Delicious Reading: What's in the Pan? Ramen Noodles!

If all goes well, by the time you read this, my firstborn will be two weeks away from moving into Southeast's Towers South, the same residence hall I called home back in 1994. Even though she could commute, my husband and I decided long ago that if our kids chose to go to Southeast, they would live on campus because we feel it is an important part of the college experience. You gain some independence, learn to do things for yourself and come to really appreciate all the things you took for granted at home. You also gain new experiences like staying up all night studying, standing on the lawn in your pajamas during a fire alarm and eating the classic ramen noodles.

Well, my daughter will be a little ahead of the game on that last one. She was first introduced to ramen noodles as a toddler when I would let her play with the package while we were shopping, since I would need them broken up anyway for the cabbage salad I planned to make.

Like most cheap and easy college food, ramen isn't particularly healthy. However, Michelle Dudash, RDN, Le Cordon Bleu-certified chef and author of "Clean Eating for Busy Families," suggests if you do indulge, you can boost the "health" factor by adding your own ingredients, such as sautĂ(C)ed vegetables or a lean protein, such chicken or edamame.

That has sort of been my philosophy as I occasionally serve stir-fry with ramen instead of rice. I recently tried a new version of this by adapting a recipe from whatsinthepan.com. The blog author, Olya, tries to provide recipes that can be made quickly and easily for weeknight dinners. I don't know that this one will ever be prepared in a dorm, but I'll be able to whip it up quickly if my daughter ever decides to come home for dinner mid-week (hint, hint). For my adaptation, I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef and used two bags of frozen stir-fry vegetables instead of chopping the vegetables.

Beef Ramen Noodles

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets

1 pound ground beef

6 ounces ramen noodles (2 packets with seasoning packets discarded)

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoon sriracha

1 clove garlic, minced

1 scallion (chopped)

Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, peppers and broccoli, and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink, 5 minutes more. Drain fat and return vegetables back to the skillet.

Make sauce: Whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, sriracha and garlic.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add cooked ramen noodles and cook until tender, 2 minutes. Drain.

Add cooked ramen noodles to skillet and pour over sauce. Toss until completely combined. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Then garnish with green onions and serve.

Brooke Clubbs is a Jackson mom of three, a free- lance writer and a communications instructor.