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Why I started experimental cooking using leftovers and cheap ingredients


By Matt Weed

In my younger years I was a cook. I spent almost 10 years cooking at various places, mostly mom and pop style breakfast n’ lunch types. I wasn’t trained, I just always enjoyed it. I left the industry in pursuit of a more stable and better paying career, but I have always kept up with it and I still try new things all the time.

I am also a bit competitive, and my sister is a classically trained chef, so I’ve been known to post my creations on social media to try to one-up her and my other friends who have impressive skills in the kitchen.

One of my favoritest (in my world that is a word dangit!) things in cooking is trying to make something amazing from cheap ingredients or leftovers. It’s almost like a game to me. Now, I’ve had my fair share of disasters that go straight to the trash, but every so often a real gem is discovered.

One of my many talents (I’ve been told) is my unique story telling skills. I love to try to add a little fun to anything I write or post. I hope you’ll find this journey an enjoyable experience and maybe even give this a try.

So, let's get to it!

I present thee with:

Porky's Crispy Fried Ramen

I had some leftover pork loin that needed to be used up and a desire to make something fine for lunch. So, I trimmed off some of the fattier parts, minced them up and threw them in a pan to crisp up. Next, I cooked the ramen noodles and strained well. I looked at the seasoning packet, said 'not today Satan’ and threw it right into the trash.

Next I hit that hot pan with the now crispy lil porky, fatty, bo-batty delights with some sesame seed oil, a lil ginger paste and a splash of soy sauce.

I gave it a swirl and added the noodles to begin getting their crispy on. I flipped the noodles (once I felt they had reached optimal level crispy) with one hand perfectly while doing jazz hands with the other so the left hand didn’t feel left out of the process.

I let the noodles reach "optimal level crispy" on their other side, and then slid them onto the plate from the pan with the level of precision and hand control only a surgeon could replicate.

Next, I took some thin slices of that pork loin I had sitting to the side lathered in the same sesame seed oil concoction I had fried the noodles in and let them feel the heat just long enough to let them know that in my kitchen, I am God and decide who lives or dies. Combine, and dine.

I had never done this before and it turned out great. I didn't have kimchi at the time, but that would go oh so well with this, with maybe some fresh green onions thrown on the top. This also works very well with an Asian-style mushroom sauce for you vegetarians out there.

And if I had to guesstimate, this probably cost all of $1.25 worth of ingredients to make and taste like something you'd pay $10 to $15 for in a restaurant.

I’d love to hear some of your fancy cheap ramen recipes, or even just something you whipped together that turned out surprisingly well. Please send them to me at the newspaper office and I may test and share them with readers at a later date.


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