If you’re a broke college student, chances are you know your way around a ramen noodle. When the dining hall food is lacking or you're short on time, ramen noodles are a consistent, easy meal to make in any dorm. But after several bowls, the Roast Chicken and Lime Shrimp flavoring mixes can get real old, real quick. So, here are seven easy, cheap ramen noodle hacks to make your homemade bowls a whole lot more exciting. 

1. Make it spicy 

For those who like some heat in their life, Frank's Red Hot or Sriracha are great to drizzle on almost any flavor of ramen (you really can put that s*** on everything). To up the spice factor even more, stir roughly a teaspoon of chili paste directly into your broth. Traditional brand Huy Fong makes different flavors of the pastes at different levels of spice, and it's pretty affordable.

2. Switch up your broth

An average carton of standard chicken broth is typically only about a $1.50. If your budget can handle it, boil a pot of real broth instead of flavored water. Beef and chicken broth go well with almost any flavor profile, and will make your poor ramen taste much more rich. 

3. Get healthy with it 

While we all love to slurp a bowl of straight carbohydrates, ramen doesn't exactly qualify as a balanced meal. Adding a slew of vegetables not only improves the taste of your ramen, but it ups the nutrition of your meal by a lot. Broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms are great to add while your broth is boiling. Spinach or cabbage will wilt nicely if you place them in after cooking, and traditional ramen fix-ins like bean sprouts or scallions add a tasty crunch when sprinkled on top. 

4. Add in a protein

Bacon, chicken, steak, or even soft-boiled eggs are great vehicles to "beef up" your ramen. Sauté your protein with some soy sauce or sesame oil, and you'll totally feel more satisfied by your dinner. 

5. Cook culturally

Although ramen is known to be an Asian cuisine, college is all about leaving your comfort zone, right? Take that ramen to a new level by eating it Italian-style with some tasty sauce and cheese, Americanized as a chili or mac-n-cheese bowl, or even try Mexican-style ramen

6. Try it dry

I know that ramen is usually a soup, but don't forget that those noodles can always be crumbled into a whole new dish. Add vegetables and dressing of your choice, and a ramen salad or slaw is born. This is an awesome lighter option if it's super freaking hot out or you want to feel ~healthy~. 

7. Mix and match

If you REALLY want to try something crazy, try getting creative with your flavor packets and spice profiles. Add a scoop of peanut butter or a splash of coconut milk into your broth to make it creamy. Mix your flavor packet with a pinch of fresh chili flakes or ginger, or even throw a bit of kimchi in there. The more creative you get with your ramen, the more likely you are stumble upon a culinary masterpiece. 

So next time you find yourself too sick of the dining hall and too poor to eat out, grab your instant packet, spice it up with these ramen noodle hacks, and get to feasting.