Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

Growing up, I would have oatmeal prepared one of two ways by my mom: sweetened condensed milk or savory with a pinch of salt and diced deli ham. These are probably considered unusual add-ins for oatmeal, but I love them.

Oatmeal was always made from rolled oats, none of that gross artificially-flavored instant stuff. The texture on instant oatmeal reminds me of overly sweet baby food. For the last several years, I have been preparing steel cut Irish oatmeal and experimented with different add-ins: maple syrup, pumpkin butter, brown sugar, dried cranberries, nuts, apples,  and fresh berries. I always make a week's worth and portion it out to be reheated for breakfast at work. 

In spite of my love for steel cut oats, I always have a large supply of rolled oats on hand for granola, cookies, pancakes or as a binder for meatloaf and chickpea patties. 

Baked oatmeal has been on my list to try for a couple of years now, but I never got around to it until now. With all the fruit in our household, I finally picked Heidi Swanson's baked oatmeal recipe posted by Lottie & Doof. I can't believe this delicious goodness was breakfast! It's wholesome, scrumptious, slightly sweet, and pretty healthy! Baking the oatmeal with the added ingredients imparted so much more flavor versus cooking oatmeal by itself on the stove-top and adding fruit and sweetener at the end. 

I made a few adjustments by adding 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, reducing the maple syrup to 1/4 cup, layering blueberries and bananas on the bottom and keeping the strawberries for the top. Serve with additional sweetener or Greek yogurt if you would like. 

I look forward to making a tropical version with banana, fresh pineapples or mangoes, shredded coconut, and cashews/Macadamia nuts.

Before being baked:

After being baked and cooled for a few minutes:

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