Do you remember that part in the Arrested Development pilot when Michael asks George Michael what they always say is the most important thing and George Michael responds with–bless his heart–“breakfast?” (The correct answer is, obviously, “family.”) Well, I have to tell you a secret: every time I manage to eat a sensible, well-rounded breakfast, young GM’s words ring in my ears and crack a smile. Pretty much makes my morning. However, most of the time, I don’t eat breakfast, and my internal response to the idea of it is more like, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Enter baked oatmeal. I whipped up this batch on Sunday while I was making dinner and then popped it in the fridge to nourish me throughout the week. So far it has performed the functions of its job and gone above and beyond to delight my taste buds and keep me satisfied until lunch. If baked oatmeal had a LinkedIn profile I would TOTALLY write it a recommendation.The series of events leading up to the existence of this dish was typical for most of my creations. Here is a brief outline:
- “Ah! What am I going to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack???”
- “It looks like I have a lot of [random ingredient] that I should probably use up.”
- Google recipes using that use random ingredient and seem fast, easy and cheap. Pick one that uses other ingredients that I already have.
- Make recipe, omitting things that I don’t have/don’t want to buy and adding things that seem delicious/I also need to use up. Try to remember to write the changes I made on the recipe so I can write a good blog post later.
- Take picture. Eat food.
- Write blog post.
The things I wanted to use up and incorporate into my breakfast concoction were old fashioned rolled oats (I buy mine in bulk), walnuts, and frozen peaches and raspberries. You can look at the recipe I based mine on here over at a pretty nifty blog called “So, How’s It Taste?” (I love the title). I pinned it to my recipe board awhile ago and have had it in the back of my mind ever since.
Here’s what I changed and why:
- Doubled the walnuts: I just really like walnuts! I like their flavor, texture, and the good fat that they add to a dish. I find them filling, in a good way. Also, I once read that if you eat walnuts for breakfast every day it’s supposed to make you happier. Who doesn’t want to be happier? (Read more about the mood benefits of food here, where the first two foods listed are oatmeal and walnuts!)
- Used whole milk: Mark had a moment of ambition and tried to make eclairs the other night. We’d just watched the episode of MasterChef where the contestants do it and he was like, “I’m going to do that NOW.” So I went to the store and got all the ingredients but despite his valiant effort the pâte à choux got the better of him. He was a worthy opponent for this temperamental pastry but came to battle unprepared. Next time he will win, I am sure of it. Long story, well, over–we have whole milk to use up. And it’s, um, delicious. But really use whatever you want I don’t think it matters one bit.
- Peaches instead of bananas: bananas are kind of gross. Who’s with me here?
- Half the amount of raspberries: it’s all I had withering away in the freezer. Use more and it would also be great!
- PURE organic maple syrup: this one is obvious, right? I think you could use any kind of organic, unrefined sweetener here (honey, agave, brown or coconut sugar, etc.). If you’re using one that’s not liquid, perhaps increase the milk a bit.
- Canola oil instead of butter: 2 reasons: balance out the whole milk, didn’t want to waste a dish on melting butter. I think this might be a good application for melted coconut oil. Another option might be grapeseed oil. Really any kind of fat that you prefer should work just fine. Or even leave it out entirely, but maybe grease the pan so the oats don’t stick.
- I used frozen fruit, but fresh would probably be great too!
I’ve been enjoying this oatmeal so much that on morning walks with my little Sadie all I can think of–besides coming home and eating the oatmeal–is new fruit and nut combos to try out. Due to my current obsession with AUTUMN (oh you are so close I can smell your deliciousness!) I’m thinking I’ll definitely be trying a pumpkin spice rendition soon.
As for the directions: totally straight forward but I added approximate microwave re-heating times. You can, of course, eat this right away if you wake up early enough to make it. (Recall: “ain’t nobody got time for that.”) The original recipe suggests cooling for 10 minutes before diving in. A final, final note: I didn’t try this but I’m wondering if the slight layer of custard that settles at the bottom of the pan could be avoided by adding the wet ingredients to the dry ones before dumping into the pan? If you try it, please let me know how it goes. If I try it before you do, I will let you know.
Vegan option: I haven’t tried it but I’m guessing that if you mixed everything together and then spread it in an oiled pan and baked it, you could get away with subbing non-dairy milk and just omitting the egg. Adding a little more fruit and milk would probably help it to hold it together but you’d probably end up wanting to eat it out of a bowl.
Oil-free option: Leave out the oil? I think this would work fine but you might encounter a little sticking on the bottom of the baking dish.
Sugar-free option: You could omit the sugar and either add a smidge of stevia to the liquid ingredients or just leave out sweetener all together.
Peach Raspberry Baked Oatmeal
Time commitment: about 50 minutes (10 active, 40 baking)
Makes: about 4 large breakfast portions
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (make sure they are labeled gluten-free if that’s your thing)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen peach slices (or about 2 fresh peaches, sliced)
- 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) raspberries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Chop walnuts; set to the side. Measure oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a medium mixing bowl with half the nuts and whisk to evenly combine. Measure maple syrup, milk, oil, and vanilla into another medium mixing bowl with the egg and beat till well combined and slightly frothy.
- Arrange peaches in an even layer in bottom of baking dish. Top with oat mixture, spreading to form an even layer. Pour liquid mixture evenly over the oats. Top evenly with berries and remaining nuts.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly and the edges are a nice toasty brown. Let cool a bit before serving or to room temp before covering and refrigerating.
- To reheat: place one quarter of the oatmeal on a plate and microwave on high (uncovered is fine) for 1 1/2 minutes.