Broke and can’t cook? College students practically live off instant food, but it’s boring eating the same things over and over again. Try these five recipes to add a surprising twist to some instant meals you might already have on hand.

#Spoontip: String cheese or cheese slices can be used for any recipe that needs cheese, simply shred it yourself!

1. Miso Ramen


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Photo by Jamie Le

Ingredients: Instant Miso Soup & Instant Ramen

One of the simplest recipes that adds a kick to a popular go-to instant food, Miso Ramen will satisfy your late night cravings.

Simply take the noodles out of the ramen package – soup base not needed – and boil them. Then, add the instant miso soup base when you would normally add the ramen soup base. WA-LAH! Now you’ve got yourself some miso ramen.

2. Dumpling Pasta


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Photo by Jamie Le

Ingredients: Dumplings, Ketchup & Cheese

Modeled after a recipe shared on the popular Korean show, Happy Together, this recipe is definitely handy when you’re in desperate need for pasta, because who isn’t?

The first step to this unexpectedly tasty combination is to overcook the dumplings. After doing so, take them out of the pot and break them apart. Add ketchup into the deconstructed dumplings and mix thoroughly so that the ketchup spreads evenly.

Then, sprinkle some cheese on top and cook it in the oven at 350°F until the cheese melts or microwave it for approximately 45 seconds. After letting it cool, it is ready to go.

3. Rice Burger With Chicken Patty


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Photo by Jamie Le

Ingredients: Instant Rice, Canned Chicken & Cheese

When you find yourself with only instant rice and canned chicken, this recipe will not only use these ingredients, but give a twist to a boring meal.

First, smash up the chicken in a bowl and mix it with some shredded cheese. Afterwards, shape it into a patty and fry it. Make sure you heat up the rice before splitting it in half to make two buns. When the patty is done cooking, simply place it on top of the bun and add any sauce to your liking.

4. Ketchup Fried Rice


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Photo by Jamie Le

Ingredients: Instant Rice, Ketchup & Canned Chicken/Tuna

Fried rice is a simple recipe that can be made anywhere, but sometimes soy sauce and other essential ingredients are not on hand. That’s when ketchup fried rice sweeps in and saves the day.

Fry the meat of your choice in a frying pan and be sure to break it down enough so that it’s easy for you to eat. Depending on the instant rice you have, it would be a good idea to heat it up a little before frying it. Place the rice into the frying pan, and throw in as much ketchup as you want. Beware the more ketchup there is, the stronger it will taste. Mix it up and then you are good to go.

#SpoonTip: If you have eggs, definitely fry an egg sunny side up and slide it on top of this delicious meal.

5. Mac ‘n Cheese with a Kick


instant food

Photo by Jamie Le

IngredientsInstant Mac and Cheese, Instant Ramen soup base (preferably a spicy one) & Hot Cheetos

Everyone knows and loves mac and cheese, but it’s boring to eat it the same way all the time. This recipe adds spice to your childhood favorite.

Though it may look complicated, it’s actually very simple. Cook the mac and cheese according to the box, or however you like it, and add the soup base according to your tastebuds. When served, sprinkle some crushed Hot Cheetos and you got yourself a fantastically crunchy meal.