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May 2016

Ramen Soup Hack #2,671 - Ramen Soup = Faux Pho

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

OK, hopefully you already know what Pho is and appreciate the attempt at humor in the title....  For those of you who don't know what Pho (pronounced 'Fuh') is, it's a Vietnamese soup, an hours long simmering of meat bones (usually beef or chicken) and spices added to develop a really, really nice broth...  A, "Damn this sh*& tastes good!" kind of broth.  The Pho broth is served in a bowl of noodles with slim cuts of meat and a garnish of herbs and vegetables.

But after working all day, who has time to simmer meat bones for hours?

Enter, Ramen soup.....  For you too, can make Faux Pho.

Ingredients

  • One Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces of very thinly sliced beef or chicken
  • One clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • One package Ramen noodle soup (beef or chicken)
  • Generous handful of baby spinach (Thai basil is the norm here, but I prefer spinach)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hoison sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce or Sriracha
  • Small can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • One cup hot water
  • One lime, cut in half.  A big squeeze of lime juice in preparation, a squeeze of lime juice (reserved for serving)
  • Chop up a small handful of cilantro for garnish

Faux PhoDirections

Heat up a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the canola oil and throw in the onion and the meat, saute for a minute or two.  Add the spinach, garlic, ginger, pepper, the seasoning packet from the Ramen soup packet, the juice from half the lime and the noodles, stir and let the spinach wilt down for a minute.  Add in the remaining ingredients, adding the water last.  Stir, let it all come to a boil, then turn down to simmer for three minutes.

Serve in a big bowl, add in a squeeze of lime juice and some cilantro.  If you like it hotter, a little more hot chili sauce or Sriracha may be to your liking.

Enjoy your Faux Pho!  For something that only takes about five minutes to put together, it sure packs some flavor!

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Ramen soup hack #2,670, turn your Ramen into spaghetti

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Ramen soup beefRamen soup, it's cheap, it's a budget food, a single-person's food, a plan 'B' food, a college dorm food, a don't-know-what-else-to-have-so-this-will-have-to-do food...

Don't just make it per the package instructions, liven things up!

If you're not feeling like having another prepared per package instructions bowl of Ramen Soup, make spaghetti with it!  And the great thing about using Ramen noodles for this, it only takes 3-4 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • Two packages of beef flavored Ramen Soup (chicken works too, but beef is better)
  • One Tablespoon olive oil
  • One Tablespoon dried, minced onion
  • One teaspoon dried oregano
  • Just one cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite jar spaghetti sauce (or better yet, something you made)
  • One Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • One small can of sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)

Directions:

Put a medium sauce pan on medium heat.  Add the olive oil, the noodles, pour in the contents of the seasoning packets, along with the minced onion, dried oregano and just one cup of water.  Let cook for three minutes, then stir.  Add the spaghetti sauce and the mushrooms (Optional.  Sliced black olives are a great add too.  Got any leftover breakfast sausage?  Another great add.).  Stir for another minute or until all noodles are coated in sauce.  Plate and top with Parmesan cheese.

It's faster to make this than it is to microwave one of those over-priced ready meals.  Enjoy!

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Velveeta Shreds Suck

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I love the original, classic Velveeta cheese!  It's great on Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, it's my go-to for making Chili Con Queso, nachos, a loaded up Mac & Cheese w/bacon......  But Velveeta's latest product offering, shredded *cheese*...   it disappoints.

Granted, Velveeta is the maker of 'cheese product'.....  I knew that going in and so with the classic brick Velveeta so good in melted form, I figured the 'Velveeta Shreds' was worth a shot.  I bought two bags, one bag of Mozzarella Shreds and one bag of Mexican mix.  Each bag weighed in at two pounds and Walmart had them priced at around $7.50 each.  At the time, I'm thinking, "Sweet, I've got a boatload of cheese, I can portion it out, use some for dinner tonight and stash the rest in the freezer!"

Mozzarella flavorBut there were three big red flags right there on the package that I completely ignored and shouldn't have.  For starters, and in bold print, it says "Mozzarella Flavor" right there on the front of the bag.  That's red flag #1.   It doesn't say "Real Mozzarella Cheese," it says, "Mozzarella Flavor."  OK, fine, the classic is "flavor" rather than the real stuff too, so no big deal right?   C'mon, it's Velveeta, it'll be good right? Well, combined with red flags #2 and #3, not so much.....   

After sampling the Mozzarella Shreds prepared on a pizza, I got a real mushy, pasty-like taste in my mouth.   I wasn't getting that wonderful combination of pepperoni, sauce and melted mozzarella, I was getting pepperoni, sauce and.....  starch?  So I picked up the package and read the ingredients after-the-fact......  And there it was, red flags #2 and #3 in the list of ingredients......  Modified food starch and wait for it.......  POTATO STARCH.   It doesn't matter that part-skim milk is the first listed ingredient, the potato starch ruins it.  Shreds are not something Velveeta should be proud of.  Who wants a mouthful of starch on their pepperoni?

You won't find the starches listed for the classic brick of Velveeta cheese.  The official list of Velveeta ingredients is as follows: Milk, Water, Whey, Milk Protein Concentrate, Milkfat, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Alginate, Enzymes, Apocarotenal, Annatto, Cheese Culture.

Kraft Foods apparently needs to add the modified food starch and the potato starch to get and hold the shredded cheese look.  Unfortunately, you can easily taste the starch.  It's an overdose.

I should have saved myself the trouble and read the list of ingredients at the grocery store.  But given how much I like classic brick Velveeta, I assumed the product would be good.  I was wrong.

BUY REAL SHREDDED CHEESE!

Velveeta Shreds suck.  Both the Mozzarella and the Mexican mix (tried with tacos) give you that starchy, pasty taste - the Mozzarella more so than the Mexican flavored shreds. 

I won't buy these products again.  Velveeta Shreds get one Bachelor on the cheap star out of five.

1 star

Kraft Foods

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