Top Ramen Salad And Deep Fried Pop-Tarts: What To Do With Your Hurricane Irene Leftovers

By Chiara Atik for HowAboutWe.com

Did you load up on enough non-perishables to last a week of hurricane aftermath, only to find yourself now with electricity, power, and a cabinet full of ramen? Yep, us too.

Like most things in life, this can be turned into a romantic (or fun) activity. Call someone over, have them bring all their dry-foods, and make your own Iron Chef: Irene.

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Take stock of your ingredients, get creative, and get cooking.

To get us started, we asked NYC-based cookbook author Lukas Volger for some recipes based on the most commonly-purchased provisions.

Top Ramen Salad with Chicken or Smoked Tofu

1 small head Napa or red cabbage, shredded
Salt
1 Top Ramen seasoning packet
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 packages Top Ramen noodles
4 scallions, green and white parts, sliced thinly
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded, OR 1 package smoked tofu, cubed
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup toasted cashews or almonds, roughly chopped

Put the cabbage in a salad bowl and sprinkle with 3 pinches of salt. Toss with your hands to combine and then let sit for 10 minutes or so, as you prepare the dressing.

Make the dressing: Whisk together the seasoning packet and vinegar, then whisk in the oil until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust as needed. You may want to add a bit of salt or sugar.

Massage the cabbage a little bit and then pour off any liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Crunch up the Top Ramen noodles with your hands, into bite size pieces, over the cabbage, then add the scallions, chicken or tofu, sesame seeds, and nuts. Add the dressing. Serve.

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Tuna or Salmon Cakes

In the event that you stocked up on a lot of canned tuna or salmon, here's a way to avoid having to pawn it off on your cat.

2 6-ounce cans tuna or salmon
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Drain the fish and place it in a mixing bowl. Break it up with a fork, but don't whip it so that it appears shredded. Add the scallions, eggs, Old Bay, salt, and pepper, folding with a rubber spatula to combine. Fold in the bread crumbs, adding more if necessary if it appears too wet to hold its shape. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, for the crumbs to soak up excess moisture, then shape into 4 or 5 patties.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides and the centers are firm to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes per side. You may want to cover the skillet for some of the cooking time on each side to encourage them to cook through. Serve hot, with a lemon wedge and your favorite tartar or cocktail sauce, or put it on a bun.

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Canned Bean Veggie Burgers

These are the easiest veggie burgers I make, adapted from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way.

1 (15-ounce) can red, white, or black beans, or chickpeas of choice, drained and rinsed
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Squeeze lemon juice
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Put the beans in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add the eggs, parsley, Parmesean, mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold in the bread crumbs, adding more if the mixture is too wet to hold its shape. Shape into 4 patties.

Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the patties to the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes more, until firmed. Serve on buns, with your favorite burger fixins.

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Deep Fried Pop Tart Bites

2 Pop Tarts
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice water
Powdered sugar for dusting
Vegetable oil for frying

Quarter the Pop Tarts, and then cut each quarter into half. This will yield 8 bites per Poptart.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then stir in the water and egg until just smooth.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or fry daddy to 350 degrees. Working in batches, dip the pop tart pieces into the batter, then transfer to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove with a spider or heat-safe slotted spoon and transfer to a towel- or paper bag-lined plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Of course, if cooking isn't your thing, or if you still have leftovers to get rid of after your cooking session, you can always donate your food to a local food bank!

Happy cooking, and we're glad you're all safe!