Sunday, August 29, 2010

RECIPE: Oatmeal in the Slow-Cooker (and variations)

Yesterday after my husband and I got home from church (the girls went to Mass on Saturday evening), we opened the back door and were greeted by the delicious and wonderful smell of slow-cooked oatmeal wafting through the house. Jazzed up with apples and peaches and spiced with cinnamon and cloves, it was a fragrance that could make you want to get a warm bowl and curl up on the sofa all wrapped in your Snuggie, if it weren't ninety-four frikking degrees outside.

Oatmeal, I believe, is one of the most perfect foods ever. With what other food can you whip up a practically instant batch of those no-bake oatmeal-and-cocoa cookies? What other food allowed your great-grandma to stretch a humble pound and a half of ground beef into two during the Depression? What other food is so retro and heart-healthy, but can still be referred to as porridge? My dears, I give you oatmeal.

I posted the recipe for Pumpkin Brunch Oatmeal here at InsomniMom almost one year ago today, but today I'm going to post the recipe for just the plain, straight-up slow-cooked version with a couple of variations so that you can find your family's preference by playing around with it.

I also need to mention that this recipe is not my invention. This recipe originally belonged to my internet friend Colleen and I was so pleased with the results that I decided to see what I could do to tweak it here and there. For instance, Colleen's original recipe called for both white and brown sugars and all of us McKinneys are either trying to watch our weight or our blood sugar or both, so I substituted Splenda as a sweetner substitute for the white sugar. Little things like that make for a recipe that's either a once-in-a-while kind of thing because it's so naughty, or something that we all love and can have fairly frequently.


6 scant cups of old-fashioned oats
4 cups of milk
3 cups of hot water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Spray slow-cooker crock with non-stick spray. Put all ingredients in the crock and stir to combine. Set the slow-cooker's heat to Low and cook for three hours. Serve in bowls and allow the rest to cool; store in the refrigerator for up to four days and heat in the microwave by the bowl for a quick breakfast.

6 scant cups of oatmeal
1 small jar of cinnamon applesauce
2 apples, cored and cut into small chunks
2 peaches, pitted and cut into small chunks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
2 eggs, beaten
1 can evaporated milk
1 can hot water
1 measuring cup of hot water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger

And a few more ideas:
  • Use approximately three cups of apple cider instead of the applesauce
  • If it's winter time and fresh peaches are not to be found, use a large can of sliced peaches (I always use the no-sugar added type -- along with their juice
  • Use four apples instead of two apples and two peaches
  • Use four peaches instead of two apples and two peaches
  • Use any kind of fruit juice (I use the organic kind in the health food section that has no added sugar) instead of the applesauce
  • Add dates, raisins or currants
  • Add walnuts, pecans, pine nuts or sunflower seeds
  • Try a little shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetend)
  • Substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar or the Splenda
  • Use a flavored coffee creamer instead of the three cups of milk
  • Use eggnog instead of the milk
There should always be a certain ration of liquid-to-oatmeal in the crock. The original recipe will make a fairly dense oatmeal, which is the way we like it at our house; we'd rather add more milk ourselves because, naturally, all four of us prefer different consistencies in the finished product. I like mine very creamy, so I add a great deal of warm milk to my bowl, along with about three packets of Splenda. My husband recklessly throws milk and brown sugar into his bowl; Meelyn doesn't want anything with raisins in it, so I leave those out and set out a little dish of raisins for those who'd like to have some. Aisling is an oatmeal fanatic and eats it however she can get it.

The cooking time is the same no matter how you vary the recipe -- three hours is generally just fine. If you're using fresh fruit,just make sure to cut it into small pieces so that it will be soft when the oatmeal is served.


Denise said...

Thanks Shelley. I am looking forward to trying out the recipe.

Sharon said...

Thank you so much!!
I have almost all things, except the cloves.
Have you ever used real eggs? If not, do you think egg whites would be ok?

Kayte said...

Okay...going for this soon. It is becoming oatmeal weather...sort of. I love oatmeal in the winter so much! In the summer it never sounds good, why is that? Thanks for recipes.

Heather said...

My family has a running joke about crockpot oatmeal... My mom made it once when I was young, hoping to save time on a Sunday morning before church. It was so bad that not even our chicken bone-eating horse would touch it. Probably because she cooked it overnight :-/

Yours sounds delicious tho! Perfect for cool weather.