Winter mornings around our house mean comfort food. And although oatmeal seems to get a bit of a bad rap as a boring, dull breakfast, it is in no way boring to me.
I love the flexibility of oatmeal. Add fruit, nuts and even savory flavors to the mix and each dish can be different.
Twinkle's Oatmeal Primer:
These oats have been cooked, dried and rolled. These are the most processed oats you'll find at the market. Although they are ready in about 60 seconds, the convenience really takes a lot out of the taste. You also run into the possibility of additives like sugar and salt.
These are rolled oats cut into smaller pieces, high in convenience –3-4 minutes to cook – but low in taste. They are, however, great for baking cookies, muffins, etc.
Steel-cut Oats (my favorite form of oatmeal)
Also known as pinhead oats – cue The Ramones – these coarse Irish or Scottish oats consist of the inner portion of the oat kernel. They are steamed or rolled, but only cut into two or three pieces. Instead of getting mushy and totally soft, steel-cut oats tend to maintain a bit of texture and body.
They take longer to cook – 20-30 minutes at times – but the dish is well worth the wait.
Quick oats pictured at top, steel-cut oats at bottom.
Steel-cut oats are also a good carb, can aid in lowering cholesterol and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
You can cook steel-cut oats in a slow cooker, or you can cook them down over the stove, slowly stirring in ingredients.
The Sweet and the Savory:
I have two oatmeal recipes I stick to. One is a fairly easy, slow cooker recipe and the other is a throwback to when I was a kid.
Slow cooker oatmeal is a lifesaver. Throw in your ingredients, set the slow cooker and go on about your business. In a few hours you've got a delicious, healthy breakfast. Perfect way to slide in some dried fruit and nuts along with making the sweet tooths in your family happy.
For a more savory oatmeal dish, I use my Grandmaw Rose's simple recipe.
Grandmaw's pantry was always filled with canned goodness from the huge garden she and Papaw Rip grew every summer. One of my favorite things she canned was stewed tomatoes.
Stewed tomatoes meant oatmeal and tomatoes on chilly mornings. It's one of my top comfort foods still to this day.
What you'll need:
Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oats
- 1 tsp. oil (canola, olive oil, or grapeseed oil)
- 1 ½ cups Irish Steel-cut Oatmeal
- 4 cups almond milk or whole milk
- ½ cup dried berries, apples or raisins
- ½ cup pecans
- 1tsp. sea salt
- 1tbs. cinnamon
- 1tbs. powdered ginger
- 1 tbs. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbs. honey
Coat your slow cooker with the oil and set to low.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and then transfer to your slow cooker.
Cook for 4-6 hours, checking in every once in awhile to stir.
Some slow cookers cook hotter than others, so adjust to your slow cooker's temperature as needed.
Oatmeal and Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups Irish Steel-cut Oatmeal
- 3 cups almond milk or whole milk
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 tbs. freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 tomatoes quartered and cubed
- ¼ cup thinly sliced onions or leeks
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
Cook your oatmeal according to the stovetop directions on the package. Set your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
While your oats are cooking, chop tomatoes, onions and garlic and toss in ¼ cup of olive oil with the salt and pepper.
Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook in the oven until tomatoes are cooked down and begin to brown, about 20-30 minutes.
It should take about the same time for the tomatoes to cook as it does the oatmeal.
Serve warm tomatoes over oatmeal.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.