Karen’s Beef Brisket Ramen Noodle Bowl, while not authentic, is tasty.

Our kids call me the carryout queen. I guess it was because I was raised by Depression-era and World War II parents who lived during the Great Depression. Yes, they were just kids, but things like that leave a big impression on kids; in 1934, Dad was 7 years old and my mom was just 4 years old. They also remembered living through the rationing of food during World War II. When they met, they realized they had similar life goals; they thought alike. They were risk takers and when they married, they decided that as soon as they could, they would start their own business. They were indeed entrepreneurs. I was just 4 when they moved into a small basement home and started a dumptruck business, then a furnace company, and then added a sheet-metal business. Then they built a free-standing, sheet-metal business building. After that construction, they decided to become homebuilders, starting with our own and so on. But as a small child, and the oldest of four children, I remember our parents struggling to make ends meet and make their businesses successful. Maybe that is where I get my “doggie bag” mentality and, heck, we didn’t even have a dog. “Don’t waste food,” “We would like a doggie bag for that,” and the No. 1 parent statement, “Clean your plate, there are children starving in the world” were some of the words I carried over into my parenthood. I still have a hard time seeing food go to waste. Today I’m foraging in my fridge to show you how easy it is to create a meal out of leftovers. I will include the blueprint for what I made, but there really isn’t a recipe. However, I will also include a quick and easy recipe for dipping sauce for egg rolls or fried wontons. “Please Join Our Table” as we make a wonderful Asian ramen dish out of leftovers …


My Beef Brisket Ramen Noodle Bowl (this is about taste, not authenticity)

About 1 1/2 cups of cooked, sliced beef brisket barbecue

2 baby bok choys that are starting to wilt, cleaned and sliced

1/2 cup shredded carrots from a small bag intended for a salad

1/3 of an English cucumber leftover from making a Greek dip; be sure to remove seeds, peel it and slice it into sticks

1/2 cup cilantro leaves purchased for a taco soup that I forgot to use

1/2 cup finely sliced red onion, last one in the produce bin

1/3 cup seeded and diced poblano pepper; I wanted to use jalapeños, but I didn’t have any so this was a good substitute

Chili sauce as needed

2 tablespoons finely diced fresh ginger; it was in the freezer

1 lime, sliced into wedges, left over from our hump-day happy hour

4 eggs poached or fried sunny-side up, or if you have pre-hard cooked eggs in the fridge, you can use them

3 packages soft Japanese udon, or you can use whatever noodles you want — dried, fresh, spaghetti or even rice noodles if that is all you have, but try to find the soft ones, they are great!



2 cups beef bone broth, leftover from making taco soup

2 cups vegetable broth (I had this in the pantry), if you don’t have it just use more bone broth

1 cup water if needed to thin the broth

6 small take-out packages of soy sauce

1/3 cup pre-sliced mushrooms, just purchased to sauté with steaks, or use 1 canned anchovy drained and smashed, or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 teaspoon vegetable oil like sunflower or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the ramen broth, place all ingredients in a large stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes. As it simmers, assemble the veggies on a platter and place on the table with the plate of sliced brisket. Cook the noodles, drain and place evenly in 4 large ramen bowls. Place the sliced beef on top of the noodles and ladle the broth on top of this, evenly dividing the mushrooms that will be floating on top. Add eggs, top the bowl with any or all vegetables, chili sauce, toasted sesame seeds, Sriracha, a dash of sesame oil, and any other ingredients you want.



1 package of frozen vegetable-filled wontons or egg rolls, (I like to use minis), prepared per package directions. Serve with a dipping sauce and a purchased sweet chili sauce.


My Easy Asian Dipping Sauce

4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey or sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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