When you have no money and almost no food, life is hard. On the verge of a hunger-induced breakdown, Ted Allen speaks to you and you know it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. I recently found myself in this situation and decided to try to mix my leftover ingredients together to make some sort of meal, “Chopped” edition. I’ll admit that it was difficult, considering the fact that everything I had leftover was some form of carb. By the time I pulled my ingredients together, I had three key ones:
• Maruchan chicken-flavored ramen
• Ore Ida diced potatoes
• Mission flour tortillas
There was nothing I could do with these ingredients alone. I had potatoes but no ketchup; I had tortillas but no beans or cheese; the only thing that was edible alone was the ramen. I was determined, however, to make use of my potatoes and tortillas.
My Plan: Ramen Potato Burrito
• Frying pan (1-2)
• Pot (1)
It’s as gross as it sounds, but I was really out of options. In order to create this concoction, I boiled water for the ramen while frying the potatoes at the same time on a separate burner. When I cooked the potatoes I used olive oil, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and oregano.
If you have more than one frying pan, you can heat up the tortilla at the same time, but be careful not to burn it. If you only have one, I recommend either warming it up first, or washing out the frying pan after the potatoes are done.
If you don’t know how to cook ramen, just follow the instructions on the packet: Let the water boil first, cook the noodles for three minutes, add the seasoning and then cook for an additional minute. When my ramen was done, I was going to try and fry it and make it into a ramen patty, but it ended up sticking to the frying pan so I don’t recommend this step for amateurs like myself. However, if you’re Master Chef or something, have at it.
Once all of the ingredients were ready, I assembled them into a burrito fashion. I made sure to have a glass of water handy just in case it was utterly disgusting. The ingredients definitely did not complement one another. Everything was chewy and had a weird class of sweet and salty — and not the good kind. The tortilla made the salty ramen sweeter and chewy while the potatoes gave a starchy and almost grainy texture in contrast.
The standalone ingredient was the ramen; it just did not pair well with anything I had. In an attempt to make it more bearable, I poured soy sauce on the side and dipped the burrito into it. To be honest, I was afraid of even doing that, but I did, and it helped blend the sweetness of the tortilla with the saltiness of the ramen.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are low on cash and food, try to get creative! Use what you have, be resourceful and, hopefully, you have some spices or sauces to mask anything that might not blend well.