This content was paid for by Ramen Express and created by Mashed.
Instant ramen is beloved for being inexpensive, easy to make, versatile, and, most importantly, extremely tasty. While you can opt for "gourmet" add-ons such as marinated ramen eggs, kimchi, and pork belly, these additions may not play so well with picky eaters, particularly younger ramen fans.
Ramen Express, brought to you by Palmetto Gourmet Foods, a Borealis Company, caters to a diverse audience, especially children. Its menu boasts a variety of flavors, such as chicken, beef, shrimp, lime and chili shrimp, soy sauce, and the daring "hotter & spicier" option tailored for the more adventurous family members. These flavorful choices not only elevate the taste of the noodles but also provide a unique sensory experience for kids of all ages. Ramen Express is made in the U.S. by a team of ramen fanatics who are serious about making ramen fun and affordable. Their eight flavors are not just plant-based, 100% vegetarian, and free of added MSG; they're also certified halal kosher and come with a bonus -- real veggies in every cup!
These add-ins, which are bound to be popular with kids and adults alike, add both texture and visual appeal. While each works well on its own, you can also mix and match them to build your perfect ramen bowl.
Cheese on your ramen? Don't knock it 'til you try it! In fact -- much to the delight of constantly online kids -- it's trendy on social media these days, with Instagrammers melting Brie on their instant noodles. However, others may prefer a slice of American cheese. Of course, if your little ones love cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, or cheese curds, those would all be great atop a noodle bowl, as well.
If you want to make your noodles just as fun to eat as they are tasty, here's an idea from Ramen Express: Use mini cookie cutters or a sharp knife to slice cheese into cute shapes. You could create something as simple as tiny circles and triangles, or go for a holiday theme with hearts for Valentine's Day, stars for Christmas or Hanukkah, and ghosts for Halloween.
Hot dogs, much like ramen noodles, are another great family food option. Why not put the two together, then? Beefy ones, hot dogs made of turkey or chicken, or even veggie dogs all work well. For older kids, you can chop hot dogs into circular slices and stir them directly into the noodles. Just remember to cut hot dogs into thin strips or mince them when serving young children, especially those under five years old (as advised by medical associations like Johns Hopkins Medicine).
One especially appealing (and safe) way to add a hot dog to your ramen is by cutting it into the shape of an octopus. The easiest method of doing this (courtesy of Ramen Express) is to halve the hot dog, then leave the rounded end intact but slice the flat bottom into eight distinct strips. Once you plop the dog into the ramen, the strips should curl up and separate to make octopus "tentacles."
Peanut butter may be something your family is used to eating in sandwich form, but you can also scoop a tablespoon or two into a cup of cooked ramen and stir until it melts into the broth. Not only will this ingredient give ramen a protein boost -- great for growing boys and girls -- but it also serves to thicken the broth.
Both chunky and smooth peanut butter work as a ramen add-in, with the former giving the noodles a little extra crunch. Crushed peanuts make a great garnish for this combination, as do chopped green onions, while a pinch of powdered ginger complements the peanut flavor even further. If your family likes things spicy, you could also squeeze a little sriracha into the noodles or sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes atop them.
Bacon, a surprisingly versatile culinary delight, transcends its traditional breakfast pairing with toast and eggs. It should come as no surprise that cooked, crumbled bacon makes for an amazing addition to a bowl of instant noodles like Ramen Express.
Pretty much any kind of bacon will work as a ramen mix-in, making it ideal for suiting your children's varying tastes. This includes the standard pork variety, turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, and even fancier varieties like lardons. You can also keep your meal meat-free for any vegetarians in the family by using plant-based "facon."
If you want to turn your ramen into a hearty meal, opt for a meatball topper. Beef, pork, chicken, or veggie meatballs alone will likely appeal to younger children with simple tastes. But what if you have an older teen with a more refined palate (or, at least, a good sense of humor)? Go Swedish by adding the meatballs to your noodles with a splash of cream and a spoonful of lingonberry jam ... the very similar-tasting cranberry sauce can be used in a pinch. You could even add a scoop of mashed potatoes or some peas to Ramen Express' beef flavor if you want to go for the whole IKEA-style meatball plate. Besides, what's the best part of getting dragged along on errands for a kid? Snacking at the food court afterward!
Yet another way to give your ramen a makeover is by stirring some spaghetti sauce into your noodles and topping them with Italian-style meatballs. Next, add a generous shake of parmesan cheese and maybe some melted mozzarella. As mentioned earlier, dairy is always a welcome addition to your bowl.
Ramen Express is widely available at Walmart, Aldi, and on Amazon.
Read the original article on Mashed.