I'll tell you right now. I have NEVER liked oatmeal. In all my forty-something years of eating breakfast, oatmeal cooked from scratch or out of an instant packet was never on my yummy list. I don't like the texture of cooked rolled oats AT ALL. I've tried several times to force them down for the sake of health. Yet, I have never been able to muster a hankering for them, until about a month ago.
I came across a bag of steel cut oats at our local thrift bakery shop. The package advertised that steel cut oats had a creamier texture over regular oatmeal. "Oh sure it does." I thought. I was feeling adventurous and figured I would give oatmeal one more try. In truth, I was desperate to find a breakfast alternative to boxed cereal.
There's nothing instant about cooking steel cut oats. The directions on the Bob's Red Mill bag says to cook them 10 minutes, or go 20 minutes, if you like them al dente. Folks, 20 minutes marks the "chewy rice texture" moment in the cooking process. That's fine, if that's what you like. But for me, I want "creamy" and nothing less. And after making a quart of oatmeal each week for the past month, I have FINALLY got it down. I can make creamy oatmeal that's really pleasurable to eat!
All these years, I've been eating the wrong type of oatmeal that suits my taste. Go figure.
Now like I said, steel cut oats don't cook up instantly. From the beginning, I've cooked 1 cup of dried oats to make 1 quart of cooked oats. I make the batch on Sunday night, so it's ready to heat and eat all week long. I eat about 1/2 cup of cooked oats every morning with steamed apple or a ripe banana, topped with slivered almonds or chopped pecans. Before my husband caught wind of my new healthy breakfast routine, a quart of cooked steel cut oats lasted 6 days in the icebox.
HERE'S WHAT I FIGURED OUT
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 apple, cored and peeled
Bring the water, brown sugar, spice and salt to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the steel cut oats and stir. When the water comes back to a simmer, reduce heat to LOW, and cover with a lid. Set your timer for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, give the oats a good stir. Make sure to unstick any oats on the bottom of the pan. Cover again, cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to set for another 15 minutes or so.
Transfer cooked oats to a quart size container with a good fitting lid. Store in the icebox.
I know what you're thinking. "An hour for oatmeal, no way!" But I'm telling you it's really good oatmeal and the health benefits to eating it are worth the time. I've learned to start cooking a batch, set the timer, then go watch a sitcom. It's painless that way.
I peel and core an apple and cut it into chunks. I put the chunks into a microwaveable bowl and nuke them for 2-minutes on high.
I fill my breakfast bowl with 1/2 cup cooked oats. Add about half of the nuked apple to the oats and stir. Pop my breakfast bowl in the microwave for 30- to 50-seconds. That's just long enough to warm the oats just right. Next, I measure out 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds and 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed, then stir them into the oats and apples.
I can now say, "I love oatmeal." I actually crave it for breakfast. It's a miracle!
What do you like on your oatmeal?