“Breakfast of Champions” – Then and Now

Time for an obligatory Olympics themed post!

I used to skate – a LOT. Started with figure skating (ice – freeskate and synchro), dabbled in speed skating (ice), then cross trained on roller figure skating (old school quad skates), and inline speed skating (roller), and played a bit of roller hockey (inline). Not Olympics for me, but I did compete in a lot of it – local and local-ish (As far as Alberta, ND, and MN) competitions in figure skating, went to nationals for roller artistic (figure skating on quad / inline skates), did some races on inline speed skating, and ALMOST got to go to Canada Winter Games in ice speed skating – missed it by only ONE spot! (And the person who got that spot was a fellow figure skater that I’d JUST convinced to get into speed! UGH!)

I hope such jockishness doesn’t take away my nerd card!

Anyway. When I was 12, I went to summer skating school for the first time. Every morning, we’d get up early, I’d make a quick breakfast, and we’d hit the road. I ended up creating a meal that would become my daily staple, which I referred to as my “Breakfast of Champions”. (Well, sometimes I’d say it with a bad french accent and call it “Breakfast Des Champignons” in Franglish, and then laugh to myself about how there were no mushrooms in it!).

I would take a packet of no-name, curry flavored Ramen type noodles, break it up, pour the flavor packet over it, along with the water from a can of cheapo shrimp pieces. Top with just enough water to barely cover it (I liked it SPICY, not diluted!), and cook only till the noodles started to soften a bit. Add the shrimp, cook another few seconds to warm them up. Toss in a handful of small cubes of mild cheddar, stir once (get the cheese warm, not melted yet), and strain the soup off the noodles. Dump the noodles in a bowl, add a couple Tbsp of sour cream, and stir for a creamy noodle dish. It had fat, carbs, a bit of protein… was quick, cheap, and easy, and warmed me up from the inside. IE: the perfect start to a few hours of skating!

Yes, I realize that I was a bit odd for a 12 year old, looking back on it.

Anyway. With all of this Olympics talk, it brought back memories of that favorite breakfast. I decided to make a slightly more healthy, adult version of it last night: The ramen was swapped out in favor of brown rice (slower burning carb, and gluten free!), the sour cream for unflavored Greek style yogurt. The soup packet – which was super high in salt and other crap – was swapped out for soup stock and spices. Canned shrimp was replaced with a bag of frozen shrimp – a little luxury that I was NOT able to have as a kid! (Certainly not daily!).

Oh, it hit the spot this morning, as leftovers. I am banging this blog entry out as we’re about to hit the gym for the first time in forever, so I’m hoping that the effects – even psychosomatic – are the same as my old “Breakfast of Champions”! This is NOT high cuisine, mind you… just slightly more healthy / less trashy than my old favorite!

This dish takes about 6-7 minutes to make, assuming that the rice is cooked ahead of time. If you have less time than THAT in the mornings, it also reheats very well – maybe even better than fresh!

Curried Shrimp “Faux-sotto”
Makes 6+ servings

2-3 cups chicken stock
3 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 lb bag shrimp, thawed and peeled
1/2 cup unflavored Greek style yogurt (or sour cream)
1 cup cubed mild cheddar cheese (around 3/8″)

In a large pan over medium heat, whisk together 2 cups of chicken stock and the spices.

Add brown rice, stir well. Once the chicken stock is almost completely absorbed by the rice and everything is hot, add shrimp. Continue to cook, stirring, for another minute or so.

Remove from heat, stir in yogurt until well distributed and creamy. Sprinkle cheese in, stir quickly and serve. (Ideally, the cheese will remain cubed long enough to serve – in the original dish, the goal was melty chunks of cheese, not cheese melted throughout!)


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