Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Habits: Gourmet Overnight Oatmeal

I promised three quick and easy breakfast ideas, so here is #3. (You may want to check out my 3 Minute Omelette and Citrus Technique.

Most people really like oatmeal, when it has good texture and is flavorful. We all know that oatmeal out of a packet is full of sugar and additives. The biggest complaint I hear about oatmeal is that it takes too long to cook "real" oatmeal and people are unsure of how to make it taste good. If you have 15 minutes in the morning, try these fabulous recipes for Banana Nut Oatmeal and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.

But if you don't have time to do that on weekday mornings you can still serve your family a hot, healthy, gourmet oatmeal for breakfast. This Crock Pot Oatmeal takes less than 5 minutes to put together and can be customized for as many picky eaters as you have in your family. This is so easy and has so many variations.

You can use steel-cut oats or regular oatmeal....NOT INSTANT OATMEAL!

Side note-difference between steel-cut and regular oats.

Steel-cut oats (also known as Irish Oats) are the whole oat kernel, which is cut into two or three pieces using steel discs. They are a better source of fiber than regular oats, but take longer to cook.
Rolled Oats have the bran mostly removed and are rolled flat to make them easier to cook. 
Quick Cooking and Instant Oats are rolled oats that have been cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner, thus cook quickly. They are an easy source for preparing many oatmeal dishes. (Sorry, no picture...I don't keep instant oats on hand)

When comparing the different types of oats, steel-cut oats are definitely less processed and have a higher nutrient content. I prefer steel-cut oats in this recipe. But you can also use regular oats.

Here's the basic recipe:
1 Cup Steel-Cut Oats (or Regular Oats, but NOT Instant Oats)
4 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Milk (or half and half or buttermilk)
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Put everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
But that's kind of boring. So, pick your favorite flavor and pep it up. Here are some ideas, any of these things can be added to the basic recipe and cooked overnight.

1 Cup Raisins and 1 tsp Cinnamon OR
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar 2 Tbsp Butter and 1 tsp Cinnamon OR
1 Cup Dried Cranberries and 1 Cup Dried Figs OR
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Apple and 1 tsp Cinnamon OR
1 Cup Dried Cranberries and 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice OR
1 Cup Dried Apricots OR
2 Bananas, sliced (use a fork to mush and stir in the morning. Serve with Chopped Walnuts)
Well, you get the idea. You can pretty much add anything you want to create a new flavor.

Another way to customize oatmeal is with toppings when you serve it.
Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
Brown Sugar
Chocolate Chips (okay, not so healthy, but good!)
Jam or Jelly (a spoonful of strawberry or raspberry mixed in is delicious)
Peanut Butter (could also be combined with jam)
Bananas, cut into slices
Fresh Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries or Strawberries
Fresh Peaches, Nectarines or Apricots, cut up
Raisins, If some of your family likes raisins in their oatmeal and others don't, here's a simple way to customize. While you are putting breakfast together, put the raisins in a cup of hot water and let them sit for about 5 minutes then drain. They will be nice and plump and warm. Those who like raisins can add a few spoonfuls to their bowl of oatmeal.

Does your family eat oatmeal regularly? If not, do you think they would be willing to try some of these options?


  1. I am making this tonight with the apples & cinnamon :) I have been reading your blog every chance I have gotten today!! Great stuff!! :)I'm trying 2 of the juicing recipes tomorrow :)

  2. So excited for you, Jen! I love this oatmeal...can make it differently every time and never get bored.


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