This book caught my attention; first, because I feel like I'm not using my slow cooker to its fullest advantage and second, because I inherently trust the folks at America's Test Kitchen who publish Cook's Country and Cooks Illustrated.
This recipe for homemade ramen intrigues me because I love ramen but am suspect of those flavor packets. That is saying something for someone like me who loves salt.
This recipe will cost more than usual because you are stocking your cupboards for cooking Asian cuisine. But if you are like me, you may only have to buy the ginger, ramen noodles and the napa cabbage. I would probably use the fresh chicken thigh quarters that are sale this week at Food Lion and Lowes Foods for 59 cents and 49 cents a pound at respectively. I'd remove the skin from the thighs. The broth may not be as clear but will probably taste better. It costs $1.50 per serving.
Chinese Chicken and Ramen Soup
2 onions, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger, divided
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons soy sauce, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons sugar
2 star anise pods
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles, flavor packets discarded
1/2 medium head napa cabbage, shredded
2 scallions, sliced thin
MICROWAVE onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, tomato paste, oil, and red pepper flakes in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a slow cooker.
STIR broth, carrots, soy sauce, sugar, star anise and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season chickena with salt and pepper and nestle in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
TRANSFER chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces. Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from the surface using a large spoon. Discard star anise and bay leaves.
STIR in ramen and cabbage, cover and cook on high until noodles are tender, 3 to 8 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and remaining tablespoon ginger and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with additional soy sauce.
Note: this assumes you have vegetable oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
Onions, $2.99 for 3 pounds, Cost for meal: 50 cents
Garlic cloves, 59 cents each, Cost for meal: 30 cents
Fresh ginger, $2.99 a pound, Cost for meal: $1
Tomato paste, 75 cents for 6 ounces, Cost for meal: 6 cents
Red pepper flakes, $1.95 for 1.5 ounces, Cost for meal: 3 cents
Chicken broth, $3.19 for 32 ounces, Cost for meal: $6.38
Carrots, $1.47 for a 2-pound bag, Cost for meal: 25 cents
Soy sauce, $1.69 for 10 ounces, Cost for meal: 25 cents
Star anise, $5.69 for 1.75 ounces, Cost for meal: 25 cents
Bay leaves, $2.39 for .75 ounces, Cost for meal: 10 cents
Chicken leg quarters, 49 cents a pound, Cost for meal: $1.47
Ramen noodles, 25 cents a package, Cost for meal: 50 cents
Cabbage, $1.72 each, Cost for meal: 86 cents
Scallions, 79 cents for bunch, Cost for meal: 26 cents
Cost for meal: $11.96
Cost per serving: $1.50