A great breakfast is an essential part in the nourishment of those in and out of the home. Oatmeal has been heralded as a wonderful early morning option with great nutritional value and is loaded with fiber, protein and minerals. I remember growing up, this breakfast meal was one of my father’s favorites. He’d be sure to have us eat oats as children and would declare, “eat up, sons, it’ll stick to you your bones!” Turns out, dad was actually correct. The fiber in oatmeal is what keeps you feeling fuller longer and is great for digestion. It also regulates blood sugar, absorbs water and helps to lower cholesterol.
Oats are a great breakfast base and are incredibly flexible and are a great choice for a quick and healthy meal. The key to a fantastic bowl of oats is to layer and load the grains with fresh or dried fruit and seasoned, toasted nuts. For this breakfast, we’ll begin by toasting shaved almonds. Add a dash of salt, pepper and olive oil to the almonds and place in a 400 degree oven for 10-13 minutes until toasted. Set aside and let the almonds cool.
Next, you’ll need either steel cut oatmeal, if time is a luxury, or quick rolled oats, if not. Follow the directions on the package and split the wet ingredient requirement with ½ water and ½ milk or a milk substitute. Oat milk is best if dairy is a dietary restriction. I’ve found this split in wet ingredients creates a great final consistency. If too much water is used, your grains won’t be creamy enough. However, utilizing too much milk will cause the oats to become stiff. Remember, as the oats cool, they will thicken, so we want the oats to be slightly wet when cooking so we have a great consistency at the point of service.
Bring your wet mixture to a boil in a saucepan and immediately add your measured dry oats to the pot once a boil is reached. Be careful here, as milk or milk substitutes will rise rather quickly and overflow the saucepan if not attended. At the point of boil, temporarily remove the pot from the heat source should the liquid quickly rise; then, slightly reduce the heat to a medium or medium-high setting and stir often to ensure the oats cook evenly and don’t stick to the pan.
Once the oats reach the desired level of consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat and add a pat of butter and roughly a third of a cup or less of brown sugar per serving.
Immediately transfer your oats to a serving bowl and add the fruit of your choice. Blackberries or raspberries are great choices, while dried cranberries and fresh-sliced bananas round out a wonderful flavor profile. Remember those shaved almonds we toasted? Add them on top and you’ve got some good breakfast eats!
• Oatmeal: Steel Cut or Quick Rolled
• Shaved Almonds or Nuts of Your Choice
• Fruit of Your Choice
• Brown Sugar & Butter or Vegan Butter
• Salt & Pepper
• Milk or Milk Substitute
Note: All recipes on Building Chicago encourage you to estimate ingredients where possible and tap into your inner food artist to create wonderful nourishment for yourself and loved ones. Use your senses of taste, vision and feel to create dishes that you like and love. In order of progression, take a look at the photos and follow along…and remember: get creative, builders!
Salt & Pepper Those Almonds
Bake Until They Look Like This and Let Cool
Decide What Fruit You Enjoy
The Good Stuff
Equal Parts Water and Milk or Milk Substitute
Add Wet Ingredients and Bring to a Boil and THEN Add Oats
Add Butter and Brown Sugar
Now Dress Those Oats and Enjoy, Builders!
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