Ramen Chicken Noodle

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Fall is coming up and I want to prepare you with this spin on a chicken noodle soup. I don’t know about you, but I pretty much don’t like canned chicken noodle soup. I know it’s the beloved classic of Americans, but when it’s from a can, the noodles and veggies are mushy. And the chicken? You need a magnifying glass to find any.

I know I just criticized your nostalgic soup so I must be crazy to to tell you to go make some Top Ramen, the crunchy dehydrated nest of god knows what’s in them noodles that you find in every college kitchen. But there’s something sentimental about combining chicken noodle soup with Top Ramen. Reminds me of growing up and then being an “adult” in my first apartment, trying to make ends meet. It’s hot, comforting, and full of noodle goodness.

This recipe comes from Delish, and I’ve thrown in some new twists. Feel free to customize this to your preference with your favorite veggies, or use turkey instead of chicken.

Prep your ingredients. Chop up a couple red peppers and carrots. If you don’t like those, try using celery, broccoli, or bok choy. If you’re a veggie hater, skip it all. Next, thinly slice green onion and mince a few cloves of garlic. Season a couple chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Grab a 4-cup box of low-sodium chicken broth, a couple packages of ramen noodles (throw away the seasoning packets!). Chop some cilantro, cut a lime into wedges, and half another lime to have handy.

Ramen Chicken Noodle

Next, heat up some olive oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot, and saute the chicken breasts until cooked through. Remove when cooked and chop into cubes to the size you prefer. You can skip this step by shredding a rotisserie chicken, but I didn’t have one and I wasn’t about to get into my car to buy one. A word of advice. Always have ground beef, chicken breasts or thighs, and bacon hanging out in your freezer for “emergencies.” Yes, I do have bacon emergencies, but that’s a story for another time.

In the same pot, heat up a little more oil, and toss in your veggies and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until they are softened, but not squishy. Remember, this is not canned soup.

Ramen Chicken Noodle

Add chicken broth and simmer. Add your ramen and cook according to the package, about a couple of minutes. Add the cooked chicken and cilantro. Squeeze a lime over it.

Ramen Chicken Noodle

Mix it up.

Ramen Chicken Noodle

And that’s it. Serve in a bowl with lime wedges (or not).

Ramen Chicken Noodle

Sit back and enjoy the perfectly cooked veggies with pieces of chicken you can actually see. Slurp up the noodles that your mom scolded you about when you made those sucking noises. Be amazed at how the lime juice improves the taste of the broth, which adds acidity and a little flavor. This soup brings on happiness.

Ramen Chicken Noodle

Ramen Chicken Noodle

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 packages ramen noodles discard seasoning packets
  • 1/4 cup cillantro chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • lime wedges optional, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute chicken until cooked through. Remove from pot, chop into cubes, and set aside.
  • In the same pot, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Add peppers, carrots, green onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer. Add ramen noodles and cook according to package, until tender, for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken, cilantro, and lime juice. Simmer until heated through. Serve in a bowl with lime wedges.
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Pork Udon Noodles

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I’m not good at making Asian food. There. I said it. Maybe it’s not that I’m terrible at it, but for example, take-out is so good. How can I compete? It’s tasty and inexpensive. But I’m determined to win and this time, I’m making a Japanese noodle dish. Here’s my attempt and while I still have a ways to go, this ended up being a really easy weeknight dinner with plenty of leftovers.

I found a promising recipe on Bon Appétit. In general, Bon Appétit has very good, reliable recipes so I trust them. I did change the recipe. I couldn’t find instant udon noodles and I ran out of fresh ginger so I had to adapt a little. I also made it less spicy because of the boys. I made a few other changes, like used more sesame oil and low-sodium soy sauce. If I had to do it over again, I would have used fresh ginger and your standard soy sauce.

I like to prep everything beforehand so I can easily dump ingredients into the pan. For this recipe, slice up some cabbage and green onions. Be sure to separate out the pale and dark parts of the green onion. Stage your white/pale-green onion, ginger, and red pepper flakes in one bowl. Dark green onion parts go in another bowl.

One reason why I like Bon Appétit is that they give you advice in the directions. In this recipe they remind you not to touch the pork so it browns. “The pork will never brown if you’re fussing with it the whole time, so when we say ‘undisturbed,’ that means keep your paws off it and let the heat of the pan and the pork do their thing.” You can’t tell here, but the underside is browned. I swear. I should have taken a picture. Ok, it could have browned a little longer.

While the meat is browning, I boiled 9.5 ounces of udon noodles according to the package. The original recipe calls for 14 ounces so in my version you end up with a higher meat to noodle ratio, which is fine by me. I have no idea where to buy instant udon noodles. I found a surplus of ramen noodles, but not udon. The ones I chose cook in 4 minutes and I was happy with them.

I used mirin, which is an ingredient that I’m not entirely familiar with, and is often used in Japanese cooking. It’s a slightly sweet Japanese cooking wine made from rice and is similar to sake with a lot less alcohol. Bon Appétit has an informative article about what it is and what to do if you can’t find it.

When you’re done, you end up with something like this. It was really simple to make and got two thumbs up.

Pork Udon Noodles

Pork Udon Noodles

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 4 cups green cabbage coarsely chopped
  • 9.5 ounces udon noodles
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 10 ounces ground pork
  • 5 green onions green and pale parts separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce low sodium

Instructions
 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and cook, tossing often, until edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tossing often, until thickest parts of cabbage leaves are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from pan and place on a separate plate. Set aside.
  • Heat remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork, breaking up and spreading across surface of pan with a spatula or tongs. Cook pork, undisturbed, until underside is brown, about 3 minutes. When pork is browned, break up meat into small bits. Cook, tossing, just until there’s no more pink, about 1 minute.
  • While the meat is browning (and you're not touching it), boil udon noodles according to the package. Drain in a colander. Transfer noodles to a bowl and toss with sesame oil.
  • To your meat mixture, add the pale parts of the chopped green onions, ginger, and red pepper. Continue to cook, tossing often, until green onions are softened and the bottom of skillet is starting to brown, about 1 minute.
  • Add cabbage, udon noodles, mirin, and soy sauce. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are coated in sauce (be sure to scrape bottom of skillet to dissolve any browned bits), about 45 seconds.
  • Remove from heat. Top with dark-green parts of scallions and serve.
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