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5 Easy ways to make healthy steel cut oats - including on the go options - never skip breakfast again!

5 Brilliant Ways to Make Oatmeal Easy

Ever since participating in Prescribe Nutrition’s New Rules program, I’ve been determined to start my day off with a healthy breakfast. (By the way, they have two new sessions starting April 8th & 15th – go here for more info. and use the code: MPMK20 for 20% off.)  Lately oatmeal has been my meal of choice. Two hard boiled eggs just started to get depressingly redundant.

Browsing pinterest for a good recipe, however, quickly left me overwhelmed. Baked, slow cooked, left overnight in the fridge – it seems there are tons of options for the unassuming steel cut oat.  So I asked Natalie to put together some of her all-time favorite oatmeal recipes and she came through for me in a big way. There’s even a DIY instant oatmeal option!  Read on for the goods and here’s to starting the day off right.

Oatmeal is a breakfast staple for so many families and it’s not hard to see why. It’s packed with nutrients, customizable and satisfying. But unless you’re using quick oats or store-bought packets, those hot bowls of breakfast can take some time. Not to worry, I’m sharing five ways to make oatmeal today that can cut your morning cook time in half. There’s something here that can work for everyone.

1. Traditional Soaked Oatmeal

Soaking oats overnight aids in digestion and nutrient absorption. If you experience any tummy troubles with oats, soaking them can help.

Basic Ingredients: 1 cup rolled/steel cut oats, 1-2T yogurt/whey/vinegar/lemon juice, 1 cup milk

Method: Soak oats and 1-2T yogurt overnight in enough water to cover. Drain in AM. Bring milk to a boil and add oats, cook until thickened to your liking. Add mix-ins. Makes 4 servings.

2. Baked Oatmeal To Go

This is truly a grab-and-go breakfast if you bake it the night before- all the work is done ahead of time!

Basic Ingredients: 2 eggs, ¼ cup maple syrup, 1t baking powder, 1t vanilla, ¼ cup melted butter or oil, ½ cup applesauce or other fruit puree, 1 small apple finely grated, 1 ¼ cups milk, 3 cups rolled oats, ½-1 cup mix-ins

Method: Whisk all ingredients except oats and mix-ins in a large bowl. Fold in oats and mix-ins and transfer to an 8×8 pan, a muffin tin or small ramekins. To bake right away, let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes before baking at 375 for 30 minutes. To bake later or in the morning, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove plastic wrap and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Makes about 12 servings.

3. DIY Instant Oatmeal Packs

If you love the taste and texture of oatmeal packets, this one is for you! The trick is in blending up the oats.

Basic Ingredients: 5 cups rolled oats, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4-1 cup brown sugar (depending on your sweet tooth), ½ cup non-dairy creamer or powdered milk

Method: Blend 1 ½ cup oats until they resemble a coarse flour. Add blended oats back to the other ingredients, stir well and measure into half cup portions. Bag them and store in a cool, dry place. Makes about 12 servings.

To prepare: Empty a bag into a bowl. Add ¾-1 cup liquid and microwave on high 1-2 minutes. Add mix-ins.

4. Crockpot Oatmeal (not pictured)

Not much work to be done here, but make sure check on the oats so they don’t burn- cooking time varies with the size and model of your slow cooker.

Basic Ingredients: 6 cups water, 2 cup steel cut or rolled oats, 1t salt

Method: Mix ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours (or overnight, if you’re confident it won’t burn or you can set a timer on your slow cooker). Add mix-ins. Makes 6-8 servings.

5. No Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

These oats are usually served cold and are great for warmer weather.

Basic Ingredients: 1/4c rolled or steel cut oats, 1T chia seeds (optional – substitute with ground flax or more oats if you like), ½ cup yogurt or milk or a mixture of both (yogurt makes it thick, milk makes it thin)

Method: Put oats, chia and yogurt/milk in an 8oz jar and shake. Add mix-ins, if using. Soak overnight in the refrigerator or for up to 2 days. Makes 1 serving.

A Word About Mix-Ins

There are about a million ways to top your oatmeal, but somehow we still get bored with our go-to choices. Typical mix-in candidates are nuts/seeds/nut butters, fresh/dried fruits, coconut, sweeteners, spices, chocolate/cocoa, coffee, granola, pureed fruits/veggies and more. That leaves A LOT of room for creativity.


Banana Split: sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, chopped nuts, dried or fresh cherries, chocolate chips
Hummingbird Cake: mashed/sliced banana, chopped pecans, crushed pineapple, cinnamon, shredded coconut
Trail Mix: peanuts and/or other nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried apples/apple chips, chocolate chips (optional)
Triple Apple with Peanut Butter: chopped fresh apple, apple butter, crushed apple chips and peanut butter
Tropical: shredded coconut, coconut milk, dried or fresh mango/pineapple/papaya/kiwi/banana
Spiced Cashew: chopped cashews, chopped dates, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, sea salt
PBJ: Peanut butter, strawberry jelly, chopped strawberries, chopped peanuts
Citrus: Sliced grapefruit/orange/blood orange, honey

And if you’re really daring – try savory oats. Think of oats as a base grain (just like rice or quinoa) and try your favorite savory combinations! Bacon, fried egg and avocado sounds particularly good to me right now… but the possibilities are endless!

Inspiration gathered from Oven Love, The Yummy Life, One Good Thing By Jillee and Chocolate Covered Katie.




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Natalie is lover of all things edible and mom to two sweet babies under 3 years old. She shares her favorite from-scratch recipes, techniques and tips for entertaining on her blog, Oven Love.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina March 29, 2013 at 8:30 am

I discovered Refrigerator oatmel thru The Yummy Life – omg its like dessert but so good for you! my favs are Chocolate Banana and Cherry Garcia



Kat Chavez March 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Oatmeal is one of my go to foods when I travel, for some reason hotels just make the best oatmeal. I will have to try the soak method this weekend as it sounds like it might produce a better hotel-esque result.



Julianne March 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm

What a great post..thanks for the inspiration. My kid’s next sleepover has just been jazzed up:) I edited my post to include a link to your page. I hope I did it right. I’m still learning…trying.


Royall March 31, 2013 at 10:42 am

My family eats steel-cut oats nearly every morning with the same toppings so breakfast has been getting a bit boring around here. Thank you for all the new ideas to try! I’m going to start testing them tonight.


Mary March 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Great post! I love hearing how moms can eat healthy food more easily.

I have a Sanyo rice cooker with a porridge setting. I have been using it for years to make steel cut oats overnight so they are ready in the morning. My 2.5 year old loves it! I never make it on weekends so we don’t get sick to death of it. When she was 8-16 months, I would push her oatmeal onto a little plate and let it cool. Then I would cut it into strips that she could pick up.


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