Bowl of ramen
Jonathan Elkins, an ENMU student, shares tips on ways to ramp up your ramen recipes.

Eating ramen is something that unites nearly every college student at one point or another. A common mistake is thinking that it has to be bland or a substitute for an actual meal. These recipes show that all you need to make a solid meal is a microwave and a can-do attitude.

1. Homemade Cheese Sauce

Mixing together shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese with a splash of whole milk makes for a cheese sauce you can create with nothing more than a bowl and microwave. Add your cooked, unseasoned ramen noodles and spread some parmesan cheese on top for a great after-class snack.

2. Lemon-Basil Twist

What you’ll need for this: chopped basil, lemon-pepper, garlic powder, green onions.

Instead of cooking your ramen with a seasoning packet, you’ll instead add your ingredients around halfway through cooking your ramen. Throw in a teaspoon of basil, a tablespoon of lemon-pepper and garlic powder each. Once everything is done cooking, chop up or tear apart your green onion to throw on top.

3. Breakfast Ramen

Grab a couple of eggs, bacon bits, salt and pepper.

Once your ramen comes to a boil, crack an egg or two into the pot. Once the eggs finish cooking, top your ramen with bacon, and season again with salt and pepper for an unforgettable start to your morning.

4. Chicken Curry Ramen

Curry powder, cumin, red pepper flakes and black pepper adds a surprising kick to start off your ramen.

You’ll be able to find a cutting board and lunch meat chicken at most supermarkets, about a minute before your ramen is done cooking add in chicken to taste. For a more intense flavor, don’t use just water; substitute half your water for chicken broth to really bring out the flavor in your meat.

5. Spiced Ramen

While this recipe sounds a bit unorthodox, it’s definitely a personal favorite. You’ll cook your ramen though without a packet, only salt. Drain it once it’s cooked through, then place in a large bowl. Mix in a pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper. My favorite hot sauce for this is either Cholula or Valentina, but you may like something different. Coat the noodles with your hot sauce of choice. Finish with a generous layer of parmesan cheese. I absolutely cannot recommend this one enough.