I eat a lot of packaged ramen; probably as much ramen as college batchelors do.
Fortunately, I really, really like ramen.
My favorite is the goooood shit: Homemade noodles, bamboo slices, extras here and there in a secret recipe broth simmered overnight. Take me to Orochon in Little Tokyo for that level 5 spicy with the freaking half-inch-thick, saucer-size-wide slice of fatty pork and I'm putty in your hands... except I probably won't be paying attention to anything you have to say.
Of course Orochon doesn't come around every day, so I keep a healthy stock of el cheapo, crappy, 10-for-a-dollar packaged ramen in my cupboard. It's still fast, cheap, salty and satisfying enough.
Back in the day, my mom would chop up a little veggie here and throw in an egg there and *voila!* something pretty would come out, like the picture on the package.
Unlike my mom, however, I generally don't have the capacity to buy veggies and keep 'em fresh before they're done. The last head of spinach turned into a bag of liquid maroon slop in my vegetable drawer. No, really. It was during one of these moments of wasteful frustration last year when I discovered this: Frozen vegetables are your friends!
-One package ramen
-Handful of frozen peas (Trader Joe's are cheap and good)
-One celery stalk with leaves, chopped
-Good handful of spinach (fresh or frozen)
Add frozen peas into a pot with water to boil. When boiling, toss in celery and follow the ramen instructions. Right before the noodles are done, tear up the spinach (you can use frozen), throw it on in the pot, crack in an egg if you like, season with salt and pepper and serve yourself a steaming bowl of wowed ramen. If you have some leftover pork or steak or other meat or veg in the fridge, by all means slice it up and add it to your broth.
A good friend reminded me the other day the importance of getting my vegetables, and I feel pretty good about it now.
Ramen doesn't have to be all starch, all salt, all MSG and all broth, ya'll...