My kids are very picky about the things they eat and with five of them, it is rare when they all agree.

Since I cook every meal outside of school, that makes me the lucky person that gets to decide which kid is going to hate me that evening.

some nights I have spent more than $40 on a single, home cooked meal only to find barely touched plates after the kids have had showers and gone to bed. I try not to hover over them, I don't want them to feel obligated to finish their plates.

That trained me to be an overeater as portion sizes increased, a habit I am trying not to pass on.

They eat constantly all day every day anyway from those little cheese circles I buy at Costco to entire cans of mandarin oranges.

I have five ravenous girls with huge appetites. That means making as much as I can as cheaply as I can.

Enter ramen noodles.

These cheap little gems can be soup or a million combo of stir fry or yakisoba combos.

They are a budget cook's dream, so long as you just pitch the sodium filled packets of flavor that accompany them.

That makes them too unhealthy.

Seasoned yourself, not only are they healthy with veggies and chicken or shrimp, they taste way better.

The best base for a flavorful yakisoba is oyster sauce and a bit of fish oil with a hint of (good) low sodium soy sauce. Hoisin sauce is an easier sauce for beginners of the yakisoba craft. Whatever you do when cooking Asian food, do not add salt if you use soy sauce.

As for regular ramen noodle soup, I use vegetable broths and a few spices.

I love adding green beans or shrimp to my ramen noodles, but being on a budget usually means veggies are what's on our menu.

So next time Freddy's or the Red Apple are out of the good yakisoba noodles in the fresh vegetable section, just head over to the ramen noodle section.

TSM Henderson

A cheater's homemade ramen...

1 box of organic veggie broth
1 tsp butter
2 tble spoons soy sauce
chopped bunch of green onions (optional)
sprinkle of pepper
veggies or shrimp (or boiled chicken in which case I would make your own broth)
5 packets of ramen noodles

Bring the broth and seasonings to boil with your veggies and meat and butter. Add noodles and simmer on low for a minute or two, then let rest covered until soft.

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