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Weekday Oatmeal

Thursday is oatmeal morning in our house. For years that meant packages of instant oatmeal.
*Dinosaur eggs with brown sugar were the favorite.

Last year, I read Mark Bittman’s diatribe about instant oatmeal. I started to make it myself. Mr. Bittman is right; oatmeal is quick and easy. It takes maybe fifteen minutes to make a batch. The problem is, the kids fought the change tooth and nail. “It doesn’t taste right” was the rallying cry.
*This means it’s not full of sugar pellets in the shape of dinosaurs.

After a while, I got tired of fighting every Thursday morning, and went back to instant oatmeal. I gave up on making my own oatmeal, and went back to instant. When school started in the fall, I made a second push to making our own oatmeal. I was losing the battle against instant oatmeal…until I read Oatmeal Worth Waking Up For in Pam Anderson’s How To Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals.

Pam’s oatmeal is a basic technique with all sorts of options. At the core, Pam’s recipe is the same as Bittman’s. (As are all oatmeal recipes – how tricky can you get with a 2:1 ratio of water to oats?) So, why did Pam’s recipe help so much? In Pam’s own words, the options for oatmeal “read like a dessert menu rather than breakfast”. I should seen it sooner – the way to my kids’ stomach was through their sweet tooth.

What follows is my favorite oatmeal. I’m a traditionalist; I want oatmeal with raisins. As a nod to the kids, I added Pam’s warming spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. “This tastes like pumpkin pie” was the review from two out of three kids. If you need a quick breakfast to warm everyone up on a cold morning, reach for the oatmeal.
*Now, if I could just find a book of really terrible dinosaur jokes. That’s what I miss from the instant oatmeal packets.

Recipe: Weekday Oatmeal


Adapted From: Oatmeal Worth Waking Up For, Pam Anderson, How to Cook Without A Book: Meatless Meals

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (“old fashioned” oats)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup raisins or other dried fruit
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Directions:

1. Cook the oatmeal:
Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal thickens to your liking, about 5 minutes. Serve with more brown sugar and raisins to add at the table.

Variations:

*Easy: Oats, water, milk and salt. Pass brown sugar at the table. The rest of the ingredients are optional.

*Go Nuts: Crush some peanuts and sprinkle them on at the table.

*See Pam’s book for an amazing variety of options, add ins, spices, and toppings.

Notes:

*I put the lid on the pot when I’m bringing it to a boil. This speeds up the boiling, but increases the chance of a boil-over. I use a large, nonstick pot with a glass lid, and keep an eye on it – the moment I see steam escaping from the side, I turn the heat down.
*Keeping an eye one it is not easy before I have my morning coffee.

*Why do I call this weekday oatmeal? Because I make longer cooking oatmeal with steel-cut oats on the weekend. I love that oatmeal, but it takes a half an hour, and the kids would much rather have this recipe. Sigh.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Review: Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals by Pam Anderson

Adapted from:

Oatmeal Worth Waking Up For, Pam Anderson, How to Cook Without A Book: Meatless Meals

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7 Comments

  1. try cooking oatmeal ahead of time in your pressure cooker. try steel cut oats for a different texture, either cook easily and perfectly in your pc.

  2. Pressure cooker? Now why didn’t I think of that?
    …now, I can see the pressure cooker helping my steel cut oats, but the rolled oats cook so quickly that the PC doesn’t seem useful. Am I missing something?

  3. Cyclophiliac says

    Q. What do you call a terrible, horrible, unpleasant dinosaur?

    A. A Thesaurus.

  4. I have to say I love steel cut for texture and it just takes afew min with the pc. Don’t know about regular. For steel cut, it’s 2 c. oats 7 c. liquid, salt 5 min then natural release. I use about 1/2 c. Davinci’s coffee syrup (sugar free for me) for a portion of liquid (caramel for instance). To try it, cut the recipe in half.

  5. Ctel44 says

    try cooking steel cut oats in a small (1-1/2 qt crock-pot).  1 cup steel cut oats, 4 cups water, 1/2 cup milk.  Add any spices you like.  Cook on low 7-9 hours.  I plug it in at night and it’s ready for breakfast.   Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat in microwave with milk.  Makes about 5 servings.  You can add dried fruit before cooking or sprinkle it on top just before eating (I like chopped dates or dried cherries along with raisins).

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