Tag Archives: cheap side dish

Ramen Broccoli Slaw

 

A quick search of the web brings up literally thousands of possibilities for using Ramen noodles. That classic salty cardboard noodle we all know and love can be elevated so far beyond fake chicken broth.

This Ramen Broccoli slaw is a delightful side dish for any reason. Take it to a picnic, a house party, the big game next Sunday, a birthday, a holiday celebration. It is tart yet sweet, borderline healthy (but I won’t tell if you won’t) and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Best of all, it takes just a few minutes to whip together, so you can make it the day or a few hours ahead, stick it in the fridge, and forget about it until it’s time to run out the door or set the table.

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 bag or box broccoli slaw mix
    • You could make your own by shredding 1 head broccoli minus the crowns, and 1 large carrot
  • 1 pack Ramen noodles (save the seasoning for something else)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins or craisins
  • 1/4 cup diced strips red bell pepper
  • 1/2 bunch green onions

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Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, and vinegar together. Crush the Ramen noodles up a bit and put them in the bowl. Stir well to coat.

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Step 2: Add the broccoli slaw, pepper, green onion, and raisins. Mix well and refrigerate at least one hour and up to overnight. The longer you let it sit, the softer the noddles are.

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Step 3: Just before serving, toss in the chopped nuts. Obviously you can omit this if there are any nut allergies or you just don’t like them.

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Versatile and simple, this humble side is extremely cheap (depending on what you add into it) and not too bad health-wise. Of course you can use homemade cabbage slaw, or whatever other diced/shredded veggies you have on hand.

 

Less than 5: Spanish Rice

This Less Than Five post will be the all-around qualifier: it takes less than 5 ingredients, less than $5, and less than 5 minutes (if you don’t count inactive cook time). 

When I have an idea for the main dish but need a quick side, rice is always my first thought. Rice is so versatile, you can put almost anything in it and it will taste great. And since I got my new rice cooker, I eat rice at least 3 days a week because it is so easy!

Even if you don’t have a rice cooker, rice is super simple to make. 

Stove top: Put 1/2 cup rice and 1 1/2 cup liquid in a pan, heat to boiling. You could use water, broth, tomato sauce, juice, whatever you want. Add any fresh or frozen vegetables too. Lower to simmer, and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!
Microwave: Put 1/2 cup rice and 1 1/2 cup liquid in a microwave-safe bowl with plenty of room for the rice to boil. You could use water, broth, tomato sauce, juice, whatever you want. Add any fresh or frozen vegetables too. Microwave for 15-20 minutes on high, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Fluff and enjoy!

Now, for this spanish rice I cheated a little and used a boxed mix because it was on sale for $0.73. You could also use a tbsp chili powder and a small can of tomato sauce for about the same price and taste.

Rice: Bought on sale with spices included. = $0.73
Can of corn: On sale 2 for $1, one for $0.50. = $0.50
Can of diced tomatoes: Usual price is $0.69. = $0.69
Total: $1.92 for about 5 servings = $0.38 per serving!

Ingredients:
1 box Spanish Rice mix
(Or 1 cup rice, 1 small can tomato sauce, 1 tbsp chili powder)
1 can of corn
1 can of diced tomato
1 cup water

Step 1: Spray the rice pot lining, combine all ingredients. Don’t drain the corn or tomatoes, the juice adds extra flavor.

Step 2: Turn the rice cooker on and let cook for ~20 minutes. Or use one of the above cooking methods.

Step 3: Serve and enjoy. I made chicken legs to go with my rice. But this would be delightful in a taco or burrito, as a side to enchiladas, baked into a frittata, or on its own as a vegetarian meal.


What’s your favorite easy side dish?