Grad Student Eating in Style Carnival Reminder!

Oct 12 2010 Published by under Grad Student Eating in Style!

Sci will be hosting a Grad Student Eating in Style CARNIVAL on November 1!!! I'd like to have a cutoff for submissions on the 30th. SO, you have 18 days to give me your recipes!!!

MUST they be healthy? Not really.
MUST they be low calorie or contain veggies? Nope!
MUST they be CHEAP?!? ABSOFRAKKIN'LUTELY!!!

So submit to Sci your recipes, with list of ingredients, and a rough price point for how much it all costs. Simple is often better in these cases, and I think we can make up some delicious foods! Ramen recipes are encouraged. If you can make THAT stuff worthwhile, you're a grad student hero!

And SPEAKING of ramen, Sci is reposting below her own, in-lab remix of Ramen, that I used to while away the late nights while I was stuck in the lab in grad school. You can make it on a hotplate or in the microwave, but PLEASE BYO glassware.

Tonight, Sci is in the lab. It's 11:40pm, and counting. I will probably cop out shortly before 1am because I'm a chicken that way. Been here since 8am, when I found out that the freezer that stores my carefully sampled fruit slices had become unplugged the previous evening. Water all over the floor, and all of my lovely apple and orange sections are thawed. So now, Sci is here, running her samples before they go bad. Welcome to grad school.

And of course, this means that Sci can't go home and make herself nutritious eats. However, I do my best. I'm not a fan of ordering pizza to the lab. Grad students are VERY poor, and that money adds up quick. And I like to get some veggies and lean protein in my diet when I can.

So tonight, Sci is having Lab Cuisine (tm) while she runs her now-thawed samples.

To make Lab Cuisine:

1 pkg Ramen (throw that icky flavor packet AWAY)
1/2 small pkg frozen Oriental veggies (about 1 cup)
Morning Star chicken breast thingy (1)
Soy Sauce

Make Ramen as directed, discarding flavor packet. A hot plate in the lab is particularly good for this, but make sure you bring your own cooking container. Ramen in the microwave is crappy Ramen.
For veggies, stick them in microwave safe container, tightly covered, with 2 tsps water. Microwave on high 4 minutes. Result=steamed veggies.
Prep chicken according to packet instructions in microwave. On chicken, add 1 tsp of soy sauce before it goes in the microwave.

Mix ramen, veggies, and chicken together. Add soy sauce to taste.

Sounds icky, I know, but it's really not bad. But it's cheap! And when you are stuck in the lab til way late and hungry, you take what you can get. And this is what we keep in the lab fridge. Don't know why the sesame oil was there, or the soy sauce, for that matter. The ramen is something that all grad students (and post-docs) keep in their desks for emergencies. The frozen stuff Sci will admit running home to get.

But it was both cheap and nutritious (sort of, the Ramen is the kind with no trans fat and the flavor packet was discarded, saving you some high sodium issues). You can also do this with couscous and spices, to avoid the high sodium of the soy sauce or Ramen flavor packet (yeah, I know you use it anyway).

Update for PRICES:
Ramen: between 15 and 25 cents a pack.
Frozen mixed veggies: usually under $2, you'll use half.
Morningstar Vegetarian "chicken": $4, you'll use half.
Soy Sauce: $4, but you'll use it forever.

Total for the hungry grad student: per Ramen, it's around $3.50, but to start out it will be more than $10, to buy the "chicken" and the soy sauce. So the vegetarian version may be cheaper, but there's not much nutritional value in this one to begin with, so...

3 responses so far

  • Tybo says:

    (My) Gourmet Ramen:

    Sapporo Ichiban ramen: $0.50 (I know, it's pricier than Manchuran! But something about the noodles just cooks better. However, if you're *really* pinching pennies, Manchuran still works well.)

    1 Stalk Celery: ~$0.25
    1 Carrot: ~$0.25
    1 Egg: ~$0.25 (Optional)
    1 handful of mushrooms: ? (Price will vary depending upon type preference)
    Black pepper: Free? (I mean, Rachel Ray says salt and pepper are freebies, right?)
    (Total cost somewhere between $2 and $3, I suppose.)

    (These are really rough price guesses - the point is that only one out of a package of much more is used. I make this about three times a week for two at a time (doubling the amts, naturally), so I actually go through packages of fresh veggies this way.)

    Chop the celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Boil the celery and carrots for a minute or two in two cups water, then the mushrooms for another five minutes or so. Then add the ramen itself, and cook according to instructions. (Optional) In the last two minutes, break and add the egg and let it harden in the boiling water.

    Feel free to adjust other spices to preference (I've experimented with Ms. Dash and celery salt), or just use the flavoring package (pointing here back to Sapporo Ichiban - their flavoring packets taste better to me, too...) It works without anything, too, although more so with the egg - without egg and without extra spices or flavoring is kind of bland.

    And that's my most used ramen recipe.

  • Christie says:

    Well I already explained cake baking in a microwave.

    But as for ramen cuisine, my personal fav: turn ramen into thai peanut noodles. The best part is you can eat them hot or cold!

    Ingredients:
    - Ramen (flavor is irrelevant) - $0.25
    - 4 tablespoons of Peanut Butter (what a few bucks for a whole jar? So like, $0.10 worth. PS I find chunky seems to add more dimension to the meal)
    - 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (or, for the morally unhindered, two carefully snatched free to-go soy sauce packets from the supermarket or chinese place. Either way <$0.10 worth)
    - 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (A few bucks for a lot of it, so again, let's say $0.10)
    - 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper seeds (or ~ 1/3 a packet from a pizza place) - or more, if you like your food spicy
    - ideally, some garlic and onion chopped really fine to taste (this takes more prep, though, and not likely to be doable in a lab setting)

    Total cost: less than a dollar if done right... though you buy most of the ingredients in bulk.

    Recipe:
    Cook ramen as directed (microwave or flame - your decision) and drain
    Over bunsen burner (or in a saucepan, you know, if you're cool like that) mix together rest of ingredients until blended (if you choose to add garlic & onions, fry them in a tiny amount of oil first, then add the other ingredients)
    Add noodles and coat well.

    Bon Appetit!

  • mokawi says:

    It's a Tunisian recipe from an ex-roommate, a grad in economy. It's full of proteins, the best meal for a night of cramming. According to North African folk wisdom, harissa is a strong aphrodisiac, hence it's also recommended for long nights of passionate sex (the same wisdom also says you should take honey for the same purpose, so you could close it with baklava).

    You need:

    - eggs (2 or 3 for me)
    - tuna in olive oil (Which you need to buy in large cans, ideally the kind they import from Tunisia or Italy. It's an investment, but never goes bad, and it's a lot tastier)
    - olive oil (any kind of first press will do)
    - harissa in a can (not in a tube: for some reason it tastes totally different. Besides, it's much cheaper in a can)
    - large pita breads (but any bread can do – in fact, portuguese "bijoux", which are really cheap here in Montréal, can be argued to taste even better)

    Put oil in a pan, about a quarter of an inch deep (yes, it's a lot. but a true grad will keep the oil for a few days, and cook many eggs in it). Heat it, then drop the eggs, and fry them until the white is all cooked, but the yellow is still liquid. Serve it in a plate with tuna (ideally, there should be as much tuna as there are eggs) and a generous spoon of harissa. Warm up your oven, then put the pita inside for about 10 seconds. To eat, take a piece of pita and use it to grab a bit of tuna, egg and harissa. Enjoy!

    A sound choice of tuna and harissa is essential in this. If your tuna doesn't taste like meat (i.e. it tastes like the usual clover leaf thing), then you might want to find better tuna (or simply go for the regular dollar store tuna, which is cheaper). Likewise, harissa should taste more than merely being a hot sauce; it should have a distinctive taste (I want to say a "metallic" taste, but that's not exactly it. Connoisseurs will know what I'm talking about).

    The price?

    2 eggs: >50¢
    tuna (100g): 1$
    harissa: 10¢
    olive oil: 5¢
    pita: 20¢
    ----------------------------
    Total: 1.85 $

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