Some hot-cereal suggestions for cold mornings

I’m partial to oatmeal at breakfast. But because I prefer the texture of steel-cut oats and exclusively prepare those, my cereal takes awhile to cook, hence enjoyment of it on just a couple of days, rather than all week long.

That’s all to the good, though. I suspect I’d get tired of oatmeal if I ate it every morning, despite my experiments with adding all types of dried fruits and nuts, fresh compotes and home-canned peaches. I’ve even come up with my own version of Morning Glory’s popular Moroccan oatmeal, covered in a previous post.

On these bitterly cold mornings, however, a hot breakfast goes a long way. A recent story by the Contra Costa Times included a couple of twists on oatmeal that could keep it fresh all week long, including this baked cereal and fruit mixture that would be perfect for weekend treats. 

MCT photo

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups rolled (not instant) oats

1⁄2 cup toasted walnut pieces, divided

1⁄3 cup natural cane sugar or maple syrup

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1 1⁄2 teaspoons cinnamon

Scant 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, divided

2 ripe bananas, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces

1 1⁄2 cups huckleberries, blueberries or mixed berries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously butter an 8-inch, square baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, half of the walnuts, sugar (if using), baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup (if using), milk, egg, vanilla and half of the butter.

Arrange the bananas in a single layer in prepared pan. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the berries. Cover with oat mixture. Drizzle with milk mixture. Scatter remaining berries and walnuts on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until top is nicely golden and oat mixture has set. Let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle remaining melted butter on top and serve with more sugar or maple syrup, if you wish.

Makes 6 generous servings.

— Recipe from “Super Natural Every Day,” by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press, $23, 248 pages).


Chai Oatmeal

1⁄2 cup soy milk

1⁄2 cup milk

2 tablespoons honey

2 cinnamon sticks

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 star anise

5 to 8 green cardamom pods, unopened

1 cup whole rolled oats

In a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water, the milks, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and cardamom. Bring to a simmer; turn off heat and steep for 10 minutes.

Strain out spices, then return milk to same pot. Add the oats; bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low; cover loosely. Cook without stirring for about 10 minutes, or until oatmeal thickens to desired consistency. Serve with milk and sweetener of choice, if desired.

Makes 2 servings.

— Recipe from “CakeLove in the Morning,” by Warren Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95, 208 pages).


Banana-Ginger Oatmeal

1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup crystallized ginger

1 cup whole rolled oats

1 cup milk or soy milk

1 medium banana, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon flaxseeds, optional 

1 tablespoon honey

Pinch salt

1 tablespoon sugar, optional

Chop the ginger into small pieces.

Put all the ingredients into a 1-quart saucepan with 11⁄4 cups water; stir to combine. Cook over low to medium heat until oatmeal simmers lightly, about 15 minutes. Serve with strawberries and honey, if desired.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

— Recipe from “CakeLove in the Morning,” by Warren Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $24.95, 208 pages).

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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