Hacks Hit-Or-Miss Recipes Tastemade/Snapchat

These Tasty Recipe Hacks All Start With Instant Ramen


Cheap, sodium-rich, and… cheap. Instant ramen can be many things, but the last thing we’d call instant ramen is versatile. Yet it can be that and then some. After you’re done laughing, give us a chance to prove otherwise. Heck, you might even want to try one of these at home.

Asian Noodle Salad


Photo: Rasa Malaysia

When our best friend made this meal, we thought it was sarcasm on a plate. Who makes processed noodles the basis for salad? Turns out this dish is more common around the country than we ever expected. It’s also easy-peasy to throw together. Packaged slaw, edamame, and DIY vinaigrette is the answer to your next potluck. You’ll be the person who brought the salad that people actually ate!


Ramen Burrito


Essentially, we’re swapping out beans ‘n rice for ramen. It’s a fun fusion and look how cool it looks on Instagram! Bonus: it’ll pair fine with whatever you roll it with, because these oodles of noodles should absorb any saucy flavors going on. Customize away, but maybe amp up the spice and throw in a crunchy veg for contrast.

(P.S. If you want the above Jidori Fried Chicken Ramen Burrito, we’ve got it at our own noodle festival “Noods Noods Noods“…)


Ramen Pizza


Photo: Serious Eats

A little grossed out, yet oddly intrigued, we are conflicted by ramen as a dough substitute. Somehow, it seems to make sense. While we know a few people who never even finish their crust, most of us inhale slices like it’s no biggie. Think of it this way — it’ll handle whatever toppings you place without getting all flimsy; and flimsy crusts are no bueno.

Ramen Krispy Treats


Photo: Joy the Baker

Stereotyping ramen as savory is automatic. So what happens when we want to venture into sweeter territory? Krispy treats happen. Part gooey marshmallow, part crunchy noodle, all delicious. And cheaper than using foods that pop or snap. Personalize them with cookie cutters for all the compliments.


Ramen Stir-Fry


Photo: Persephone Magazine

The photo on those noodle packages always show soup, but a dry dish is less messy and just as satisfying. In lieu of a seasoning packet, why not try hoisin sauce? Again, this is what you make of it, so go Swedish Chef and clean out the fridge. Or be more refined with just enough ingredients to make it interesting. Include a green and vegetable component to give it class. Some cooked, chopped chicken is also a safe protein to work with. Don’t limit yourself.


Ramen Grilled Cheese


Photo: SORTEDfood

Ramen as slices of bread? Yes, it is possible. Just use an egg to bind the ramen noodles after cooking and let it chill, and you can create your own ramen buns by simply pan-frying them afterward. Grilled cheese is the easiest meal ever and great for ramen, but the possibilities are endless with this starting point. Ramen burgers, ramen club sandwiches… you name it.

Ramen Spanish Tortilla


Photo: Serious Eats

This is our mic drop moment. Although eggs are generally associated with breakfast, this Spanish tortilla is welcomed at lunch or dinner. Like a filling omelet, the heft of the dish would normally be from diced potatoes. Al dente ramen, eggs, seasoning, and sliced onion gently cooked in a pan will fill your belly with starchy goodness. All that’s missing is some Tapatio (or would it be Sriracha?).

Culture Health Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

Here Are 6 Quirky Stories About Sweet Potatoes You Probably Have Not Heard Yet

Uber-healthy compared to your standard spud, sweet potatoes are nature’s orange-hued, starchy candy. Put ‘em in pie, dunk some in ketchup, or top with mini marshmallows; you can do a lot of deliciousness with these guys. They’ve also got some quirky stories to share.


Their aroma took an entire town hostage


Photo: WNCT

The community of Farmville, North Carolina (no relation to the game) experienced an emergency when an entire silo of dried sweets was engulfed in flames. Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration had firefighters pumping upwards of 26 million gallons of water into the structure to extinguish the fire. The resulting smoke wafted throughout Farmville for over three weeks. This demonstrated that there is, in fact, too much of a good thing.


They’ve been lead singer in a band


Photo: Melinda Todd

Well, at least on the silver screen. Former American Idol contestant and Dancing with the Stars champ Kellie Pickler portrayed a tuber in a full-length film in 2014. Her character’s name was Mirabelle, and that flick was VeggieTales: Beauty and the Beet. As the lead singer of her family’s band, Mirabelle — we mean Pickler — belted out eight of the 10 featured songs. Wonder if she got any produce perks at her local supermarket?


Sweet potato diets were a thing


Photo: Eat This

Diets are nothing new. The ones celebrities are following seem to get the most attention, though. And Korean celebs have got potatoes on their mind, as one of these weight loss plans involves copious amounts of them. K-pop girl group Secret shared their diet that involved consuming five sweet potatoes in a week. The reasoning: low calorie count + high in fiber and water = dropping a deuce more frequently. Heck, if it works . . .


Two varieties are saving malnourished populations


Photo: MIC

Researcher Sunette Laurie was on a mission to find the perfect sweet potato for farmers to harvest in South Africa. The requirements: higher dry matter content, a firm texture, and sweet taste. After testing a dozen varieties in various climates for adaptability, she narrowed it down to Purple Sunset and Implio ones. Her efforts now nourish natives with crops that counter the prevalent Vitamin A deficiency. You go, girl!


Musicians make excellent sweet potato sales reps


Photo: LA Magazine

Ms.Patti LaBelle currently sells a line of sweet potato pies exclusively at Walmart. Thanks to a superfan, a video praising the dessert went viral with over 10 million views. It also made Patti’s pies in such high demand that the chain is in the weeds trying to keep up with orders. However, she is not the first crooner to make a profit off the orange veg. Singer Lloyd Price manages Icon Food Brands, which includes Lawdy Miss Clawdy sweet potato cookies, named after his first hit.


Vardaman, Mississippi loves their sweet potatoes


Photo: Porter Briggs

The town is the self-proclaimed “Sweet Potato Capital of the World,” and they celebrate their devotion with a week-long festival in early November. It’s been going on for 42 years and counting in the area named after James Kimble Vardaman, former Mississippi governor and senator. Festival highlights include tractor judging, pageantry, and (of course) pie-eating contests. If you can’t wait ’til November, then head to Benton, Kentucky in April, where they hold a Tater Day Festival that includes a carnival, baking, and canning competitions. Time for a road trip, sweet potato fans!

Hacks Hit-Or-Miss Products Tastemade/Snapchat

Greek Yogurt Suddenly Levels Up These 7 Unexpected Foods


Let’s be honest about Greek yogurt — it’s pretty boring stuff. Why else would companies make a dozen flavored ones? Staring at a spoonful is about as exciting as watching our nails dry, so we are on a mission to incorporate this good-for-you snack into some of our favorite meals.

Pizza Dough


Photo: The Skinny Fork

You heard us. A dish that can be enjoyed any time of day, hot or cold, pizza is our fifth food group. And get this: there are two-ingredient recipes out there. Two! Make your own next time and throw a DIY pizza party. Doing so will allow you to delegate purchasing beer to everybody else.


Fudge Pops


Photo: Kitchen Lab Project

Dessert is how we celebrate the best of times and the worst of times, so converting it into a treat is a no-brainer. Blend with chocolate almond milk, and locate those popsicle molds. Ah, now chilled, hand-held happiness is within your reach. Bonus: you’ll have extras to share (or not).




Photo: Little Bitty Bakes

If there’s a way to make flapjacks good for you, we are all in. Assembling this stack with our designated ingredient makes for some protein-packed perfection. Think it’s too healthy? Bring a handful of chocolate chips into the mix. Now pass the maple syrup.


Avocado Ranch Dip


Photo: Hey Wanderer

When in doubt, we say craft a party dish. Find us someone who says no to avocado or ranch (allergies excluded), and we’ll slap some sense into them. Greek yogurt’s tart attitude plays well with others, making it the perfect meeting place for raw veggies, chips, and maybe on that chicken sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch.


Fettuccine Alfredo


Photo: Eat This, Not That! 

Of all the pasta indulgences, we avoided this one forever once we learned how much fat this sauce contained… until now. Sans flour, heavy cream, or eggs, substituting with this single item makes up for a trio of richness that’d otherwise go straight to your hips. With so few ingredients, we suggest using some quality Parmesan and pasta. Oooh, and grilled shrimp. Now what time can we come over for dinner?


Overnight Oats


Photo: Fit Foodie Finds

Greek yogurt on its own is “blah” until layered with tasty delights and stashed in the fridge until morning. Add oats, spice, milk, yogurt and whatever sings to you (we’re fans of flaxseed and protein powder). Then either shake it (if you’ve got a lid) or give a thorough stir to get things mixed up. When it’s time for brekkie, this concoction will provide that punch of energy that’ll last longer than those donuts.




Photo: Eighty Twenty

We’re squeezing in a slaw for good measure, because veggies! You might count lettuce leaf and tomato slice in a burger as “salad,” but we feel less guilty with a recipe including carrots, cabbage and green onions. Quick to throw together, cool down a spicy burger with ‘em, or have it accompany that next batch of fried chicken. You’ll be thanking us for that bonus crunch and tang to your meal.

Hit-Or-Miss Products Tastemade/Snapchat

7 Facts That Make Quinoa A True ‘Superfood’


Good for you; hard to pronounce. That’s about all we knew about quinoa before trying to discover more. Sure, it’s a “Superfood,” but like any beloved superhero, they have a compelling backstory. From the origins of its name to space travel, learn about this mysterious grain (or is it really a grain?!).


Quinoa Means Mother Of All Grain


Photo: The Vegan Woman

Its translation comes from the Spanish spelling of “quechua” in the Inca language. Literally, it is “mother of all grain.” Incans considered it to be sacred. But quinoa isn’t really a grain; it is technically a seed. It’s part of the goosefoot family, making it related to beets, spinach… and tumbleweeds?!


Quinoa Pumps You Up With Nutrients


Photo: Full Circle Fitness Blog

Quinoa’s earned the “superfood” nickname, because of its nutrient-dense attributes. According to the USDA, one cup of cooked quinoa has 2.8 grams of iron, or 15% of your daily recommended intake. That is four times the amount of iron per serving than brown rice. It also has 10 times more folate, a nutrient women have a difficult time finding.


It Can Take The Heat And The Cold

Photo: Green Mom

80% of the world’s quinoa is grown in South America, specifically in the areas of Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa is a highly adaptable crop. It can be grown from sea level to an altitude of 4,000 meters, and can withstand temperatures from minus eight to 38-degrees Celsius. If you grew a plant at home, its leaves could make for a nutritious side dish.


Hair Can Benefit From Quinoa, Too!


Photo: Beauty and the Chic

When you consume quinoa, you’re ‘cleaning’ hair follicles with vegetable protein. Its nine amino acids protect hair shafts, strengthening and even repairing damaged hair. This also reduces dry scalp and dandruff. Thanks to those proteins, split ends are treated and balanced by the natural oil production. Early quinoa farmers have been known to reserve water for later use as a natural shampoo.


Quinoa’s Coating Is A Natural Bird And Pest Repellent


Photo: Against the Grain Nutrition

We rinse quinoa in cold water to remove its natural, waxy coating called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. This outer layer acts as a natural pest and bird deterrent. Then cook it as you would rice. Be wary of purchasing products made of quinoa flour, though. They are typically refined and do not possess the same health benefits of consuming whole grain, errrm, seed.


Other Countries Drink Their Quinoa


Photo: Feast Magazine

Chicha is a Central and South American commonly consumed beverage. Typically made of corn, quinoa is also used. Served to visitors and during social gatherings, its taste varies depending on which country you’re in, and whether it’s been fermented (akin to beer) or not. We say don’t question it, and drink up. Cheers!


NASA Has Served Quinoa For Long-Duration Manned Spaceflights


Photo: Vice

With zero cholesterol and the most nutrients per 100 calories, the gluten-free super seed is a preferred food at Cape Canaveral. The World Health Organization even equates its protein levels to that found in milk. It not only does a body good, but quinoa nourishes astronauts to infinity and beyond!

Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Chuck E. Cheese (Besides the Atari one)

A musically talented rodent that isn’t named Mickey has quite the fan base. With close to 600 pizza parlors in the U.S., South America and the Middle East, this privately-owned fun center is the old school version of Dave & Buster’s. Get to know our entertaining character, Mr. Cheese, and his fully baked empire a bit better– after you use some hand sanitizer.


Chuck was meant to be a coyote


Due to either the founder’s or the animatronics team’s inability to differentiate between a rat and a coyote costume, a rat mascot was created. Even then, Chuck E. Cheese was supposed to be Rick Rat’s Pizza, but their public relations department thought the throwing the name of a plague-carrying rodent on their signs would turn people off. Finally, in 1995, they performed a complete overhaul of the chain and Chuck suddenly became a (more approachable) mouse.


In Australia, locations are called Charlie Cheese’s


In the land down under, their “Chuck” is otherwise known as a Technicolor dream, a.k.a. vomiting. Sound call, considering they’re already dealing with a rodent mascot.


You can cook with Chuck’s cheese at home


If you’re a fan of the slice, they now sell a grocery line of shredded cheese featuring the mouse man himself on the packaging. Also in stores, Chuck-branded string cheese. Although we’re most curious about the lunch box-friendly yogurt squeezes in melonberry/cotton candy tastes.


Chuck E. Cheese uses 7.2 million pounds of fresh mozzarella a year


They also use nearly 85,000 pounds of pepperoni monthly on cheesy pies.


You can book a special appearance


While only non-profit private and public schools with over 75 students can book an event, the perks are pretty sweet. Fifteen percent of sales are donated back to school, and educators earn a free meal and trip in the Ticket Blaster. If you’ve always wanted to stand in a large wind tube and collect the tickets flying around, now’s your chance.


They’ve got three ways to score free tokens


“Tokens for Grades” will reward kids with 10 gold doubloons when they show up with a current report card. Or download and complete their “Daily Chores” calendar after two weeks of tasks for more coinage. In addition, an incentive to book a party online includes 100 bonus tokens the day of your event.


If that doesn’t happen, discounted game tokens are available


You can find Chuck E. Cheese tokens for about half-price off eBay. Make sure the tokens are legit (with Mr. Cheese pictured on them), and not generic ones. Using non-Chuck E. Cheese tokens in their games is considered theft. Don’t get too many, though. Corporate is working on a rechargeable card to take the place of tokens.


In 1995, Mattel started selling Chuck E. Cheese-themed Barbie dolls


Barbie has never shied away from a little brand placement. Although, it is a bit much for her to have a pair of cheesy, Chuck E. Cheese outfits. The first iteration featured a custom shirt and tote to go with her tuxedo. More recently, in 2001, she was spotted sporting a bold logo graphic.


There’s a feature film starring Mr. Cheese


Released in 1999, Chuck E. Cheese in the Galaxy 5000 followed our determined dairy leader to planet Orion to race in the Galaxy 5000. Gold diggers, cheaters and doubts of self-confidence almost cause Chuck to throw in the towel, but cheesiness prevails. Never heard of it? It was a direct-to-video release (ask your parents about VHS tapes).

Hit-Or-Miss Restaurants

These Are The Best Restaurant Chain Social Media Accounts That You Should Be Following

Let’s face it, we’re an ADD society with control issues. Nowadays it takes more than a jingle to keep our interest. We require visual stimulation, and things that’ll do more than have us ‘Like’ them. These creative brands know how to make fun of themselves, collaborate, and put on a persona beyond “happy meal” status. If you’re not following them by now, then you’re missing out.


1. Del Taco on Vine

Props to the only fast food joint utilizing Vine. It’s quick, animated, and about the food. They know society has a short attention span, and capitalize on that. The Del Scorcho crew plays to a younger set, and it fits into our busy lives when we’re preoccupied with other accounts to obsess over.


2. KFC on Twitter

Embracing pop culture, KFC tweets to dudes like Austin Mahone. The Colonel himself even “drives” cross-country, en route to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, stopping at scenic destinations in need of drumsticks. They’re even open-minded enough to celebrate Hanukkah — menorah and all.


3. Burger King on Tumblr


Photo: Burger King

The King pleasantly surprised us with their Tumbling wit. Slightly obsessed over chicken fries, it’s an entertaining mix of animated GIFs, straightforward photography, and funny dialogue. Don’t knock it ‘til you check them out.


4. Starbucks on Twitter

Damn, hipster Starbucks knows what’s up. Experts at changing up their Twitter feed, they make it pretty, but not too pretty. You kill us softly, Starbucks. Now go make our Venti Frap.


5. Sonic Drive-In on Instagram

Our #SquareShakes squad on point at #coachellavalley 👌

A photo posted by SONIC Drive-In (@sonicdrivein) on

Taking the idea of playing with your food quite literally, Sonic’s food styling is right up there with adult coloring books. It probably helps to have rainbow hues of slushies and tasty candy bits at your disposal.


6. Denny’s on Twitter

Denny’s is firing on all social media cylinders, but their Twitter feed took the syrupy pancake. It’s genius! Random thoughts. Current ideas. Funny, but doesn’t cross over into NSFW territory. The unexpected originality and consistency makes for a real Grand Slam.


7. Shake Shack on Pinterest


Surprised? With 20 stocked boards referencing style, places, and pets they love, you almost forget it’s a brand page and not an East Coast millennial you want to be internet friends with. The Shack’s Pinterest account is an eclectic meeting of the minds where there’s something for everyone, with photos ranging from silly to extremely stylized. Then again, some might consider Shake Shack’s Pinterest to be sensory overload. The fact that they serve beer helps.


8. Applebee’s on Instagram

How to do all of the work and none of the work at the same time: get your followers to be #Fantographers. Applebee’s Instagram account is almost completely driven by their fan base. Diners submit their snaps, and the powers that be decide which ones are featured. It results in bragging rights for customers, and an updated social media account for one evil genius, fast casual restaurant.

Hit-Or-Miss News Opinion

How Restaurants Can Use Pokemon GO To Catch Us All

We’ve already covered how a food truck can (and should) benefit from utilizing the Pokemon GO app, so why not brick-and-mortar restaurants? Most owners react the same as your average person: either very strongly for or against the idea. Who wants to spend their operating hours watching customers looking down and swiping up? Owners with paying customers — that’s who! And the key to profiting is acceptance. 

Think of it this way, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. For example, I passed a bar after dinner posting a sign that read “Poke Stop found here”. It made me pause and see what I was in front of, and I made a mental note for next time. Now for someone who was thirsty and on the Pokemon hunt, their changes of spending time there just went up. It can be as simple as that. Maybe you want to advertise on your Facebook page? That expands your reach to not just passersby, but your social network.

If you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is, for some return on investment, purchase lure; that’ll attract Pokemon GO users in general. You’ll end up with lots of new business that way. You can also strategically schedule your lure for, say, Happy Hour! This gives users an incentive to not only visit, but stay and partake in dining specials.

As a play on the ‘restrooms are for customer use only’ courtesy, Kiyomizu in Santa Ana, California put up a sign that read, ‘Pokemon for paying customers only’. This stirred up some backlash, as people thought it was rude. Per owner Leonard Chan, “It was a joke at first. But some people looked like they were taking it seriously, so I yanked it. People need to relax.” The joke in all this is that users forget they can access Pokemon without ever stepping food inside his restaurant. User fail!

The simplest gesture could also be acknowledging to customers that you’re a designated Poke Stop (Lucky you!). Tell diners when they order, so it gives them something to do while their food is prepared. No signage required! Another zero cost option is updating your Yelp business listing to show that you’re a Poke Stop. Yes, there is now a search option for this feature. Hey, sometimes you want your cheeseburger with a side of fries and Poke Balls! We’re now waiting for someone to copyright the term “Poke Stop” and launch a seafood chain.

If you are open to both the gaming idea and the demographic that may walk through your door, you’ll be able to drum up business during your slower periods as well. Benefiting from Pokemon GO can be quick and easy, for the right business.

Features Hit-Or-Miss News Restaurants Sweets

Cuteness Overload: Inside California’s First Hello Kitty Cafe

The very first Hello Kitty Café pop-up shipping container will make its debut this Friday at the Irvine Spectrum, located in Orange County, California. “We are the new Hello Kitty experience,” remarked co-owner Allan Tea. Families of all ages will be able to share desserts and beverages themed to our childhood mascot.

Opening weekend specials include a gift with purchase for the first 100 customers per day throughout the weekend. In addition, through August 15, 100 “sweet surprise tickets” will be hidden inside random pastry boxes sold at the café. Each ticket can be redeemed for a pastry and drink from the pop-up container.


Serving a unique menu compared to existing Hello Kitty Cafes around the world, it’s exclusive to Orange County and created using only high-quality ingredients. Here’s a complete lineup of the sweet offerings:

Birthday Cake – Vanilla bean cake, buttercream frosting and sprinkles

Strawberry Cake – Fresh strawberries, vanilla bean custard cake and buttercream frosting

Strawberry Custard Pastry Puff – Vanilla bean custard, strawberries and apricot glaze inside flaky puff pastry

Mama’s Apple Pie – Cinnamon and apples in a buttery pie crust

Chocolate Opera Cake – Sponge cake with chocolate ganache, coffee, and buttercream

Mixed Berry Tart – Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries over vanilla custard creme

Strawberry Streusel Tart – Fresh strawberries and toasted streudel in a buttery pie crust

Hello Kitty Pocket Pie – Your choice of strawberry or Nutella filling with royal icing

Sugar Cookie – Hello Kitty-shaped butter sugar cookie adorned with royal icing.

Focusing on the beverage menu, you’ll discover a variety of cool teas, hot drinks made with local favorite Portola Coffee, lemonade, craft apple soda, and the popular Hello Kitty bow-shaped water bottle. Our preferred sips include the passion fruit iced tea made with fresh fruit puree, as well as the fresh strawberry mint lemonade. Both are less sweet than you would expect, making them perfect to pair with desserts.


Pricing for food ranges from $4.75-$11. And while this is a sweets-driven menu, down the line they intend to incorporate more savory options. Expect holidays and character birthdays to be celebrated here. Besides their food and drink, Café branded shirts, mugs and pretty bows will be available for purchase.

Designed to be a traveling retail concept, the Hello Kitty Café shipping container will relocate to additional U.S. destinations after its year-long residency at Irvine Spectrum. We don’t mind, because they will open a permanent brick-and-mortar café behind the shipping container next year. Tentative operating hours for the pop-up are the following (but may change at any time — hence, the tentative):

Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.


And for those fans missing out, the mobile Hello Kitty truck plans to make an appearance at San Diego’s Comic-Con convention later this month. Prepare for cuteness overload.