You’ll Never Eat Instant Oatmeal Again

I really love a good, hearty bowl of oatmeal.  Being a person who needs convenience in her morning life, I have not, historically, had time for good, old-fashioned oatmeal.  I, like most people, have come to rely on instant oatmeal that I can make quickly.  Until now…

I’ve recently been working on putting together a slow cooker cookbook for my youngest sister.  She, being a senior in college, has started cooking for herself more and more.  She has also discovered the beauty and convenience of the slow cooker.  In my quest for recipes to add to her cookbook, and my own quest to find more ways to use my own slow cooker more often and for a wider array of meal options, I came upon some oatmeal recipes.

The one I share today is my version of the several I found.  I have come to love this oatmeal.  It’s great to reheat, grab, and go in the morning, and it would be an awesome breakfast to wake up to on the weekend, or if you have guests staying with you who also love hearty and delicious oatmeal.

This oatmeal recipe can be made in a 2-3 quart slow cooker and will make 5-8 servings.  I know, that’s a pretty big serving range, but it really depends on how much you eat in a serving.  If you portion out your servings, it probably (this is me eyeballing a finished batch in my head) makes close to 8 half cup servings.  If you only have a large slow cooker – 6-8 qts. for example, just know that you won’t have anywhere near a full slow cooker unless you triple the size of the recipe.  I have a slow cooker with three different sized crocks – 2, 4, and 6 qts.  So, for this one, I use my 2 qt. bowl.

So here we go…

Grab your slow cooker and coat it with nonstick cooking spray.

Gather your ingredients.  You need:

1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats (NOT quick cooking)

1 cup granola – pick and use your favorite – plain, cinnamon, or apple flavored granola would work well

2 cups milk, plus more if desired for serving

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small cubes

1/2 cup dried cranberries

 

Add your oatmeal.

Next, add the granola.

Time for the milk…

Follow with the water.

Add the salt.

Add the cinnamon.

Now it’s time to peel, core, and chop your apple.  I used a Cortland because it’s my favorite variety for both cooking and eating, but you can go ahead and pick whatever variety you like best.  You do want to pick an apple that holds up to cooking, because you don’t want the chopped pieces to completely break down.  They are in here for flavor and for texture.  I would recommend using any apple variety that you would normally bake with – Cortland, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Crispin (Matsu), etc.

Peel.  I use a vegetable peeler to do this.  I did not grow up using a vegetable peeler to peel my apples.  I have always been a paring knife kind of girl, but I watched someone use a veggie peeler to do this job on Food Network once, and it changed my life.  Well…it changed the way I peel my apples.  It is WAY faster and I am MUCH less likely to sever a digit.

Core.  This is another technique I have learned from my embarrassingly countless hours of Food Network viewing.  No digging seeds out.  Just cut close to the stem and it’s done.

Chop.  Nothing fancy here.  Just try to make sure your pieces of apple are similar in size.  They will cook more consistently.

Add your apples to the slow cooker.

Add the cranberries.  A quick note here…you can add ANY dried fruit you like.  I happen to be a lover of the cranberry.  I drink cranberry juice every single day and I love any dessert that contains this tart and tangy fruit.  You may not love the cranberry quite as much.  You could add raisins, dried cherries, dried bananas…you name it.  Pick the dried fruit that works best for you!

Gently stir your ingredients, just to combine and distribute the ingredients throughout.

Cover the slow cooker, and cook on low for 7-9 hours or High for 2-3.  Don’t take off the lid while cooking and don’t stir.  Just leave it and let the slow cooker work its magic.

After 7-9 hours (I put it on at night before bed and wake up to this…

Before serving, check the consistency.  If it’s too thick, just add some milk to break it up.  At this point, you can also add any sweeteners you like.  I add 1/8 T. maple syrup (the REAL stuff) and 1/8 T. dark brown sugar.  It would also be extra delicious if you added toasted walnuts or pecans.

When I make this, I make it and portion it out so that it lasts me for just about a week of breakfasts.  It heats up beautifully in the microwave.

Trust me…you will LOVE this oatmeal!  Try it immediately.  That’s an order.

Happy cooking!

 

 

 

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