Cooking Basics

How to cook oatmeal

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Bowl of oatmeal with apples
A steaming bowl of oatmeal starts your day on a warm note
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No need for instant when you know how to cook real oatmeal

On a cold winter morning, there's nothing like a steaming bowl of oatmeal to get your day started right.  But if you don't know how to cook oatmeal from scratch, you're probably stuck with the pasty sort-of-oatmeal you can make from an instant packet. Or an overpriced fast food oatmeal.

Making real, fresh and delicious oatmeal is easy enough for even brand-new cooks.  Here are the basics, and a fancier weekend oatmeal recipe to get you started.  After you taste homemade oatmeal, you'll never go back to the packets!

The Three Kinds of Oatmeal

Before you get to the recipes,you need to know that there are three main kinds of oatmeal (besides instant), and the cooking methods are slightly different for each.

Quick oats are the fastest cooking of the three, but they're more processed, and produce a mushier textured-oatmeal. 

Rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats) are what most people call homemade oatmeal.  They take longer to cook, but give you a denser, chewier texture.   

Steel cut oats, which were only found in the British imports sections of most grocery stores until recently, take the longest to cook, but the result is a nutty, slightly sweet oatmeal that compliments fruit and other toppings. These oats also have the highest amount of fiber per serving,

Quick Oats

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup quick oats

Directions:

  • Bring water to boil in a saucepan
  • Add oats
  • Reduce heat to medium low
  • Simmer uncovered until oatmeal is thick, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add sweetener, fruit, nuts, milk or other toppings

Rolled (Old-fashioned) Oats

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups regular rolled oats



Directions:
  • Bring water to boil in a saucepan
  • Add oats
  • Reduce heat to medium low
  • Simmer uncovered until oatmeal is thick, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add sweetener, fruit, nuts or other toppings
  • Add milk, if desired

Steel Cut Oats

Ingredients:

3 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Bring water to boil in a saucepan
  • Add oats
  • Reduce heat to medium low
  • Simmer uncovered until oatmeal is thick, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes.
  • Add sweetener, fruit, nuts or other toppings
  • Add milk, if desired (this is traditional for steel cut oats)
Weekend Oatmeal

When you don't need to rush off to work or herd the kids out to the bus stop, a fancier oatmeal recipe is a great way to start the day.  This recipe for steel cut oats with a difference comes from InnCuisine.com, a great site for bed and breakfast recipes and tips.

Ingredients:


1 cup steel cut oatmeal
3 cups water
1 large, ripe banana
2/3 cup sliced, sweetened strawberries, fresh or frozen (warmed and drained if necessary)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or chopped pecans
1/4 cup dark chocolate baking chips (may substitute with semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Directions:
  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Add steel cut oats, reduce heat to low, stir and cover.
  • Continue cooking over low heat and stirring often until oatmeal is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Cover and remove from heat.
  • While oatmeal is cooking, slice banana and prepare strawberries and nuts.
  • Spoon cooked oatmeal into serving bowls, topping each of the 4 portions with an equal amount of bananas, strawberries, nuts and chocolate chips.
  • Serve immediately.

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