Top 5 Ramen Hacks

The life of a food critic is often far less glamorous than it may seem. Truly.

For as many fine dining meals as I may eat, I eat far more often in my own kitchen. And most of those meals are leftovers designed to last for at least a few days. But while the majority of my home-cooked meals are dollar-stretching standbys like cassoulet and Hoppin' John (it's not just for New Year's!), I shamefully admit to eating Ramen noodles on a fairly standard basis.

Feel free to judge me now.

However, I learned back in college that Ramen tastes absolutely foul when prepared according to the package's instructions. (Not to mention that little flavoring packet is a vicious sodium bomb.) Instead, I came up with all manner of "hacks" to make the noodles taste better while still staying within a pretty small budget.

Here are five of my favorite Ramen recipes, good for small budgets and large appetites. (And none of them involve breaking off pieces of Ramen blocks and dipping them into salsa. You're welcome.)