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Real Food Recipes
A collection of recipes both ancient and contemporary, to help incorporate real and whole foods into a modern life.
We all do! They are cheap, and fast, and easy.
And we all feel guilty when we do! Even if we love them.
Well, I USED to feel guilty, but I don't anymore.
While the white noodles are probably never going to win nutritional awards, if you put them together right, Ramen can be a good, fast, go-to when life gets hectic.
Turns out, we may be craving them because our digestion is a bit wimpy and the white flour is easy to process, or we may be craving good old MSG in a form that we can convert into neurotransmitters and inhibitory neurotransmitters more easily.
I've recognized that if I crave them, there is probably a reason, and I tend to go through phases, and only crave them when I've been toxed by airborne toxins that throw my metabolism out of order. But much experience shows that EATING them gets me over the metabolic crisis FASTER than if I avoid them. Weird, but true!
So go ahead and eat them. But don't hold back on the goodies!
1. Get good noodles. It's gotta be Maruchan! At the time of writing, they have the best seasoning packet, it has a form of MSG that is easy to convert into glutamic acid. Read up on Glutamate in this article. Maruchan are one of the lowest cost noodles also, if you buy them in the 12 pack. They cost less than most others on sale if you shop around a bit. No, I'm not overlooking Top Ramen... I can always get Maruchan for a similar or lower price.
2. Soupy or Solid, Ramen tastes great. Prep them with water and the seasoning packet - use about 1 1/2 cups water, and don't drain it. Otherwise, you can cook the noodles, drain, and then put the seasoning packet on over, no water.
3. Butter is Better. Soupy or solid, Ramen tastes better with generous amounts of butter!
4. Spice it up! You can add a little seasoning salt (Redmond is best!) or some onion powder for extra flavor. A pinch of cayenne or black pepper, or a hot seasoning sauce also works. If you add powdered seasoning, or even curry powder (yum), then you need to add them during the cooking so they cook with the noodles.
5. One egg per packet. The easiest way to add protein and turn it into a full meal is to add an egg. Cook the noodles until they are soft enough, crack the egg into the noodles and water and stir gently to blend the egg in with the noodles. Egg drop Ramen soup, or eggy noodles without soup.
6. Veggies perk it up. I use peas a lot, but onion, fresh peppers, frozen or canned corn, or other veggies are easy to add.
7. Tuna, chicken, beef, shrimp, or other cut up meat goes well in Ramen, and makes it a nutrient dense dish.
8. Sesame Oil is the Ultimate Upgrade! Toasted sesame oil (the yellow bottle, people!). This stuff is so good on Ramen, but sesame oil has a catch to it. Too much, and you will hate it - it will be bitter. Too little and you won't taste it. The gotcha is that the longer you cook it, the weaker the flavor. So if you cook your Ramen in water and add the sesame oil early, you need about a third of a teaspoon of oil. If you drizzle it onto drained noodles with the butter at the end, then you need a little less than a quarter teaspoon of oil. If you accidentally get too much, cook it a little longer. I don't know what it is about sesame oil that is so good, but long term use, and paying attention to patterns in my craving for it suggest to me that it may help with neurological health, and that perhaps my body can more easily use this oil (even in tiny amounts) to repair damaged nerve tissue. This stuff is so good with Chicken or Shrimp Ramen noodles that you'll never get over it!
9. So Cheesy. Cheese works, but it clumps the noodles together. Tastes really good, it is just awkward.
10. Don't fix them dry. Seriously. Dry Ramen is raw noodles, and uncooked flour just does not digest well. You don't get the full nutrition from it, and Ramen alone has little enough of that as it is! So cook it for best nutrition - you don't like that nasty crunchy salad that pokes the roof of your mouth anyway, do you?
Ramen with egg, butter, and sesame oil is probably my all time favorite way to prepare this fast food. It is filling, and very tasty, and when life is battering me, it provides just enough glutamate to head off neurological disaster (I get low on GABA very easily).
Who knew Ramen could actually be useful for something besides feeding starving college students and Mormon missionaries?
One of the best memories our family has is making pizza.
Everybody makes their own.
Do this however works for you.
- Big ones for grown ups, small ones for little kids. Works best if you have enough dough and ingredients for leftovers (somebody always eats all of theirs, but that is their choice - everybody gets enough for two meals in our house).
- Assemble the ingredients together - shredding cheese, chopping olives and peppers, cooking the beef or sausage, and getting all the other yummy stuff out is part of the work together time that goes with making pizza.
- Use homemade dough, or premade dough. You can use Digorno, or Freshetta pizzas and add more ingredients, or start from scratch.
- We always gave everyone the same ingredients. If they did not like some, they'd swap, or give away what they did not want.
Your pizzas can be ultra healthy, half quickfix, or somewhere in between. The only thing that is important is that everybody gets to customize theirs.
We did this most often on Sunday afternoons, when everyone was home, the day was lazy, and the activity was as important as the meal.
We love homemade pizza.
The BEST tasting coleslaw in the world!
Ok, so it looks really questionable.
But it tastes so good that you'll tell people WHY it looks so odd.
Balsamic Vinegar makes this richly tart, and it makes all the difference in flavor. Marination of the cabbage pulls the flavor all the way through the cabbage. You won't have cabbage with dressing on it - you will have sweet and tart cabbage that tastes like coleslaw instead of like cabbage with Miracle Whip on it.
Muddy River Coleslaw
- Chopped Cabbage
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 to 2/3 cup sugar (you have to TASTE it so you get it right)
- Mayo (you'll know when it is the right amount)
Put the vinegar in a bowl that is large enough to hold the cabbage and stir it.
Add the sugar - add some, stir it until dissolved. Taste. Add more if you need it, repeat.
Dump the cabbage in, and stir to coat it.
Let the cabbage marinate for 3-6 hours, stirring occasionally to re-coat the cabbage. Doesn't matter if it is in the fridge or not, unless it goes overnight - but be careful if you leave it on the counter, and cover it, so fruit flies do not invade.
If you want to make sure it has marinated long enough, taste it, to make sure the flavor is all the way through.
Add mayo, a spoonful at a time, and stir it in. You'll know when it is creamy enough.
Looks terrible, right?
Tastes wonderful though.
If your guests REALLY can't bear the dark color, you can sub Cider Vinegar, or even Distilled Vinegar if you must. But it won't taste as good!
Oh, don't get me wrong! We have mushroom GRAVY. But we do not use mushroom soup with Salisbury Steak. That would be a desecration.
This meal seems like it is involved, but once you get it down, it is pretty easy to do. I don't rush, it takes me about an hour.
I start my rice or potatoes before I start the meat, but I start noodles later in the process.
Step 1 - The Meat
- 2 lbs of good ground beef (whatever you think that is!)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, or quick oatmeal
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- a few shakes pepper if you want
- 1/4 tsp of Redmond Seasoning Salt (if desired -or other seasoning salt if you are that kind)
Throw it all in your KitchenAid mixer (no, a Bosch will NOT do!!! Just kidding). Blend the ingredients together. Use your hands, or a wooden spoon if you don't have a mixer, we are flexible like that, but make sure you get it out from under your fingernails - this is why I use a wooden spoon if I do not have a mixer!
Step 2 - The Steaks
- 3 TBSP Butter (NOOOOOooooo! Not the Margarine!!!!! Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.)
Form 6 or 8 (seven is not allowed) patties. They should be about 1" thick.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Put in a round of patties (these are the steaks if you didn't figure that out). My 10" skillet will hold either three 1/3 lb, or four 1/4 lb steaks. My larger skillet will hold six or eight.
Cook the steaks until they are not bleeding aggressively (done mostly through). Don't worry if they bleed while you make the gravy, they will cook more in the fourth step.
Put them on a plate and set them aside.
Step 3 - The Gravy
- 6 TBSP Butter
- Mushrooms - 1 can (drained), or about 4-6 chopped criminis, or any other kind of mushroom you want to put in this - savory ones are best, just chop them up however large you want them (wild ones are great, and dried straw mushrooms or dried Porcini work wonderfully).
- 6 TBSP Flour
- 4 cups water (you filtered it, didn't you?)
- 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- Pepper if you must
Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the mushrooms. If the mushrooms need cooking (canned ones don't), cook them until they are as done as you like them.
Remove from heat, and then add the flour. Whisk it until it is smooth (ok, so the mushrooms won't be smooth, but the gravy should be!).
Add the water, about 1/4 at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition (you did remember the bit about the mushrooms, didn't you?).
Return to heat, and stir gently until it is thick and bubbly. When flour thickened sauces or gravies are done, they'll be evenly darker and evenly thick.
Stir in the soy sauce and salt. We add the soy sauce last so we can taste test and get it balanced just right, because mushroom and meat flavors can vary some, and the soy sauce kinda ties them together and enhances the meaty flavor.
Step 4 - The Finish
Return the steaks to the skillet, with the gravy.
NOTE: If your skillet only holds HALF the steaks at a time, you need to REMOVE half the gravy and do a second round.
Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, and COVER the skillet.
Let simmer for about 10 minutes, checking and stirring every few minutes. TURN the steaks at least once.
IF THE STEAKS ARE STILL BLEEDING THEY ARE NOT DONE! Repeat covering and simmering.
Serve with Rice, Noodles, or Mashed Potatoes.
This makes GREAT leftovers, and it can even be frozen for later use. This is why I make a larger batch, even though our family is now small.
I tried canning this, and it DID NOT WORK. The flour threw the flavor off, giving it a kind of dark bready flavor, and I would not do it again. I've tried other things with whole wheat flour, and it is even worse.
I will be trying this one with corn starch. It does separate, but can be shaken or stirred back together.
The information on this site is presented for informational purposes only, and consists of the opinions and experiences of the site authors. It is not to be construed as medical advice or to be used to diagnose or treat any illness. Seek the assistance of a medical professional in implementing any nutritional changes with the goal of treating any medical condition. The historical and nutritional information presented here can be verified by a simple web search.
I do what I do because I understand the science behind it, and I've researched worldwide sources to verify the safety of my practices to my own satisfaction. Please do your own research, and proceed AT YOUR OWN RISK.