Jeremy Scheck Teams With Credit Karma For Flavorful Ramen On A Budget - Exclusive Interview

If there is one food truth that continues to carry on, it's that college students still need to shop and cook while maintaining a budget. Jeremy Scheck, a novice chef and the recipe developer behind viral TikTok account ScheckEats, knows that a budget does not have to equate to unhealthy or bland meals. That's why he creates and shares recipes that people on any budget can make and enjoy at home — or in their dorm. 

His latest recipe, ramen with a soy-marinated egg, comes as a partnership with Credit Karma. Fortunately, the recipe has already dropped on TikTok, which means fans don't have to wait to try the amazing dish. To learn a little more about his process, what inspired the account, and why he teamed up with Credit Karma, Mashed sat down with Scheck to chat in an exclusive interview. What he revealed included no shortage of excellent tips for home cooks at any stage of life.

Scheck on the beginning of his food TikTok

Can you tell us about your TikTok following and what inspired you to share recipes?

Yeah, for sure. I have been interested in cooking and food my whole life but when I was a sophomore in high school, I started food blogging at home. I had the idea that I wanted to take this casual hobby and put a lot of effort into it and see if I could improve a lot. I started cooking every day and I made a little blog called "After School Bakery," where I would document my creations. I would bring my cupcakes or whatever into school and give it out to my friends.

Only my grandma would follow it, but I stuck with it and did it for about six years. Right around when the pandemic hit, I was in college and I was all of a sudden having to leave my apartment. I was cleaning out my kitchen in March and I started making videos documenting using up the leftover ingredients that I had so they wouldn't go to waste. It was a lot of random pantry pastas and things that were more shelf stable.

Scheck on his partnership with Credit Karma

Can you speak to your partnership with Credit Karma?

I partnered with them because Credit Karma is all about finding balance. A lot of us think that when you are sticking to a budget for cooking, that it has to be something really bland or really basic. I don't find that to be true. I'm in college, I've been cooking in college for three years now. I usually have a tight budget. I don't let that stop me from having really flavorful ingredients in food. This was a really fun partnership because I got to pick something. I chose to use instant ramen, which is the quintessential struggle meal for a college student, but then turn it into something that felt more like a gourmet ramen that you could get at a nice Japanese restaurant.

That was really fun, and the ingredients that I doctored it up with were not things that are expensive or hard to have on hand. They also made what is not really considered a "healthy" meal all the time, more balanced with protein and something that could actually be nourishing and filling. It also tied in a type of meal prep that I like. I'm not one to like prepackaged individual meals all the time. To me, it's a little depressing if you have to eat the same grilled chicken that you made on Sunday all week. I pick a few ingredients.

In this recipe, I used the soy marinated eggs and that's an individual building block that you can make in advance and prep but you could use it in a variety of different recipes so it doesn't feel repetitive. I used it in this recipe on top of the ramen as a topping. It could be great as a side dish, you could have it as a snack. You could also, in the time that you spend doing the soy marinade, you can boil 12 eggs and keep them in the fridge. You don't have to marinate them all. You can also save the marinade and reuse it, you can freeze it. It's very much a low waste, cost effective, high reward, high protein strategy. That's really how I approach cooking when I'm in college.

Jeremy Scheck on cooking better on a budget

What are the top three things people can do to cook better at home while keeping to a budget? What kind of ingredients are the most flavorful that you gravitate to?

Having good building blocks is what's most important. I like to have my staple ingredients that I keep on hand at all times, and then when I grocery shop, I'll pick a few proteins and vegetables, depending on what looks good, not necessarily with one specific recipe in mind. When you have good building blocks, which are usually cheap and last a really long time, if it's pantry staples, it can be an olive oil or rice but you can also consider things like onions and garlic and carrots to also be staples for me because I always have them.

If I don't have them, I need to get more because it's the urge to sauté some onions and see where it goes from there, which is a joke that goes around on TikTok. That's really how I cook and how I do this. Having one thing that I really care about and try to do is, if we're talking about oil, for example, oils last for a few months but the flavor compounds are really important in them. I really care about matching the oil to the recipe that I'm using. If it's a Mediterranean dish, olive oil is the best thing to use.

I have an aversion to mixing olive oil and soy sauce, if it's for a marinade or a stir fry. If I'm doing a stir fry, I want a neutral oil for the cooking. You can pick a plain vegetable oil, which is probably the cheapest option, or a grape seed oil is also great, and then maybe a sesame oil. In the recipe for Credit Karma, I topped the Ramen off with a little bit of chili oil, but those can be more for finishing flavors. It's a nice way to add aroma and flavor to a dish.

Can you name three budget friendly ingredients that you always stock up on?

Canned beans are one of my all time favorites, I always have them. I like to have a variety of beans — black beans, pinto beans, butter beans, garbanzos or chickpeas. Canned beans are so great because you can put them in things, but you can also make ... I have a vegan bean chili on my website, which is so good. One of the most popular recipes on my website is cumin-stewed chickpeas. That's something that my friend shared with me. It's as simple as basically popping open a can, and they can cost less than a dollar, and beans are super good for you and full of protein.

If you combine it with rice, you can have a complete vegetarian protein because they have complimentary amino acids. I always have rice. I always have beans. I always have pasta. I always have other grains. I like dried lentils, they cook faster than dried beans. I like to have dried beans, as well, but lentils cook a lot faster and they're also really healthy and cheap.

Scheck on food trends and fast food

Can you speak to some of your favorite cooking trends and how you think your followers can incorporate them more into daily cooking?

One of the trends that I was really fascinated by was the one that I made use of in my Gourmet Ramen recipe. I think it originated on Japanese social media, but it is basically the hack where you take Japanese mayo and a raw egg, mix it with the flavor packet of an instant ramen, and then add the noodle water to that — which I love, because it's very reminiscent of adding pasta water to your sauce, which is something I'm a huge proponent of. It adds a lot of body to the instant Ramen and it makes it feel like you're getting it at a gourmet Japanese restaurant and not from the grocery store and a packet making it in three minutes.

I'm all about having a balanced and nourishing meal and that's another way to incorporate protein into what otherwise is not necessarily the most nutritious meal. There's so many other ways that you could add ... One thing, getting back to the last question, I love having frozen edamame and frozen peas, frozen veggies because they don't go bad. You can add it to anything. That's something that you could easily add to something like an instant Ramen and add even more balance and nutrition.

What's your go-to fast food order and where do you place it?

It is Chipotle, without a doubt. Chipotle for me, is the place where you get the most bang for your buck. What I always do is I ask for extra everything except for the meat, which is the only thing you really have to pay extra for, if you want more. I get extra white rice, both beans. Depending on my mood, I'll do chicken or often the sofritas and then cheese, extra corn, hot salsa. Everyone sleeps on the hot salsa, it is by far the best one. I usually will also get chips and scoop it. By getting extra everything, it allows me to stretch it into two meals. I get a bowl that's overflowing with food, and also, I don't get the pico [or] lettuce, so it reheats really well the next day. It's my ride or die.

You can check out Jeremy Scheck's Credit Karma collaboration on his TikTok page, along with the rest of his recipes on his website. Visit to see how you can improve your financial situation in just a few clicks.