Jan 132013

Overnight apple-cran steel-cut oats

Let’s face it: very few of us have tons of time in the morning to cook breakfast. Sure, many of us would love to have a hot breakfast in the morning, but the reality is that when push comes to shove, what we actually would prefer to do is to slap the snooze button a few more times.

Until recently, breakfast was a huge priority. I would always cook something, usually involving left-over veggies scrambled into an egg with some home-made toast and beans. I would still love to be doing that because it’s an incredibly delicious, healthy, and filling breakfast, but with a baby in the house now it’s just not realistic. However, I’m not willing to turn to cereal because I just don’t like it and it’s not remotely filling.

To my happy surprise, I discovered that steel-cut oats and slow-cookers are totally BFFs. This is happy because I can make a week’s worth of healthy and flavorful breakfast for a total time investment of about five minutes, which is how long it takes me to measure everything out, chop up the apples, stir, and turn on the slow-cooker. I haven’t historically been a fan of this appliance, but something like this could totally change my mind.

Overnight Apple-Cran Steel-Cut Oats
A Jitterbean original
Makes 8 servings

On the brown sugar front: I’m not a fan of sweet oatmeal, but the cranberries can be so tart that they need a little sweetness to balance it out. I use about 1/4 cup for the whole batch, but you may want to use more if you like sweet oatmeal.
If you’re awake while this is cooking, it couldn’t hurt to give it a stir every couple of hours so that the ingredients are better distributed throughout in the end.
2 cups steel-cut oats(toasted, if you like)
6 cups water
4 small apples or 3 medium apples, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons nutmeg
Brown sugar, to taste
Toasted pecans, milk, pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs, etc. for topping
Combine all ingredients (except the toppings) in the insert of a slow-cooker. Stir well, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
Once done, stir well (as the spices tend to congregate in the top layer of the oatmeal) and serve with your favorite toppings.
Refrigerate any left-overs. This is just as delicious left-over as it was the morning it was cooked when you warm it in the microwave and top as before.
I haven’t tried this, but I’d imagine that you could make this without a slow-cooker. Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven and cook overnight in the oven at a very low temperature (170F-200F).

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