Friday, May 10, 2013

Crockpot Oatmeal

I'm a creature of habit. For breakfast I eat oatmeal. For lunch I eat peanut butter and jelly. For dessert I eat ice cream. (Usually cookie dough or fudge tracks.) Dinner is where things get crazy. But if I didn't have the husband to think about, I'd probably just eat PB&J for dinner, too. True confessions.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to stir up a pot of porridge every morning. Mornings are hard. There's so much waking up to do. So much day to think about. So much time before bed. That's why it pays to plan ahead for breakfast.

Take 5 minutes on Sunday afternoon to throw a few ingredients in your slow cooker. Turn that baby on low for a few hours, until the oatmeal has absorbed most of the water. Store the oatmeal in the fridge and scoop out a bowl when you're hungry in the morning. It's creamy and nutty and filling; the perfect breakfast.

One parting thought about using your crockpot to make oatmeal: cooking time varies depending on your particular appliance. I read several recipes that say to cook it on low for 8 hours. This would be perfect if you want your oatmeal piping hot for breakfast, but give it a test run while you're awake first. My crockpot tends to run a little hot. If I left oatmeal in there without stirring for 8 hours, I'd be chiseling it off the sides of my crock for days.

Crockpot Oatmeal
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 cups steel cut oats*
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
Your favorite oatmeal toppings (raisins, more brown sugar, milk, fruit, maple syrup, etc.)

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add oats, water, salt, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook on low for about 6 hours, stirring a few times if it looks like the edges are starting to burn. Serve oatmeal with your favorite toppings.

If you're reheating the oatmeal, stir in a bit of water or milk before reheating in the microwave.

*Make sure you use steel cut oats (a.k.a. Irish oatmeal). If you use old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats, it will get really mushy.

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