Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monday through Friday Steel Cut Oats

Most days for breakfast I have steel cut oatmeal. It is delicious and nutritious. But it takes a long time to cook! Do I get up at the break of day each morning and babysit a pot on the stove? I don't think so! Here are some simple instructions for making plain Jane steel cut oatmeal.

First, assemble a few ingredients. To prepare them the way I do, you'll need a crockpot, water, vanilla extract, and the oats themselves (which can be bought in bulk very inexpensively at Winco).

For each cup of oats you are cooking, you will need four cups of water. Some people make it with milk and butter - but I just skip it because I have a milk alergy. And why add the calories, right? If I feel like adding a bit of margarine on a specific day, fine - but I don't feel like the fat needs to be there already.

I LOVE vanilla! So I just pour a bit in to give it some flavor. The exact amount doesn't really matter. If you were making two cups worth of raw oats up - I might try two teaspoons and adjust from there.

Set the crockpot on high. You are going to let it cook for about three hours, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. So set a timer, or glance at your watch. If you have a fancy slow cooker that turns off after a pre-determined time -- great! (And I'm jealous.)

Unlike most slow cooker recipes, I find that it is best to stir this one a couple times. Use a spatula and scrape down the sides so they don't burn. (I experimented, by the way, to see if it was the lack of fat that was causing it to stick. Didn't seem to make a difference one way or the other.)

At the end of three hours, stir in any excess water and dish yourself up a bowl. Top with your favorite topping (ah...brown sugar) and dig in.

"But, wait! What do I do with the rest?" you ask. Put it in a large Tupperware container and store it in the fridge. The next day, when you see that it has congealed - don't hate me. Scoop out what you want, add a bit of water (or go crazy and put some creamer in there - whatever suits you) and reheat it in the microwave. You will have to stir it back up to get it the right consistency, but once you do, I promise you it is almost as tasty as it was originally (and tons better than instant oatmeal ever could be).

Edited on 2-17-08 to add:

Want to spice up your steel cut oats? Check out Oatmeal: It's What's for Breakfast at FatFree Vegan Kitchen for great variations.

Or are you looking for other great ways to get more oatmeal in your diet? Check out Beyond Cereal: Are You Eating Enough Oatmeal? where Kalyn Denny has compiled a great list of oatmeal recipes.

Or if all this health-talk has you craving something sweet, why not try the delicious Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies?


Kalyn said...

I love steel cut oats, but always used the regular oatmeal because it was so much quicker and I'd often cook it in the microwave. I'm making some of this right now, thanks for the recipe.

Mer said...

Glad to be of help. :0) I need to make up another batch myself.

~M said...

Do you think it would work to make a batch of these on low overnight? I love crockpot recipes!!

Mer said...

I've tried it overnight, but found that I was wasting too much of the oats as they would get overcooked on the edges (even with the setting on low). That is why I mention stirring the oatmeal a few times throughout.

But in a pinch, it does work. Turn it on just before you go to bed, and rescue it first thing in the morning. Then simply scoop out the good oatmeal from the middle, and soak the pot before cleaning.

Kalyn said...

Great photos! I love this way of cooking steel cut oats!

Mer said...

Kalyn - Glad that you like the new photos. :0)

Brad said...

I eat Steel cut oats every day for breakfeast I have found if you use a rice cooker with the lid off it makes a perfect bowl of oats I use a 3 cup cooker with a 1 to 4 ratio of oats to water and it's just right every time

jessiev said...

YUM. i sprayed the crockpot with pam first - and maybe that will help with cleanup! thanks for the yummy recipe.

Nancy said...

Made your recipe tonight in my slow cooker -- success! Thought the Pam left a little weird plasticky layer (I just pulled it off). Thank you!!