Make-ahead Cooked Old-fashioned Oatmeal

Be Prepared so that You're Not Tempted to Skip Breakfast!

If the snow is snowing and the wind is blowing...

then start the day with a bowl of hot oatmeal!!

Oatmeal happens to be my favorite breakfast cereal, but making one serving or even two at a time seems like such a nuisance to me.

In the past I have used those individual packets of instant oatmeal which take very little time at all to make. My problem with them is that they taste overly sweet to me. Also, maybe because they are so soft-textured, I'm less satisfied after eating it than I am after consuming a bowl of cooked old fashioned oats.

My solution

I make six (or it can even be enough for seven servings) and freeze some of them in single serving portions.

That may sound a bit strange if you have never done it - freeze oatmeal?

This is how easy it is to make

I combine 5 ¾ cups of water and ¾ tsp. of salt in a 3 qt. saucepan. I bring the water to a rolling boil. Then I add 3 cups of old-fashioned oats, stir, and turn the heat down to medium. The oats/water mixture will be a bit foamy - not to worry. Set the timer for 5 minutes and during that time stir the oatmeal occasionally. Do not cover during that five-minute time period.

At the end of five minutes, give the oatmeal one last stir, then cover and remove the pan from the heat. Let it sit for about 3 minutes covered.

Then uncover, stir, and let the oatmeal sit for 15 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally. The water will continue to be absorbed by the oatmeal, and when it is the right texture that you like for eating, spoon out a helping and enjoy your breakfast.

The remainder of the oatmeal

Consider that the whole batch makes enough for six very generous portions, although I like to get seven portions out of it as that is a more comfortable portion size for me.

Let the remaining oatmeal continue to cool in the pan. When it has cooled enough, spoon the oatmeal into 5 or 6 plastic freezer-safe 2-cup size containers. If the oatmeal is still a bit warm, set the containers uncovered in the refrigerator until they are ready to be covered and frozen.

I like to keep two containers in the refrigerator for breakfast for the next two days, and freeze the rest. When you are ready to eat the oatmeal that you have stored in the freezer, you can pop the oatmeal into a bowl and thaw it in the microwave. Then heat it to the serving temperature that you desire. I like to take the container out of the freezer and have it in the refrigerator for a couple of days so that it is already thawed and ready to warm.

I add a little sugar and some cinnamon, and then top the oatmeal with blueberries or dried cranberries. I transfer a bag of frozen blueberries to a bowl that I can put in the refrigerator so that the berries will thaw, and then spoon the thawed berries on top of my oatmeal. You can do the same with frozen peaches, or cook some apple, cinnamon and sugar and use that for a topping.

Six or seven servings of prepared oatmeal, one pan to wash, and some time and energy saved in the process. This may not be for everyone, but it sure gets me started off on the right track in the morning and ready for a day of writing for Associated Content.

Bon appétit!

A similar recipe appears on boxes (most all brands) of old fashioned oats. I use this much water because I am cooling the oatmeal, freezing and reheating. If you are making 6 cups of oatmeal that will be served immediately, then cut the water back to 5 ¼ to 5 1/3 cups and you will have firmer textured oatmeal that you can serve quickly.

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Published by R.C. Johnson

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