By Vanessa Greaves

Ramen to the rescue!

Pressed for time or short on cash? Turn inexpensive packs of quick-fix ramen noodles into satisfying meals with a few simple add-ins. Bonus: It's a great way to turn leftovers into entirely new meals. Here are 12 easy ideas to get you started.

Related: Check out our complete collection of Ramen Noodle Recipes.

Note: Some cooks prefer to not use the spice packet that comes with the instant noodles because of the high sodium content. To boost flavor without the packets, try using broth to cook the noodles, and add a dash of sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce, or chile-garlic sauce to taste. Sautéing vegetables with onion, garlic, and fresh ginger will also amp up the dish.

1. Fast and Easy Tofu Lo-Mein | Ready in 30 minutes

A block of tofu and fresh or frozen stir-fry vegetables are all you'll need. Add a splash of sesame oil or chile sauce for extra flavor.

Photo by CookinBug

2. Quick Tofu Stir Fry | Ready in 25 minutes

Tofu, onions, and bell pepper get fried up with a sweet yakisoba-style sauce.

Photo by Jenny Aleman

3. Easy Chicken Skillet | Ready in 30 minutes

Perfect way to use up leftover chicken. Just add any vegetables you want, and you've got dinner in minutes.

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

4. Ramen Noodle Stir-Fry with Chicken and Vegetables | Ready in 30 minutes

Another 30-minute meal starring chicken and a load of vegetables. The sauce is a flavorful mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chile-garlic sauce (think Sriracha).

Photo by Rock_Lobster

5. Spicy Thai Steak and Vegetable Stir Fry | Ready in 35 minutes

This is a clean-out-your-fridge recipe that can use up odds and ends of vegetables, along with less than a pound of steak, to make dinner for four.

Photo by mommyluvs2cook

6. Chinese Fried Noodles | Ready in 40 minutes

Just like the fried rice you get in Chinese-American restaurants, but with noodles. The sautéed shrimp is strictly optional.

7. Beefy Italian Ramen Skillet | Ready in 25 minutes

Asian ramen goes Italian for a cross-cultural skillet supper.

Photo by lovestohost

8. Quick Asian Beef Noodle Soup | Ready in 30 minutes

This quick and easy soup can be made with any kind of protein and your choice of ramen flavor.

Photo by Stacy D.

9. Ramen Noodle Frittata | Ready in 20 minutes

As you can see in the photo, Allrecipes community member jartiv customized the heck out of this easy egg and noodle dish, saying, "Very flexible recipe. I use 1 package of ramen and 3 eggs. You can get pretty creative with mixins and other toppings, here is my favorite: Mix in 2 tbsp of green salsa and 2 tbsp of sliced green onion. Top with kernel corn, squeeze of lime, cilantro, and Parmesan."

Photo by jartiv

10. Ramen Carbonara | Ready in 20 minutes

"Carbonara is known as a quick-to-fix meal," says recipe creator Betty Soup. "Get dinner done even sooner by using ramen instead of traditional pasta."

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

11. Shrimp Noodle Bowls | Ready in 20 minutes

This refreshing noodle bowl tastes best when you serve it cold, making it perfect to pack for lunches.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

12. Spicy Beef Ramen | Ready in 20 minutes

You can use leftover steak, or any protein of your choice, to make these quick and satisfying noodles.

Photo by Allrecipes Magazine