I’ve never been very impressed by instant oatmeal. It always just seems to be oatmeal dust, robbed of any nutritional value by tons of processing and loads of overbearing flavors, mostly sugar. The only reason it has survived this long is that it’s quick and easy — pour some water into a bowl, add instant oatmeal, microwave for 2-3 minutes, and you’re done. Easy, hot breakfast.
However, great oatmeal is just as easy. Except for a very small upfront cost (about 20 minutes), the time it takes to get great oatmeal is basically the same as the time to get mediocre oatmeal. Great oatmeal is cheaper, tastes far, far better, and is much healthier. By making it in bulk at the beginning of the week and packaging it into single-serving containers, you still get the grab-and-go convenience of instant with the price, flavor and health benefits of the good stuff.
My go-to recipe combines the best stuff in granola with the palate-pleasing warmth of whole grain oatmeal. It’s fast, healthy, and something you’ll want to eat every day. The proportions are just approximations — you should definitely add more or less to fit your tastebuds.
Originally posted January 1st, 2011
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats — not quick cooking or instant
- 8 cups water (or amount of water called for in oats instructions)
- 3 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
- 3/4 cup dried and sweetened cranberries (Craisins or similar)
- 1 tablespoon molasses or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dried sweetened coconut
- 1/2 tsp salt
In a large dutch oven or saucepot, set water to boil.
Toast coconut and flax seeds separately. I did it in a skillet, which takes about 5 minutes, but watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Remove flax seeds from heat when they start popping like popcorn and the coconut when it begins to turn golden brown on the edges. You could also do them together in a 400 degree oven on a baking sheet.
When water is boiling, add all oats and cook according to direction, typically this is 5 minutes at a simmer. Turn off heat, stir in molasses or brown sugar and let oats cool for about 20 minutes.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Package into single-serving containers and refrigerate. Later, reheat in microwave for 2 minutes.