Budget Peanut Noodles
Ahh, the humble ramen noodle packet. Always there to save the day when I’m doing the “I’m just waiting to get paid dance” after paying rent and all my bills at once. You have never forsaken me. I appreciate you so much. Even now in my adulthood and long-gone college days.
Let’s face it, I’m not ashamed to say I’m guilty of eating trash on occasion (hello, cheap takeout and value menus) when money is tight but now that I’m a bit older and have learned to appreciate the beauty of vegetables and pantry staples, a solid budget meal can come into fruition in no time.
In the moment, this entire meal cost me zero dollars to make considering that I used leftover chicken, vegetables that were about going to go bad, and items I already had in the house. Even if you have to buy the ingredients to make this, it should still be relatively inexpensive. Definitely under $15. Use whatever vegetables you like! Remember, this is more of a guideline recipe than anything else. These are my favorite kind of meals to make because it allows me to be creative and come up with something new with limited resources. Gotta make it work, y’all!
Budget Peanut Noodles
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 bag shredded carrots
2 celery stalks, cut on bias
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground ginger
2 ramen noodle packets (flavor packets discarded)
2 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter, melted
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 large lime, juiced
Unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped, for garnish
In a large frying pan or pot over medium-high heat, add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Sauté the green onion, carrots, and celery until slightly tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sliced red peppers and cabbage, tossing occasionally.
Season liberally with kosher salt, black pepper, ground coriander, and ground ginger. Cook for about 4 minutes, allowing the peppers and cabbage to stay a little crisp. Set the vegetables aside in a large mixing bowl. Add the shredded chicken to the bowl with the vegetables.
Next, boil the ramen noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are boiling, make the sauce by microwaving and melting the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute, stirring at the 30 second mark and making sure there aren’t any large lumps.
Once the peanut butter is runny enough, stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, and lime juice. Set aside.
Add the strained boiled ramen noodles directly to the bowl with the vegetables and cover with the peanut sauce. Toss well making sure that the noodles and veggies are evenly coated (the heat from the noodles will help thin out the sauce a bit if it thickened up).
Serve immediately garnished with some sliced green onion and chopped up peanuts. This noodle dish is also great cold the next day, so it makes an excellent meal prep option for the week if you’re into making your own lunches at home for work or school.