I did not grow up eating oatmeal. This probably seems odd given that I grew up on a farm … after all, it’s hearty, healthy, cheap and comforting. We didn’t eat oatmeal. We used it in cookies … and mealoaf.
Only a few years ago did I discover what I was missing. If you aren’t a fan or if you currently tear open a paper packet and add water and microwave it for a couple minutes, I have three words for you: Steel. Cut. Oats.
And here’s the trick … prepare ahead. On the side of the box are instructions for easy overnight preparation.
Boil 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup steel cut oats and a pinch of salt, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let sit overnight. In the morning, cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and creamy.
That’s it. You can let it cool from there and store in the refrigerator for quick breakfasts. To serve, fill a bowl with cooked oats, add a little milk and stir. Microwave in 30 second increments to reheat, stirring in between.
Now the best part … the toppings!
- A teaspoon of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
- Fresh or Dried Fruit (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, raisins, cranberries, etc)
- Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc)
- Flax/Chia Seed (trust me, you don’t notice it but it adds huge health benefits)
Compare the nutrition information on the labels of the instant oatmeal and the steel cut oats … focus on the fiber, sodium, sugars and protein. By adding small amounts of the toppings listed above you add good protein, sugars (from the fruit), oils and Omega-3’s, antioxidants (spices). Get your kids into it by letting them stir in their own (premeasured by you) toppings.
Or go eccentric: peanut butter-banana-bacon or apple crisp (unsweetened apple sauce, walnuts and brown sugar) or chocolate-hazelnut-coconut (Nutella and unsweetened coconut flakes). Um … YEAH!
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