Munchy Monday: Steel Cut Oats

Munchy Monday post by Christine Strain

There’s nothing I love better than waking up on a Monday morning with a hot, delicious breakfast already waiting for me.   Oatmeal is a great breakfast food – high in fiber so it fills you up, versatile enough to handle a variety of toppings, and can also lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.  I particularly love steel cut oats for their unique texture, but they take longer to cook and I have occasionally gotten busy with my kids and forgotten they were on the stove, leaving me with no breakfast and a burnt, sticky mess.

I tried Alton Brown’s method for Overnight Steel Cut Oats, and while the recipe itself is wonderful, it cooked right onto the sides of my crockpot.  More sticky mess!  I loved the creamy texture of the oatmeal though, and the idea of overnight cooking, so I set out in search of a way to keep the oats from sticking.

That’s when I found Ann Kroeker’s method of cooking them overnight in the crockpot in an unusual way – using the crockpot as a bain-marie (french for “water bath”, essentially a double boiler).  I tinkered with their two recipes a bit until I found the perfect combination for me.

1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1 cup dried fruit (optional – try dried cherries, cranberries, blueberries, figs, or apricots!)

In the morning I add several shakes of cinnamon and a bunch of freshly grated nutmeg.  To the individual servings I then add about 1T of a sweetener, usually brown sugar or honey, and some chopped walnuts or pecans. This recipe makes about 5 cups of oatmeal, so I portion any leftovers into reusable containers and stick them in the fridge for breakfasts throughout the week.

Mmmmm.  Warm, delicious, easy breakfast.  Perfect for any busy family, I especially appreciated it during pregnancy when I was tired and couldn’t always muster up the energy to cook first thing in the morning.

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