with hearts made from strawberries) and end the day with a kid-friendly movie on Netflix or from your own collection of movies.

 

There are lots of ways to enjoy the day!

Let your imagination run wild and share the day with your loved ones!

Save Yourself Some Money Using These Simple Ideas!

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Let’s keep this one simple and clean – just a bunch of relatively easy ways to save money. As you incorporate more and more of these tips into your life, the savings add up and it wouldn’t surprise me if you could save thousands over the course of a year.

It will take a little work on your part but those thousands of dollars in savings are what helped us get out of debt earlier, kept us out of debt for several years and will hopefully help us pay off our recent auto loan soon as well.

Cook at home often: If both the husband and wife work, this is likely to be very difficult. Start out with the habit of cooking at home once a week and slowly increase the frequency until you find a balance between saving money and getting stressed out.

Make your own coffee: Everyone seems to have heard of the latte factor. Even though the author may have overestimated the savings from skipping a latte at Starbucks, don’t underestimate the ding it puts in your pocket in the long run. You don’t have to entirely ban drinking coffee, but skip it as often as possible unless you make it at home.

Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week: Lunch times are great opportunities to network and make connections that could improve your career growth. So unless there is a common eating area for brown baggers, you may choose to limit brown bagging lunch to three days each week. Find a balance between saving some money and making the connection. In my case, I take my lunch with me 2-3 times a week and eat out the rest of the time.

Make a list before going shopping: They call it impulse buying for a reason. Humans simply have a very tough time resisting the temptation to purchase extras while shopping. Without a list you will buy items that you simply do not need. Even worse is when your forget to purchase the actual item you came to the store for in the first place. If you plan on cooking at home, pre-plan a rough menu and make a list before you go grocery shopping. Getting all that you need in one trip can help avoid another unnecessary trip and temptation.

Go grocery shopping while you are in a hurry: Maybe you need to go out in a couple of hours. Or your favorite show is going to be on TV after a couple of hours. Try to squeeze in the grocery trip in that intermediate time. Armed with your grocery list, you should be in-and-out very quickly with little time for meandering and getting tempted to buy things you don’t need.

Watch out for expiration dates on perishable goods: This one seems intuitive when you read it, but I am surprised at how many people do not pay attention to expiry dates. No point getting a gallon of milk if it is going to turn sour with a couple of days. Same goes for meat, eggs, yogurt, spreads, frozen items, deli/bakery items etc. Some people say you can use a few items a few days after expiry – but I personally value my health more than money and would rather avoid buying such items in the first place.

Buy in bulk whenever possible: When it comes to non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you find something on sale. The items I usually stock up on are, cereals, tinned goods, rice, beans, pasta, coke, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, toilet paper etc. For such items, shopping at warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club etc can save you quite a bit of money, provided you stick strictly to your shopping list when you shop at these places.

Buy generic products whenever possible: Does it really matter whether your cereal is made by Kellogg’s or is the store brand? Does it matter if your milk is Oak Farms or the store brand? For a few things (like soda in particular), I prefer brand name products. For others, I do not mind generic store brands if they can save me money. Find what works for you and switch to generic brands for at least a part of your grocery list.

Use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This may not work if you use a massive trash can but we use a small sized one for which the grocery bags are a perfect fit. This not only helps us save some money, but reduces our environmental foot print and avoids the kitchen from stinking from a huge overflowing trash can.

Consolidate and pay off debt as soon as possible: If you carry any debt, focus on consolidating it to a lower interest and paying it off as soon as possible. Money paid in interest is money thrown away! Why spend your hard-earned cash to make the financial institutions rich?

Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees: Get organized about your regular bills. If possible, automate the payments. Most utilities and other recurring bills can be set to be charged to a credit card or deducted from a checking account these days. Also, many banks offer free bill pay programs. So there really is no excuse for forgetting to pay a bill on time and forking out the late fees. Say, by chance you do forget a bill, if you are a first time offender, call the company and request politely to waive the late fees, and more likely than not, they will oblige.

Be aware of your bank balance and avoid over draft fees: If you use your checking account often or have some bills that are paid automatically from your checking account, be aware of the balance and avoid overdraft fees.

Avoid ATM fees: Be aware of the ATM withdrawal fees charged by your bank. While some banks waive fees for all ATM transactions on any ATM machine, most don’t. So be sure to use only those ATM machines where your bank will not charge the fees, or withdraw directly at your bank.

Avoid credit cards with annual fee: Credit cards with their cash back bonuses and reward points are a great way to save some money. Just make sure that the card does not charge you any annual fees! There is no dearth of cards that offer fee-free reward plans, so there really is no reason to pay the annual fees.

Disconnect land line if possible: Unless you have small kids in the house or older people to take care of, it is more than likely that you will be able to survive with only the mobile phones and can get rid of the land line. We have survived without any problems for over 4 years now with out a land line. Our Internet comes via cable.

Instead of buying books, borrow books from the library: Whenever possible, borrow your books instead of buying them. The card to your public library is free and the libraries are generally well stocked. In my city, the chain of public libraries is connected and the available books can be checked online. If there is some book that I cannot find in my local branch, I can make a request online for it to be brought in from one of the other branches to mine which is very convenient.

If you have to buy books, check if you can buy it used: Used books do not quite give the same feeling as leafing through the crisp pages of a brand new book. But considering that you can get used books for almost as much as half the price of a new book, it is a small price to pay. My favorite place to buy used books is a local chain called “Half Price Book Store”. Check if you have something similar in your city. For text books, look online on bulletin boards, mailing lists etc, and price compare on websites like addall.com.

Price check before buying anything expensive: For other items that are expensive, do a price check before buying the item. If you can wait for a while you can track the prices and grab a great deal when it comes along. Frequently available online coupons make it even more easy to save some money. This is especially true while purchasing any electronics.

Avoid impulse buying: Make it a habit to avoid impulse buying. Many of the things you want to buy do not seem all that necessary, if you only you wait for a day or two. Also, waiting means you will be able to check prices and make an informed decision to buy it at the best possible price.

Bottle your own waterDrinking water is good for your health. I always make it a habit to keep some at my desk at all times. Bottled water is the most convenient since it can provide protection against accidental spills. That said, buy bottled water only once in a while, and then reuse that bottle to fill your own water. If you are not happy with tap water, invest in a Brita Filter – in the long run it can save a lot of money.

Avoid the vending machines: Almost everything that is dispensed via vending machines has a huge markup (and is rarely healthy). However, if you suffer from snack attacks at work, consider creating a secret stash of snacks. If you like drinking soda and have a fridge at the workplace, save a refrigerator pack in the fridge with a post-it with your name on it. If you have a long commute, consider a stash for the car as well and avoid a quick drive-thru visit.

Keep your car as long as possible: When possible, try to keep your car as long as possible. Find the balance between the money spent on repairs versus the monthly installment on another vehicle and choose to run your old car as long as the repair costs are low.

Do regular scheduled maintenance on your vehicles: Do not skimp on or forget to do regular oil changes. Remember to check the air in your tires often. And use the grade of fuel that the owner’s manual recommends. These small acts can significantly lengthen the life of your car, giving you years of use.

Avoid buying a new car: When you eventually buy a car, see if you can make do with a pre-owned vehicle. A new car depreciates significantly the moment you drive it out the dealership. Is the new car small really worth thousands of dollars? Pre-owned cars that are only a few years old with low mileage are the best bargains. Regardless of the purchase, learn to negotiate with car dealers.

Ride your bike or carpool whenever possible: In many of the cities in the US it is hard to get by without a car. That said, just because you have a car does not mean you have to use it every day. Whenever possible, ride your bike or share a ride with a colleague or spouse and save both on gas and reduce the environmental footprint.

If you watch a lot of DVDs, get an online DVD store membership: Membership to online movie stores like Netflix or Blockbuster Online can save you a lot of money compared to buying DVDs or renting it from a local store. You need to wait once you order the movie, but if you watch a lot of movies at home, then you can easily get into the habit of ordering ahead of time so you always have something at home. If you are patient and your library has the resources, check to see if they have a movie section. You won’t get anything very new, but they are free.

If you like watching movies at the theater, go before 6:00 pm: This is one of our soft spots when it comes to spending. We really like watching movies in the theater with the big screen and the great sound effects. But instead of paying ~$10 a pop for the ticket, we usually go before 6:00pm when the tickets are a little less expensive. Also, for movies that we don’t absolutely want to watch right away, we just wait until it screens on the discount theater where the tickets are $2 a pop. We avoid the temptation to buy snacks, by usually going for a theater some time soon after our lunch or sometimes sneaking in our own snacks in the purse.

Regulate your electric use: When not in use, unplug electric appliances. Apparently, unplugging the TV instead of just switching it off can save a lot of electricity! When not in a room, switch off the lights and the fan. Use a programmable thermostat to control your A/C and heater usage. If that’s too much, at least know what each appliance uses and unplug a few of them.

Plan vacations ahead of time: Vacations are a necessary part of saving our sanity in the busy lives that we lead. But vacations are also a huge drain on the family finances. You can cut the cost of a vacation significantly by planning and booking ahead of time. Bookmark travel sites for finding inexpensive airfare, hotel etc., and book at least two weeks in advance.

Finally, keep distance from lavish, high-roller friends: If you have lavish friends who buy a new car every other year (or worse still, lease it), have large screen TVs and every other conceivable electronics gadget, eat out at fancy restaurants every other night and just live way beyond their means, keep the distance. They may be nice people and mean you no harm, but hanging out with such people often can lead to a lot of unnecessary desires and discontent. What’s more important – your friends or your peace of mind?

Whoa, that article ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated. Hopefully, I haven’t put you to sleep! Despite the length though, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to ways to save money. Make it a sub-conscious habit to save money in things that you do every day, even if it is a few dollars. All that money saved can add up significantly and you can save it or spend it on things that really matter!

NOTE: I am not saying that you should follow *all* these tips. Trying to be too frugal can make both you and the people around you very miserable. So, pick out a few tips at a time that will work for you and make them a habit, before deciding if you can incorporate more money saving habits in your daily routine.

Written by Sam Baker of GradMoneyMatters.com

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Homemade Lasagna For $1.00 Per Serving!

This lasagna recipe is simple and easy and uses whatever food you already have on hand. I came up with this a few years ago as a way to make lasagna but avoid some of the higher priced items that many lasagnas have.

What you need:

Uncooked Lasagna noodles (or any noodles you have on hand)
Cottage Cheese
Cheese (shredded)
Cooked lean ground beef (or ground pork, turkey or chicken)
Pasta Sauce

Mix together the cheese and cottage cheese. Usually we prefer mozzarella cheese with the cottage cheese when I can get it. In this cheese mixture you can add any herbs or spices you might want, we like to add a little garlic salt or onion salt. You will need about 2 cups of shredded cheese and 2 cups of cottage cheese for a 9 x 13 pan although if you have less, don’t worry about it.

Mix your tin of sauce with the cooked hamburger meat to form your meat sauce.  Spread just a little of the sauce and the meat on the bottom of the pan. You don’t need too much, just enough so the noodles won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add a layer of uncooked noodles on top of this meat sauce, then scoop 1/2 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles and spread it around. If you don’t have lasagna noodles you can also use any other kind, I’ve done that before to make more of a pasta bake and it works fine. Try Rotini or Shells for something different. 🙂

lasagna side view

Place another layer of noodles on the cheese mixture. Top that with a layer of sauce and meat and the rest of the cheese. Add a third layer of noodles and pour the rest of the meat and sauce on top. Finally pour about 1/2 cup of water around the edges of the dish.

Bake at 350F covered for 45 minutes and then uncovered for 15 minutes or until bubbly. This dish freezes really well too. 

Lasagna

I used coupons to get most of these ingredients free or next to free and you can too!  Check out our sister site, The Coupon Nannie, to see where to find these coupons.  Every little bit helps!

Enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Casserole ~ Less Than $1.00 per serving!

chicken noodle casserole

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or your favourite poultry spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 package jumbo or extra-large egg noodles
  • 1 small container of flavoured chip dip or Philly cooking cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Into the frying pan goes two-thirds of the celery and two-thirds of the onion in hot oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken, pepper, thyme, and salt; cook for 2 minutes. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to boil then simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

2.  Meanwhile, for topping, tear bread in small pieces. Finely chop remaining celery and onion. In a small bowl toss together the bread, celery and onion; set aside. (*You also prepare 1 box of Stove Top Stuffing for Chicken if you have one to use instead)

3.  Remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Add noodles to the simmering broth; boil gently for 7 to 8 minutes just until tender, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon or small strainer transfer noodles, celery, and onion to your favourite 3-quart casserole dish.

4.  Now for the sauce… in a bowl whisk together sour cream dip and flour. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth until smooth. Add sauce to broth and cook and stir until boiling.

5.  Chop chicken, removing the skin and bones, then add to noodles in dish. Gently stir in sauce. Sprinkle with topping, then lightly coat with cooking spray (if desired – I don’t)

6.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until casserole is heated through and topping begins to brown. 

Makes 6 generous servings or 8 regular servings at a cost of about $0.95 per serving!

 

10 Family Meals Using Ramen Noodles!

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 Pepperoni Ramen Pizza

This unique pizza pie is a melding of Italian spicy pepperoni and cheese which goes surprising well topped over noodles! It will definitely be a conversation piece around the supper table!

Start with gathering 4 packages of ramen noodles, 1 flavour packet, Olive oil, 4 to 8 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup cream, 1 cup ricotta, Pinch of nutmeg, Salt and pepper, Butter, 2 cups shredded Fontina cheese, Pepperoni slices (or your favorite pizza topping).

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cook ramen noodles following the package instructions, but without the flavor packet. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large pot and add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 1 min. Remove from heat, and add ramen noodles, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and oregano.

Butter a pan and add in noodles, spreading it out evenly to create the crust of the pizza. Whisk eggs with cream and flavor packet, and pour evenly over the noodles. Place the pan in the oven, and bake for about 5 mins. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to the ricotta. Remove pan from oven, and spread ricotta evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle the Fontina cheese on top of the ricotta, and return the pan to the oven. Broil until the cheese melts and begins to brown (10 to 15 mins). Remove from oven and arrange pepperoni slices. Cut pizza into wedges and serve.

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Peanut Butter Ramen Noodles

You can actually make a delicious and hearty noodle dish by adding some peanut butter, coconut milk, and some seasonings and spices to a packet of ordinary ramen. These peanut butter ramen noodles are a sweet and savory treat that make a great meal for a dinner date.

For peanut butter ramen noodles you’ll need a pound of ramen noodles, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup light coconut milk, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp minced ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 tbsp lime juice, and a pinch of sugar and red pepper flakes.

Once you’ve boiled your noodles you’ll want to warm up your sesame oil in a saucepan before throwing in the ginger and garlic. After cooking your ginger and garlic for about a minute, toss in the soy sauce, cayenne pepper, peanut butter, lime juice and cumin and simmer at a medium-low heat, stirring often. Once you have a creamy, smooth sauce, take it off the stove and add your sugar and red pepper before mixing the sauce into your ramen and serving.

*Serve with any of the following toppings: chopped roasted peanuts, steamed sugar snap peas, sliced radishes, fresh chopped mint, scallions or chives, crunchy rice noodles and lime wedges.

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Chinese Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad

This exotic salad is satisfyingly delicious and will carry you throughout a busy day! It also keeps well in the fridge for tomorrow!

All you need is ½ head cabbage, finely chopped, 4 green onions (chopped), ½ stick butter, 1 pkg. ramen noodles (crumbled), ¼ C. sesame seeds, ¼ C. sliced almonds, (discard flavor packets). Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss the cabbage with the green onions.

Melt butter on a cookie sheet and place the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds on it. Bake until lightly toasted. Allow to cool.

Prepare the dressing by mixing 2 Tbsp. peanut butter and ½ C. canola oil. Heat mixture in microwave for 20-30 sec. Mix in ⅓ C. sugar, ¼ C. rice vinegar and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce.

Mix the dressing with the salad before serving. Add the noodles, sesame, and almond topping at the end and you’ve got yourself a healthy yummy dish!

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Ramen Omelette

Do you ever get tired of the same old breakfast menu? This recipe is a fun way to start your day, it’s a morning meal that’ll surprise the entire family!

Gather together 1 pack of instant ramen noodles (any flavor), 1 tbsp cooking oil, 2 tbsp onion (finely chopped), 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved), 2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped), 2 eggs (beaten with 2 tbsp of water and a pinch of salt), Tomato sauce / sweet chili sauce.

Cook ramen noodles in boiling water for 4 mins. Drain and mix in the instant powdered packaged flavor. Heat up an 8″ non-stick pan with cooking oil. Add and fry chopped onions over medium heat for 2 mins till they’re translucent, add tomatoes and cook for another 1 min. Add noodles and chopped parsley into the pan, mix-in with the other ingredients (cook for 2 more mins). Lay noodles and tomatoes evenly across the pan. Pour the egg mixture slowly, covering entire surface. Lower heat and cook for 4 mins. Flip omelette and cook till both sides are browned.

*Serve with your choice of dipping sauce.

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Rampherd’s Pie

We Love this tasty take on shepherd’s pie. it’s so fast, easy and yummy! How do you pronounce ‘that’ name?

Cook 1/2 pounds of ground beef in a large skillet with a bit of oil. After 1 min. add 1/2 cup of chopped onions along with 1/2 of the flavoring packet and a bit of water. Simmer for 1 min and include a handful of frozen peas. Season with salt and pepper and transfer into a pie plate or a cast iron skillet. Top with drained/cooked ramen noodles (follow instructions on Ramen package using the remainder of the flavor packet), broil until brown and crispy on top.

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Spicy Mushroom Miso Ramen

This recipe contains a super nutritious mushroom variety and kombu, also known as seaweed. Vegetarians will be especially delighted, as the soup packs a punch of protein derived from miso, a savory soybean paste!

Prep together ingredients, 8 small dried shiitake mushrooms, 8 square inches dried kombu, 4 ½ cups water, 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, 6 – 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced, 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 1 tsp – 1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes, 1 ½ tbsp shiro miso (white miso paste), 1 ½ tbsp aka miso (red miso paste), 10 ounces dried ramen noodles (cooked), Fresh cilantro leaves (to garnish).

Begin with the mushroom stock by adding dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu into pot with water. Bring the water almost to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer for 5 mins. Remove the pot from the heat for 3 mins. Then strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.

Now to complete the soup, heat 3 tsp of the toasted sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the sliced cremini mushrooms and cook for about 20 sec. Add in the remaining 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil, finely chopped garlic and crushed red chili flakes. Stir-fry for another 20 sec. Pour the mushroom stock through a fine-mesh strainer held directly over the pan. (Discard the solids left in the strainer.) Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and separate the cooked noodles into 3 or 4 bowls.

In a small bowl, mix the shiro miso and aka miso with a small amount of the hot stock from the pan until smooth. Then add the blended miso pastes to the simmering stock in the pan. Turn off the heat, and serve the broth over the noodles in each bowl.

*Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

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Ramen del Carbonara

The Italian word “Carbonara” translates to “sauce,” which is used for spaghetti. This recipe is an adapted version of the original Italian Carbonara sauce mixed with Ramen noodles. Enjoy!

For the Carbonara Sauce you’ll need 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 cups of milk, 3 slices bacon, chopped parsley and onion, 1 egg, parmesan cheese and Instant Ramen noodles with flavor packet.

Cook the bacon and onion in a pot with olive oil. Once the bacon is browned and onions are translucent, add the milk and 2/3rd of ramen flavor packet. Once the liquid starts to boil, add the noodles and for 4 mins while also mixing in a scrambled egg. Add parmesan cheese and sprinkle some parsley and parmesan cheese.

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Kimchi Ramen Grilled Cheese Sandwich

With Kimchi and Ramen becoming fashionable foods, here’s an inventive recipe that turns an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich into a delicacy. As you may know kimchi is a spicy, garlicky Korean condiment of pickled cabbage. It’s not only delicious, it’s addictive! Try this recipe and impress your friends.

Gather and prepare ½ package of ramen, ½ of the ramen seasoning packet, a handful of kimchi, (chopped and squeezed of “juice”), 1 tbsp cooking oil, 2 tablespoon butter (softened), 2 thick slices very sturdy bread, ½ cup mozzarella or jack cheese and ½ cup of American or Cheddar cheese.

Cook the ramen noodles following the package instructions, drain the water completely. Lightly mix ½ of the seasoning packet over the noodles and set aside. Now for the grilled cheese, heat olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. Spread butter on the outside of the bread slices. Place both slices buttered-side down in the oil in a pan. On one slice place mozzarella/jack cheese and on the other slice cover with American/Cheddar cheese. Cook until bread is toasted and cheese has melted.

Remove the grilled bread with cheese to a plate or cutting board. Pile as much ramen noodles on one slice of the bread. Add chopped kimchi on top. Close the sandwich with the other slice of grilled bread and cheese. Press together firmly.

 

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Broccoli Ramen Noodle Salad

This is a brilliant salad to whip-up for a meal gathering, especially for a pot-luck (one of my all time faves!!) It’s nutty sweetness is complimented by a healthy broccoli coleslaw. If you’d like to have this dish for a well-balanced main course, simply add pre-cooked chicken chunks and you’re good to go.

To make the salad you’ll need 1 (16 oz) package broccoli coleslaw mix, 2 (3 oz) packages chicken flavored ramen noodles, 1 bunch green onions, chopped, 1 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup cider vinegar.

In a large salad bowl, combine the slaw, broken uncooked noodles and green onions. For the dressing, mix together the sugar, oil, vinegar and 1 ramen seasoning packet. Pour over salad and toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate until chilled.

*Top with almonds and sunflower seeds before serving.

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Salmon Ramen Soup

Salmon Ramen Soup is a easy and satisfying main dish for a meal containing whole pieces of cooked salmon, complimented with hearty vegetables!

You’ll need 4 cups water, 1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced, 4 stalk green onions, 2 packages shrimp-flavor ramen mix, 4 pieces (6 oz. each) salmon fillets (skinned), 2 cups snow peas (remove strings), 1 tsp Asian sesame oil, 1/4 tsp salt.

Boil together the water, celery, and contents of 1 flavor packet. Place the salmon in glass pie plate and sprinkle contents of the remaining seasoning packet. Cover salmon with wax paper and cook in microwave on High 3 to 3-1/2 mins, turn pieces over halfway through cooking. When vegetable mixture boils, add snow peas, green onions and ramen noodles. Cook 1 min or just until noodles are tender. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil, salt, and any juices from salmon in plate. Serve soup into 4 large shallow soup bowls and top each with a piece of salmon.

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