3 New Ways to Make Old Oatmeal
I have a rough time with breakfast some days. And it isn’t because I don’t like to eat it. Some mornings it just doesn’t happen for me. It doesn’t help that I don’t really like cereal. Most days I find myself eating an apple while I walk to work. Could be worse, but not exactly filling.
Enter oatmeal. Oh oatmeal how I love you. I don’t really love the instant stuff (although it is better than cereal), but real rolled oats are fantastic. They are filling and tasty and good for you. All of that said, recently, I’ve gotten a bit bored with the stuff.
So over the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with some oatmeal variations, and I’ve found some good options.
Greek Oatmeal with Feta
This was actually Jeff’s idea and was pretty good. I tried to maybe get a bit too inventive here. Jeff said to try Feta cheese and black pepper on oatmeal. I thought it might be a good idea to balance out some of that savory flavor with some sweet, so I added some honey. It was okay with the honey, but the flavors were not blending well. If I made it again I would try just Feta and pepper.
Cooking Rolled Oats. For one person, I only need about 1/2 – 2/3 of a cup of uncooked rolled oats to have a full breakfast. I usually do about 2.5 parts liquid to 1 part rolled oats when cooking. So if I’m using 1/2 Cup of oats, I would use about 1.25 Cups water.
Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.
Once it is boiling, add a pinch of salt, and oats.
Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
If it gets too dry, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water.
When your oats are creamy and delicious, you’re done!
Get your water and milk going in a saucepan and then stir in your cocoa powder and sugar.
Whisk everything together well.
When the mixture starts to simmer, cook your oats as normal.
You’ll end up with a rich, dark brown oatmeal that you can top with cinnamon or honey or just eat it as is.
Cooked the oatmeal normally, but substitute half the water with pomegranate.
Top with a dollop of butter and brown sugar.
Greek Oatmeal with Feta
Cooked the oatmeal normally.
Top with a feta cheese and black pepper.
Rolled Oats 101
There are a lot of different kinds of oats that you can buy in the store. In my experience though, there are four basic kinds that you will run into regularly:
Instant Oats – This is what you commonly find in the little packets that you can microwave. These taste fine in a crunch, but in the process of making them “instant” the manufacturers also tend to remove a lot of nutrients.
Quick Oats – These are rolled oats that have just been steamed a bit longer to soften more, but not cooked as much as instant oats. They only need about 5 minutes to cook through. Honestly, I’ve never really used these.
Rolled Oats – These are my oats of choice for oatmeal. They usually take about 15 minutes to cook, but you end up with a really rich, wholesome grain.
Steal Cut Oats – These oats are cut so some of the outer bran husks are still intact. These are delicious, but they usually take around 45 minutes to cook and, for me, aren’t really realistic for a weekday breakfast.
Cooking Rolled Oats
For one person, I only need about 1/2 – 2/3 of a cup of uncooked rolled oats to have a full breakfast. I usually do about 2.5 parts liquid to 1 part rolled oats when cooking. So if I’m using 1/2 Cup of oats, I would use about 1.25 Cups water. Bring your liquid to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Once it is boiling, add a pinch of salt, and your oats. Turn your heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If it gets too dry, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water. When your oats are creamy and delicious, your done!
One of the first variations I thought of involves the basic workings of hot chocolate.
Get your water and milk going in a saucepan and then stir in your cocoa powder and sugar. A whisk will be your friend. You want everything to be mixed in well. When the mixture starts to simmer, cook your oats as normal.
You’ll end up with a rich, dark brown oatmeal that you can top with cinnamon or honey or just eat it as is. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but this was really good.
Even though I usually prefer savory to sweet, I liked the chocolate more than the Feta version.
This was kind of a crazy idea I had. I like pomegranate juice okay, but I find it even better to cook with. It can give a lot of flavor to sauces and reductions. I thought it just might work for oatmeal.
I cooked the oatmeal normally, but substituted half the water with pomegranate. I think all pomegranate would be overkill.
After it was done, I topped it with a dollop of butter and brown sugar.
It was surprisingly delicious. It had kind of a bite to it. Almost too acidic, but the butter cut it nicely. And it had a really intense, fruity flavor.
If I had to rank these, I would say that the chocolate variety was my favorite (which shocked me because I don’t like sweets for breakfast normally), followed very closely by the pomegranate. I really liked that also. The Greek dish was third, but still tasty.
I started talking to people about how I was experimenting with oatmeal and came up with a few other ideas:
Ginger – I was talking to my friend Zander (@zanzanne) and he mentioned how he thought that oatmeal sometimes has like a bean curd flavor and that gave him the idea to mush up fresh ginger and add it to oatmeal. That would definitely liven up the bowl.
Coffee – Once I realized how well oatmeal takes on whatever flavor you cook it in, cooking it in coffee was the next leap. I didn’t actually try this, but I think it would work pretty well.
Anyone else have any fun takes on oatmeal??