Chili & Cheese Ramen Wonder

Total Time
20mins
Prep
5 mins
Cook
15 mins

Ok, you've got 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, and the table is piled with books, papers, afterschool snack wrappers and a tennis shoe with a broken lace. You're desperate, but dinner can still be delicious, and yes, you can get it done fast! So, you walk into your pantry, grab a few items, and pat yourself on the back for making those wise purchases. Dinner will be a snap! Call The Kids and/or The Spouse (most of the junk on the table is theirs, anyway, right? YOU wouldn't pile stuff on there.) and issue The Ultimatum: "The dining table will be cleared and set in 20 minutes or no dinner tonight." And mean it. Trust me, it works, but they have to know you mean it.

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Ingredients

Nutrition
  • 3 packages ramen noodles (any flavor since you won't need the seasoning packet) or 2 -3 cups of any leftover pasta (plain)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chili with beans (use meatless if you swing that way)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (with or without green chilies)
  • 4 -8 ounces shredded cheese or 4 -8 ounces sliced cheese (of your choice, Monterey Jack, American, Cheddar - I usually use extra sharp cheddar - you get a lot)

Directions

  1. Get a 3-quart casserole with a lid, and put about 6 cups of water in it, cover it and stick it in the microwave for about 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, crush the packages of ramen slightly, carefully open and remove the seasoning packets, which you won't need.
  3. (Collect'em, trade'em with your friends. I have 47 assorted seasoning packets now!) Set aside the ramen for now.
  4. Open the cans of chili and the tomatoes.
  5. Do not drain the tomatoes: you'll need the juice in this or it might be kind of dry.
  6. If the cheese is sliced or in a chunk, break or cut it up into small bits that will melt easily.
  7. Take the casserole out of the microwave, dump in the ramen noodles, pushing all the bits down into the water, breaking it up a bit more if necessary.
  8. Cover and return to microwave oven, cook for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  9. Check to see if the ramen noodles seem mostly done.
  10. (You don't want them mushy. Okay, maybe you do, but I don't) If they seem done, drain well.
  11. The lid on my casserole is not a tight fit, so I just hold the lid on and turn the whole things sideways so the water drains out.
  12. Dump in the chili and tomatoes, and toss well.
  13. I used two large spoons to do this.
  14. Cover and return to microwave, cook on HIGH for 5 minutes or until hot throughout.
  15. When you remove the casserole from the microwave, put your side dish in to heat up.
  16. Then sprinkle the chili ramen with cheese, replace cover, and let stand until cheese melts.
  17. By the time the side dish is hot, the cheese should be melted nicely.
  18. Now, check to see if they got that table set, or if you're gonna put this in the fridge for tomorrow night's dinner!