05 March 2012

Eats: baked banana nut oatmeal

There are certainly a lot of downsides to working part-time that I didn’t anticipate, as I’ve told you dear readers before. Like, why does doing ONE THING now take ALL WEEK when I’m pretty sure I could conquer it in a Sunday afternoon when I was working full-time? The time-space continuum of part-time employment continues to mystify me.

One of the upsides to working from home in the mornings, however, is the ability to eat breakfast. Oh sure, I could get up earlier when I need to be at work at 9 in order to eat a hot breakfast. But I like sleeping more than eating, so that never happened. Now that I can get up at my usual hour and not rush off to work, I’m finding myself eating breakfast more. My favorite breakfast is still just coffee and milk, but because I’m supposed to eat a real, non-liquid breakfast, I’m giving it a try. One of the things I’ve eaten are these easy mini-quiches that I’ve already shared with you. And here’s another recipe for those days that I’m not in the mood for eggs: banana nut oatmeal! And it’s baked!

I’ll be honest here; every time I made oatmeal at home before, it was the instant kind that came in a packet. I really had no idea that you could use plain oats, flavor them to your desire, and bake them in the oven! Fortunately this source turned me onto the idea, and I’m in love.

First you need some overripe bananas. Seriously, do I ever have regularly-ripe bananas in my house? Or even green bananas? I promise I don’t buy them this way. In any case, you need two if you’re having the recipe at the original source, like me.

Mash those up with a spoon – I do it in my mixing bowl. Then add just under a quarter-cup of brown sugar, a quarter-teaspoon each of baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, a teaspoon of vanilla, and an egg.

Whisk until just combined (I use my mixer attachment), then whisk in a cup of milk, a cup and a quarter of oats (the usual cheap kind is fine), and a quarter-cup of chopped nuts. Or in my case: leftover trail mix from our holiday car ride all over the middle of the country. To my credit: I photographed this in January. We are not eating still three-month-old trail mix... not because we would think that’s gross, but because snacks don’t last that long around here.

That was a Mr. P selection, and it contained unseasoned cashews, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Of course, you can use whatever nuts you have on hand – but this was fantastic in oatmeal! I grabbed a few handfuls and pulsed it in my mini food processor:

Once that was whisked in with the rest of the ingredients, I poured the oatmeal into a greased pyrex dish:

This isn’t officially a casserole dish – it came in a multi-piece storage set with a lid – but it’s about 7x5”, or the perfect size to halve recipes designed for 8x8” dishes. And we still get four servings of oatmeal, or six smaller portions for when I eat some oatmeal with a mini-quiche.

For that size dish, it only needs to bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes covered in foil, followed by about ten minutes without the foil. If you double the recipe for an 8x8” dish (i.e. follow the source recipe), it takes more like 45 minutes.

When it’s done...

I never thought that oatmeal could be pretty until now.

There are so many things to love about this oatmeal. I always seem to have overripe bananas that need to be used up, for one. Usually when that happens I make my banana nut muffins, but oh, they are not so good for the arteries or the waistline. This recipe has a bit less sugar per serving and NO butter, which makes it a huge improvement.

Another great thing about this oatmeal is how thick it is – almost cakey like a dessert, but still a bit mushy somehow. You can thin it out by pouring milk over it, but I liked it thick. It’s also sweet but not too sweet. You could cut back on the sugar and add syrup on top, if you prefer, but again, I liked it as-is.

But the best part about this oatmeal, in my opinion? It requires little hands-on time – no stirring over the stove – and the leftovers are delicious, meaning that you don’t have to question if all your part-time-employment-free-time is actually going toward making oatmeal. If you make an full pan instead of half for a family larger than ours, you’ll get eight generous servings, which almost guarantees leftovers (even for one reader I know with five children, ha). So yes, this oatmeal is tasty by itself, but even tastier because of the time it saves you. Enjoy!


Miles said...

Ha! That reader with five children will be trying this very soon!

Miles said...

Tried it and it was a hit! You were right, we even had leftovers! Of the three different ways I've prepared oatmeal, baked is my new fave!

Janie said...

Made the baked oatmeal and we REALLY liked it! Thanks for sharing.