comments 7

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


  • 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


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.


*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.


*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

*Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe using your RSS reader or by Email, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, or buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you!

Sharing is caring!

Filed under: Uncategorized


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. 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).

  2. Wykes says

    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.

  3. Cyclophiliac says

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

    A. A Thesaurus.

  4. 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?

  5. Wykes says

    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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.