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Prison Spread Recipe

I’ve been experimenting with a Prison Spread recipe that’s unexpectedly delicious and incredibly easy to whip up with pantry staples.

This dish is a testament to resourcefulness, transforming simple ingredients into a satisfying meal that’s both filling and flavorful.

The key here is to get creative with your mix-ins; the more variety, the better the spread.

What draws me to this recipe is its no-frills, communal spirit—it’s about making the most of what you have, and it’s always a hit when I’m looking for something quick and hearty.

Let’s grab those chips and ramen packets and get ready for a unique culinary experience that’s sure to be a conversation starter!

How to Make Prison Spread

prison spread recipe

Prison Spread, a concoction originating from limited resources in prisons, utilizes simple ingredients to create a filling meal that incorporates ramen noodles as the primary ingredient.

This basic, no-frills recipe reflects the adaptability and resourcefulness of those confined to the prison system, turning everyday staples into a versatile dish that can be personalized.

Ingredients List

  • 1 package of ramen noodles
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 can of tuna or mackerel (optional)
  • 1-2 single cheese slices or a handful of shredded cheese (optional)
  • Snack items (e.g., chips, crackers, or spicy cheese snacks) for texture and flavor
  • Seasoning from the ramen packet or any available seasonings (optional)

Step-by-step process

Step 1: Prepare the Ramen Noodles

Break up the ramen noodles while they are still in the package.

Once broken into small pieces, open the package and place the noodles into a bowl that is safe to use with hot water.

Step 2: Add Hot Water

Boil the hot water using a kettle or microwave.

Carefully pour the hot water into the bowl of noodles, ensuring that it covers them completely.

Cover the bowl with a lid or a plate to contain the heat and let it sit for approximately 5 minutes.

Step 3: Drain the Noodles

After the noodles have softened, drain any excess water from the bowl.

If you happen to have leftovers of prison spread from a previous meal, you can add them now for enhanced flavor.

Step 4: Add Staple Ingredients 

Mix in the seasoning packet that came with the ramen noodles or your choice of available seasonings.

If you have any, add the canned tuna or mackerel and cheese to the mixture.

These protein sources are prison staples that add vital nutrients and make the meal more satisfying.

Step 5: Incorporate Crunch

Crush snack items like chips or crackers into small pieces and fold them into the spread.

These ingredients not only provide texture and flavor but are also common elements in a prison spread.

Step 6: Finalizing the Spread

Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.

If the mixture is too dry, a little extra hot water can be added to reach the desired consistency.

Your prison spread is now ready to be enjoyed as is or served over bread or more crackers.

Prison Spread Side Dishes

Spicy Rice

You can mix white rice with hot sauce and a seasoning packet to create a zesty side.

This dish pairs well with the savory flavors of a prison spread recipe because the spice complements the richness.

  • Ingredients: White rice, hot sauce, seasoning packet.
  • Preparation: Cook rice, stir in hot sauce and seasonings.

Cheesy Summer Sausage Bites

Cut summer sausage into slices and top with melted cheese spread or Monterey jack cheese for a hearty complement to your prison spread.

This side adds a smoky flavor and a creamy texture.

  • Ingredients: Summer sausage, cheese spread, Monterey jack cheese.
  • Preparation: Slice sausage, top with cheese, and microwave until cheese melts.

Ramen Salad

An unconventional but popular choice, this salad uses crushed ramen, seasoning, and a bit of cheese spread or hot sauce to give it a kick.

It’s a crunchy, tangy, and economical option.

  • Ingredients: Ramen noodles, ramen seasonings, cheese spread, hot sauce (optional).
  • Preparation: Crush noodles, mix with seasonings, add cheese spread or hot sauce to taste.

Hot Cheetos Crunch

For a simple, spicy side, Hot Cheetos can be served crushed or whole.

They add texture and heat that liven up the palate alongside your prison spread.

  • Ingredients: Hot Cheetos.
  • Preparation: Serve as is or crush for a topping on the spread.

Ingredients Substitutes

When preparing a prison spread recipe, you might not have access to all the original ingredients, or you might want to tweak the flavor to your liking.

Here are some simple substitutes for common prison spread ingredients:

Hot Sauce

If you’re out of hot sauce or seeking a different kind of heat, consider using crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

Both alternatives will add a spicy kick.

The amount can be adjusted according to how spicy you like your spread.

Seasoning Packet

In case the seasoning packet from a ramen noodle package is unavailable, a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt can replace it.

This mix will closely mimic the savory base flavor of most seasoning packets.

Ramen Seasonings

Should you wish to change the ramen seasonings, try using bouillon cubes.

They come in various flavors, such as chicken, beef, or vegetable, and can be crushed into powder form and then mixed with water to create a similar base for your spread.

Cheese Spread

When cheese spread is not an option, a thick béchamel sauce with any shredded cheese incorporated can serve as a homemade alternative.

Melt butter, stir in flour, add milk and cheese, and cook until you reach the desired consistency.

Cup Monterey Jack Cheese

If Monterey Jack cheese is out of reach, Pepper Jack cheese can give both the creaminess and a little additional spice.

Alternatively, white cheddar also melts well and provides a similar texture and mild flavor to your prison spread.

How to Store Prison Spread

Refrigeration

Store your prison spread in a sealed container and place it in the fridge.

Make sure the container is airtight to prevent the spread from drying out and absorbing other flavors.

Refrigeration can keep your spread fresh for up to 3-5 days.

Water Seal

For a uniquely legit prison spread experience, use the water seal method: submerge the container in a shallow inch of water.

This can help keep pests out and maintain the spread’s moisture.

Change the water daily to ensure freshness and avoid any water flavors affecting your spread.

Portion Control

If you’re preparing prison spread in bulk, separate it into individual serving sizes.

Wrap these tightly in plastic to prevent excess water from seeping in and compromising the texture.

Store these packets in a cool, dry place.

Maintenance

Check your prison spread periodically for any signs of spoilage, such as off-odors or mold.

If you’ve used water to adjust the consistency, ensure there’s no excess water pooling, as this could lead to spoilage.

Note: The idea of “1-2 cups water” and “water stars” is not applicable to storing prison spreads, while “water to chips” is more about recipe preparation rather than storage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overlooking the Separate Bowl Technique

When preparing a prison spread, it’s crucial that you mix certain ingredients in a separate bowl before combining everything.

This ensures even distribution of flavors and prevents clumping.

Failing to do so can result in a less desirable texture and taste.

Neglecting Additional Cheese

If the recipe calls for it, adding additional cheese can enhance the flavor profile.

Don’t forget to check the prison commissary for cheese options.

Not incorporating enough cheese may leave the spread lacking in richness.

Misunderstanding Inmate Recipes

Understand the context of inmate recipes—these dishes are meant to be made with limited resources available within a prison cell.

Respect the origins and creativity involved in prison culture when preparing these meals.

Inadequate Preparation for Prison Rice Bowl

Incorporating a prison rice bowl into your spread?

Make sure the rice is properly prepared.

Unevenly cooked or clumpy rice can spoil the overall texture of the dish.

Pay attention to water-to-rice ratios and cooking times.

Ignoring the Importance of Prison Journalism Project

Educate yourself on the insights provided by the Prison Journalism Project about prison food and culture.

This can give you a deeper appreciation for the meal you’re preparing and the context in which it is commonly made.

Disregarding Proper Ingredient Acquisition

Obtaining ingredients from the prison commissary is part of the authentic experience.

Understand which ingredients are typically available and use those to stay true to the original prison spread recipe.

Adapting with non-commissary items can lead to a less authentic taste.

prison spread recipe

Prison Spread Recipe

You might wonder about the origins of these recipes and how they've become a part of prison culture.
They not only provide a way to break the monotony of standard prison meals but also represent the collaboration and community among inmates.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Ingredients
  
  • 1 Package of ramen noodles
  • 1 Cup Hot water
  • 1 Can Tuna or Mackerel (optional)
  • 1-2 Single cheese slices or a handful of shredded cheese (optional)
  • Snack items (e.g., chips, crackers, or spicy cheese snacks) for texture and flavor
  • Seasoning from the ramen packet or any available seasonings (optional)
Instructions
 
  • Break up the ramen noodles while they are still in the package.
    Once broken into small pieces, open the package and place the noodles into a bowl that is safe to use with hot water.
  • Boil the hot water using a kettle or microwave.
    Carefully pour the hot water into the bowl of noodles, ensuring that it covers them completely.
    Cover the bowl with a lid or a plate to contain the heat and let it sit for approximately 5 minutes.
  • After the noodles have softened, drain any excess water from the bowl.
    If you happen to have leftovers of prison spread from a previous meal, you can add it now for enhanced flavor.
  • Mix in the seasoning packet that came with the ramen noodles, or your choice of available seasonings.
    If you have any, add the canned tuna or mackerel and cheese to the mixture.
    These protein sources are prison staples that add vital nutrients and make the meal more satisfying.
  • Crush snack items like chips or crackers into small pieces and fold them into the spread.
    These ingredients not only provide texture and flavor but are also common elements in a prison spread.
  • Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.
    If the mixture is too dry, a little extra hot water can be added to reach the desired consistency.
    Your prison spread is now ready to be enjoyed as is or served over bread or more crackers.

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