< winter blues breakfast >

We've had a long Winter here in central Illinois. The never ending sub-zero temperatures, the snow, the wind. It's hard to get out of my warm and cozy bed sometimes. Especially to get up and make breakfast for my hungry little monsters because, well, we live in an old house. And the kitchen is the biggest room in the house. Awesome, right? Yes, except there's only one teeny tiny vent in that biggest room in the house, and that vent seems to be the last on the route for the warm air because the air coming out of it doesn't feel as warm as in other rooms. Could be my imagination, but I don't think it is. I usually have to add extra layers to go in there.

So on those bitter cold mornings, I have to have a plan to keep us warm. Some mornings that's making muffins or German pancakes just so I have an excuse to turn on the oven. But more likely is a hot bowl of oatmeal or multi-grain porridge. My kids love it, and I've learned to appreciate it. And it's a good heat you up from the inside, stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast.

See, I didn't grow up on sweet porridges. I grew up on savory breakfasts. I still don't like donuts or any other extremely sweet food first thing in the morning. I like my eggs and toast and hashbrowns or miso soup and rice and vegetables. But I have a serious sweet tooth husband who is the master pancake maker (mainly because early in our marriage he realized that if he wanted his beloved sweet pancakes for breakfast, he would have to learn to make them himself--and learn he did. They really are the best pancakes ever), and 3 little kids who have a little bit of both of us in them. And oatmeal is our happy compromise. It's nutritious and dense and hearty and can be customized however you want. I eat mine savory sometimes, while everyone else eats their sweet. And other times I join in on the fun.

But sorry to say, I still don't like your standard rolled oats porridge. It's a little too gluey for my palate. Maybe it's the foreigner in me. Yes, let's blame it on that. But I do really like steel cut oats. It has a sturdier mouthfeel that is so much more pleasing to me. But who wants to stand over a stove, stirring for over 30 minutes just for a your usual weekday morning meal? As I've mentioned before, I'm not a morning person. So my answer would definitely be: not me. And I know there are a lot of slow-cooker methods out there for overnight oats, but the ones I've tried all end up with crusty edges that you can't use or more complicated water baths and such. If any of you have experienced the frustrations that I have, hopefully this method will help. And you know the awesome part? If you have leftovers, pop them in the fridge and reheat when you want to eat them. They don't get gluey-er, they just get creamier.

So here is the basic overnight oatmeal recipe and a multi-grain porridge variation for you to try. You'll never go back.

Stove top overnight steel cut oatmeal (and multi-grain porridge variation)
makes about 6 servings (depending on how much you consider to be 1 serving)
adapted from the kitchn's overnight steel cut oats
2 cups steel cut oats
6 cups water
large pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (omit if serving savory)

  1. In a medium or large sauce pan, heat the water, oats, and salt over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat, put the lid on it, and let it sit over night. Reheat in the morning. You may need to add milk or water to loosen it up depending on desired thickness. Top with your favorite oatmeal toppings.
Multi-grain porridge variation:
1 cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup mixed whole grain or brown rice, rinsed thoroughly
1/3 cup millet
1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
6 cups water
large pinch of salt

Follow the instructions above for the standard steel cut oats.

1 comment:

Jill said...

I will be trying this. I love rolled oats overnight, I bet this is amazing.