Good Morning! Good Breakfast!: Baked Steel Cut Oats

Today I wanted to share something from the kitchen. This recipe has SO improved our mornings, especially my husband's. He is in an intense schooling program, that is both physically and mentally exhausting. He works full-time and is in school full-time. While breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, he simply doesn't have the time to have a decent one...


I discovered steel cut oats. (Yep. I said steel cut oats. Keep reading if you want to see how he has time for them in the morning.) They are healthy. They are high in fiber. They are minimally processed. They are a low-glycemic food (which means it takes the body a long time to absorb them, making you feel fuller longer, and giving you energy for longer). They are packed with carbohydrates to jumpstart a morning. They are chewy. (I know, the last item on my list of nutritional benefits doesn't seem to fit. But I do like things to taste good. And the chewier the oatmeal, the better... at least in my mouth).

By the way: feeling any weight from all those crunchy granola, steel-cut-oat women turning their nose up at you, the instant-oat woman. No need to! Steel cut oats are only slightly better for you. Really for me, it comes down to a flavor/texture preference and ... alright, a strange, crunchy-granola tendency to avoid over processed foods. But don't feel bad if you choose to stick to old-fashioned oats, the only extra process is rolling and steaming (and extra cutting if they are instant.) Oats--steel-cut, old fashioned or instant--are ALL so good for you! 

I have always had a thing for baked oatmeal. It's THE BEST way to have oatmeal. YUM-O! I found this recipe and adapted it to suit my family. Baked Oatmeal is SO tasty. I make it on Friday (our closest thing to a weekend at the moment) and serve it up with some eggs, bacon and fresh squeezed OJ. I package up all the leftovers and our little family has 4 days of leftover oatmeal squares that are super easy to reheat and take on the go... just in time for Michael's physically intense weekend.

Baked Steel Cut Oats. (Link will be provided at end of this post as well.)
And bonus for mommies with little ones: Baby Cereal Bars

1: Soak oatmeal overnight in water with tablespoon of plain yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir. This is not absolutely necessary, it's just a really good idea. Grains contains phytic acid, which prevent you from being able to absorb all of the grain's nutrition. Phytic acid also make grains harder to digest. I even read that soaking grains can help a person with a mild gluten allergy be able to eat some different types of grains.Yogurt, buttermilk and kefir all have natural enzymes that neutralize the phytic acid.
2. Drain oats in mesh collander. There is no need to rinse, just get rid of extra water. Put back in bowl.
3. Chop some nuts. I got almonds and pecans going in my concoction... mostly because that's what was available in my stash. (anyone else say AHH-monds and PEE-cans like I do???)
 3. Whisk it, and whisk it good. Whisk together the eggs, milk and maple syrup until nice and frothy. (This made me feel out of shape... my arm kept needing breaks... and by the way it takes less than 2 minutes to get to frothy... yeah, you really need to start working out again, Amanda.) If you can't afford maple syrup or don't feel like going to the store to get it, substitute brown sugar instead... same amount. Though I will say, everyone should make a way for maple syrup every now and again. It's GOOD :)
4. Add egg mixture to oats along with fruit. I have some blueberries and raspberries in this one from my frozen fruits stash. Add cinnamon and canola oil. You could add nuts here too (unless you are making baby cereal bars too), but I just sprinkle mine on top. (They get toasty this way... yummy)
Tip: I always keep at least a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer. Fruit is a healthy way to make a last minute dessert on the fly without adding too much sugar. Frozen fruit keeps for a really long time in the freezer, and its great to have a last minute dessert/sweetener on hand (pancakes, crepes, crisps... oh my!) Also, if fruit is on special and in season, I buy extra of it, rinse it, and store it in the freezer in freezer bags. Money saved. Happy tummies. Win!
 5. (Optional.) I have a little guy (10 months today!) who will eat just about anything (yep. broccoli, peas, carrots...) so long as he gets to be the one who puts it in his mouth. This has made me have to be creative in how I feed him. Since this has little sugar in it and is minimally processed, I decided to make him his own batch of cereal bars. I just pulled out a little bit, put it in the food processor (to make it easier to eat... he doesn't have many teeth to handle the chewy oats), didn't include the nuts, and put in a little mini bake dish. (Do double check with your baby's pediatrician if you have concerns about whether your baby can have this... My baby can, but all babies are different, the allergen advice keeps changing, and I am no doctor)
 6. Place mixture in oiled pans. Sprinkle nuts on top. Bake in a 375 preheated oven for 20-40 minutes. It's done when a toothpick comes out clean. It's easy to tell when it's done: it will not have any liquid left. I used a 8x8, a 9x9 and a 3" circle (my little circle was done in 20 minutes and my two pans in 30 min. When I made this all in one pan and it was thick, it took 40 min). Side note: I am missing my big pan and have been for years now... I should probably get a new one. Ha!
 Hmmm... Hearty, Healthy, Wholesome, Hungry (alliterations for this creation... I know, I am a nerd)
Serve warm with eggs on a Saturday morning. Important: Drizzle oatmeal with maple syrup or a homemade fruit syrup like this one.)
 Big man approved. Little man approved too.
 For easy breakfast throughout the week: place each square on a piece of foil.
7. Wrap up. Store in fridge. Early each morning, pull out, unwrap (leaving it on the foil), place in toaster oven for 5ish minutes while you are finishing up getting ready for your day, wrap back up in foil, take with you, and eat on the go. So easy! Even my husband can do it! HA!
And in case you are unfamiliar with this math fact: toaster oven > microwave  :)
Husband LOVES his healthy, home-cooked breakfast each morning. I like not having to get up to make it for him.

Baked Steel Cut Oats Recipe

Open Recipe in Google Document for easy printing (Just click link):
Baked Steel Cut Oats

3 cups Steel Cut Oats
1 TBS plain yogurt, buttermilk, or kefir
½ cup chopped nuts
3 eggs   
1 cup of milk                       
½ cup dried fruit or 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit
1 TBS cinnamon
2 TBS canola oil
2 TBS maple syrup

  1. Soak oats overnight. Place oats in large bowl, fill with water till water is an inch over the oats, place a generous tablespoon of plain yogurt in bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Grease pans.
  3. Drain oats in colander and place back in bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and maple syrup until frothy.
  5. Add egg mixture to oats along with fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and oil. Fold until combined.
  6. Pour into pans.
  7. Bake for 20-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean or oatmeal has no liquid on top.
  8. Serve with maple syrup. 

Baby Oatmeal Bars: 

Prepare just like above, except omit nuts, and place in food processor before putting into baking dish. 

Oatmeal Bars on the go: 

Prepare as above. Cut into individual servings and store each serving wrapped in foil in the fridge. Unwrap and place in 375 toaster oven for 5 minutes before eating (or eat cold).

Some yummy variations:
blueberries and raspberries
can of peaches, drained and cut, and blueberries. Omit cinnamon. Add tsp of vanilla
Sprinkle toasted wheat germ on the top for some nutty nutrition
dried apricots and dried cranberries as suggests
your imagination: keep the oats, milk, egg and oil ratios the same and play around with the fruit, seasoning/flavoring, sweetener and nut combinations :)

Hope your Monday is Made!