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Why not ramen?

When I first left for college, I was absolutely convinced, as I'm sure most 18 year olds are, that I was going to survive my college years solely by consuming the holy ramen noodle as sustenance. However, ramen can get boring real fast. This is why I've come up with these recipes that take little to no preparation, and give you a lot of variety for just a bit more than ramen would cost.

I'm going to list all the ingredients you'll need to get on a weekly, or bi-weekly trip to the store, depending on how much you consume in a day, and of course how much of each item you purchase.

Get it from the store. No! The one with food!

Step 1: Get a basket. Not a shopping cart, you don't want people to think you're shopping for you mom. Remember to do this first. If you forget and pick up half your items before realizing you can't carry it all in your hands, you have to figure out how to get on the other side of the registers without giving off the appearance that you're trying to get a full arms discount.

Step 2: Get your food. These items can be obtained in any order you wish.

1. Lunch Meat:. This can be any meat of your liking. Just make sure to buy it from the deli, as this is usually the cheaper choice. I normally get a pound of honey ham. This lasts me two weeks. Just before it goes bad.

2. Bread:. Also a preference. I normally splurge a little on the bread so I'm sure I'm getting a quality soft kind. Buttermilk and potato breads are the best for these purposes.

3. Tortillas: I know. You're thinking, "But I already got bread." However, tortillas are important, and I'll tell you why later.

4. Cheese: First let me state DO NOT GET CHEESE IF YOU'RE LACTOSE INTOLERANT! We both know you're not going to be happy if you do. Now that that's been said, if you do buy cheese, get whatever kind your taste buds will love you most for purchasing. Also get the largest size you can. Cheese in bulk is generally priced less per lb than the small bricks. Do not worry about the price. If you take care of the cheese properly by sealing it in an air tight Ziploc, it will last you as long as you need it. If you are lactose intolerant, I have heard barbecue sauce can be a decent substitute.

5. Peanut Butter: Crunchy or creamy. It really doesn't matter. It's all based on preference. Peanut Butter will NEVER go bad so of course you want the size that gives you the most for your money.

6. Fruit Jelly: In reality you can buy pretty much anything you enjoy with your peanut butter. I only say fruit jelly because it happens to be the most common.

7. Butter: Just good old fashioned pan lubricant.

8. Tuna: I’m aware that there are those who do not like seafood, or instantly gag at the smell of tuna because they are reminded of cat food, but it is the cheapest, most filling meat available. Also, tuna does not go bad as long as the can is closed.

9. Mayonnaise: Or, if you prefer something a little less vile, Miracle Whip works just as well. Of course this item is more a preference than necessity.

10. Fruit and Vegetables: HEED MY WARNING! You will regret it if you ignore this food group. If you ignore this for too long, your stomach WILL try to crawl up your throat and find a new residence.

11. Anything else your little heart desires. I like to buy ice cream. And it’s always fun to ask the courtesy clerks what aisle the monkeys are on.

Now What? The monkey keeps eating the food!

This is easily taken care of. Either put the food in the cupboards and refrigerator (if you’re not sure where it goes, check the label, it’ll usually tell you), or you can just tell the monkey to go give the neighborhood children rabies.

Once you get hungry, you now have plenty of choices of what you want to eat. If you’re tripping down the hall trying to pull your pants on because you’re running late for ethics class, but need something to settle your stomach, grab a tortilla, slop a spoon full of peanut butter on there, and fold it in half.

Have a little more time? Make a sandwich. You’ve got all the ingredients you’ll ever need. Throw some lettuce, lunch meat, cheese, and mayonnaise on your bread, and voila, instant meal that is healthy to boot. Want something hot? Grill that sandwich. Simply spread butter on the outer sides of the bread, stick it on a pan, and cook it till it’s evenly golden brown. Here are some of my favorite grilled sandwiches: Ham and cheese with mayonnaise, grilled tuna with cheese, plain old grilled cheese, and grilled peanut butter and jelly. Also, if you have a microwave quesadillas, with or without meat, are quick and delicious.

Now that you see how easy and cheap it can be to indulge yourself with a little variety you can free yourself from the bondage put upon you by the ramen empire. Go my people! Be free! Frolic in fields of joy, peace, and satisfaction!

Word to your mom.

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