Dawn Kessinger: Share a meal — Ramen gets squashed

Is it spring yet? No. Almost? Not quite.

Although I’m looking forward to more sunshine and temperatures warm enough to free me from bulky winter coats, one of the things I am missing right now is a refrigerator crisper drawer stuffed full of squash and zucchini fresh from the garden. Midsummer presents a manic race to use a squash or a few zucchinis to make room for an armful more. It’s like playing vegetable Tetris. Remove one squash; figure out how to squeeze two zucchinis in its space.

I enjoy squash and zucchini sliced and fried or baked — especially with Parmesan. But after fixing it and consuming it the same way every day, I found that I became more open to new ideas for using the veggies as ingredients in meals I’d typically never think to use them in.

Ramen, for example.

I’d eat ramen much more often if it were healthier — and offered more of a meal than just noodles and a salty, flavored broth.

Having an overabundance of garden veggies and a desire to find ways to include them in fresh, fun, fairly healthy yet simple recipes is how the Ramen Experiment came to be.

While I prefer sliced squash and zucchini in my Ramen Experiment, sadly, I find that mid-winter I do not have crisper drawers stuffed full of garden veggies. But a big bag of broccoli beckons from the bottom shelf of the fridge. Use what you have — fresh is better, but frozen vegetables work, too.

May your Ramen Experiment offer an easy, yet change-of-pace meal, one that’s a filling and comforting reminder that though it’s still winter, spring is on the way.

Ramen Experiment


• 1 3-oz package Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup (any flavor)

• 1 large (28 oz) can chicken, beef or pork

• 1 10-oz can cream of soup (I used Cream of Chicken)

• 1 small can (4 oz) mushrooms

• 1 cup milk

• 2 cups water

• Fresh (or frozen) broccoli (to your taste: I like a lot of veggies, so I broke up enough broccoli to completely cover the bottom of a large skillet)

In large, deep skillet — or large pan, break your broccoli into bite-size pieces. Add the can of chicken (including broth), mushrooms (undrained), cream of soup, water and milk. Turn burner to high and bring to a boil. Turn burner down to medium-high. Break up ramen noodles (crunch them in the bag before opening), then mix in with other ingredients. Add 1 flavor packet (from your ramen package). Cook (continue to boil) for 3-4 minutes.

Want to share a meal with The Lima News readers? Send your recipe with your name, city of residence, phone number (won’t be published) and a photo of your meal to [email protected].