The IRS Ate My Lunch

In Food & Wine, Money Saving Tips on April 15, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Today is a joyous day for some, and awful for others. Until recently, I was one of the lucky people who rejoiced at the onset of April 15th. Receiving my highly anticipated tax refund meant I could (kinda) shop ’til I drop and throw a lil’ sumfin in the piggy bank.

Thanks to my own tax mis-education (should’ve made some W-4 changes…how the hell was I supposed to  know? So much for doing my own taxes!) I now owe the &#^% IRS an exhorbitant amount of money (relatively speaking, of course).

In order to continue along with life as I know it without having tax collectors stalking me, drastic measures need to be taken. Regrettably, I am now on the IRS diet.

What is the IRS diet you ask? Lunch that costs no more than $2 a day (yes $2 a day…cue Sally Struthers). Somehow, I have managed to make said lunch taste quite delicious. I am eating ramen noodles daily, people. Yes, the dry ramen noodles in the brightly colored packs, which cost about $0.50 each, $5 for a 12-pack ($3.50 if you use your grocery’s loyalty card or coupons…it’s that serious). And you know what? It’s hella yummy, if you know what to do with it.

Thought my days eating this were over. I was wrong, but am actually OK with it.

You might recall my Poor Man’s Pasta dish, which – if made in bulk – will also fit the $2-a-day lunch budget. I now have a cadre of ramen noodle recipes up my sleeve, which I will share with you frugalistas and frugalistos one at a time. Today’s recipe – Cabbage Noodle Soup (thinking of calling it Kim Chi Soup, for reasons that I’ll later explain).



  • 2 packs ramen noodles (any flavor will do because you’re going to immediately throw away that MSG-filled flavor packet upon opening)
  • 1 small green cabbage
  • 1 large spanish onion
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • delicious, free water
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • kim chi or West Indian pepper sauce


Chop cabbage, peppers, tomatoes and onions (separately). Bring olive oil to a low heat in a medium saucepan and sautee onions until transluscent. Add cabbage and a generous amount of black pepper, stirring so that the oil coats the chopped cabbage fairly evenly. Cover the saucepan for 1-2 minutes. Add chopped peppers, tomatoes, ramen noodles and enough water to cover the cabbage. Cover the saucepan again and let the brew simmer until the cabbage and noodles are cooked. Add salt and pepper sauce to taste (I like it super spicy – so much so that I’ve been told this tastes like kim chi soup, which – if it existed – would be delicious).

You’ll get a good 5-6 days worth of soup from this, and the ingredients (assuming you already have salt, pepper and oil of some form sitting in your pantry) cost no more than $10.

Pam Anderson, you bedda get on this!

  1. Well gyul, you know I been an ardent follower of ramenology for years now!

    Yesterday I had a $2 lunch compliments energy kitchen’s tax break special, and there’s a place near astor place called, of all things, CHEEP..They’re falafel pitas are 2 bucks with an array of toppings(similar to maoz)..hummus I think is 75c extra!!! A belly full for under $3..not a bad deal!

    Two doors down I saw 99c pizza…while the nutrition might suffer a bit, at least the pocket can get a bit of a stretch 🙂

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