December 8, 2008

Eat-It-For-A-Week Baked Oatmeal

I woke up feeling sad and low today. I HATE feeling sad and low. Well, correction: there's a kind of sad/low I find enjoyable: it's more like...melancholy. That can be kind of pleasant. But the kind I'm feeling today is the non-pleasant kind. I had vivid, upsetting dreams last night, the kind where in the dream you test it to see if it's a dream or not, and it isn't. In one, Paul replaced all our beautiful relatively-new white bathroom fixtures with old scuffy dark-blue ones, without consulting me first, and he did it all sneaky-like in the middle of the night.

I'm treating the sadness/lowness in the usual ways (hot shower, using the special shampoos/moisturizers, turning on lots of lights), but also by having an extra-large bowl of baked oatmeal from a recipe my not-just-online friend Mairzy sent me. I find this recipe very bolstering. Here it is as Mairzy sent it to me, with Mairzy's comments:

I feel obligated to explain that not only have I sincerely enjoyed oatmeal (with brown sugar and milk) since I was a child, but I first made this baked oatmeal one evening in the midst of a raging pregnancy hunger. I needed FOOD, and when this was finally done and I could eat it, I nearly composed an ecstatic poem on the spot. So you might not find it as absolutely soul-satisfying as I do, but maybe you'll like it. It is, after all, still oatmeal.

I'll send you the way I use the recipe, which I halved and then used fresh fruit instead of dried. So it's all a bit approximate.

Slightly more than 3/4 Cup milk
1 Tbs butter
1/2 Cup regular oats
1/2 apple, peeled and cut into smallish pieces
1/2 banana, cut into pieces
5 or 6 pieces of canned pineapple chunks
2 Tbs brown sugar (I use the kind from the BOX)
1/4 tsp vanilla
Dash of salt (do NOT forget the salt -- ugh if you do)

Bring milk and butter to boil. Stir in oats slowly. Stir in fruit, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Pour into lightly greased casserole dish (a small one). Bake, uncovered, at 350-degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle more brown sugar on the top, then bake about 5 more minutes until bubbly. Cool slightly. You can serve it with additional milk, says the recipe, but I just pour myself a tall glass of milk to drink.

The original recipe also calls for pecans or walnuts to be sprinkled on the top with the brown sugar. I didn't have any on hand, but I'll probably try it because it sounds good.


The first time I made this recipe, I thought would be my last. I thought there was NO WAY I was EVER going to go through this much fuss again: not only does the oatmeal have to be cooked in a saucepan AND baked in a casserole (vessels used for cooking oatmeal/milk are a bee to clean), but there's all kinds of PREP work with the FRUIT, plus there's FUSSING AROUND with tablespoons and sprinkling and using only part of a can.

But then there I was a week later going through it again, and with joy in my heart. Instead of feeling resentful of the recipe, I had the happy hummy feeling of something making a fussy recipe that's totally worth the fuss---like a special holiday recipe. That's because the second time I made it I knew something I didn't know the first time around: you can put the leftovers in the fridge and scoop some into a bowl and microwave it in the morning, and it tastes BETTER than when it's new. I double the batch and have breakfast for a week, and I don't have to do the fussing-around in the morning when things are busy.

So. Here is how I do the recipe. I double it, which since Mairzy halved it means I'm making it at its original size (MATH MEDAL). I don't peel the apple, I leave the skin on. The first time, it was because I was looking for lazy ways out, but it was really good that way. Yay lazy!

Hey, do you already know how to section up a banana to avoid the slimy-cut-surface problem? You peel the banana, and then you shove your thumb rudely up one end. The banana splits into three long strips just like magic. Slightly FAULTY magic, since sometimes it splits better than others, but still pretty cool. Then you can break each strip into chunks, and the chunks are dry and starchy-looking the way a banana should be, instead of smooth and slimy. This doesn't really matter for this recipe, but it's still a quick way to cut up a banana.

I didn't have pineapple chunks so I used a few spoonfuls of crushed pineapple, and that was really good so I did that again the second time even though I could have bought chunks at the store by then. I used a heavy hand with the brown sugar "sprinkled" on top---I used at LEAST two tablespoons, and it could have been three or four. I like sugar.

The first time, I made it without nuts because I didn't have any, but the second time I used pecans (Target had them on a good sale) and it was SO YUMMY I'm going to have to keep nuts on hand now. I used a heavy hand with those, too, putting down a nice single-nut layer over the whole dish.

After it cooks and cools, I put a piece of tin foil over it and put the whole deal in the fridge. Each morning, I scoop out a piece, put it in a bowl, and microwave it for 45 seconds. It smells SO GOOD. And the taste/texture is growing on me: at first I was like, "Well, it's very good oatmeal, but it's still oatmeal---albeit with a much lower goop-factor and a nice mix of yummy stuff in it," but now I....well, I hesitate to put this in writing, but I look forward to it each morning. And I don't like oatmeal.

The reason I doubled the recipe the first time was not only because I didn't want to mess around with half-fruits, but also because I saw an opportunity to finally, FINALLY use the Le Creuset casserole dish I bought because I loved it so much and then have never used. It is gorgeous. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the color starts out orange at the bottom and gradually changes to yellow. SO PRETTY. It's not marked with a size, but when it was empty I measured water into it, and it holds 6 cups of water up to the brimmy-brim. It held the doubled recipe with the perfect amount of room to spare.


Sally said...

I wish I hadn't had breakfast already so I could have this today. Maybe I will make it tonight and have it microwaved tomorrow. I'm VERY excited to try this. Thank you.

Shelly Overlook said...

I gotta say I never thought a description of oatmeal would make me hungry, but this certainly did. I'll have to give it a try.

& that dish is very very pretty!

Marie Green said...

I currently eat grapenuts with milk and (a lot of) sugar, and I also look forward to breakfast every morning. I'm going to have to give this recipe a try though- wouldn't it be a cozy thing to whip up on a weekend morning for the whole family. Well, at least I THINK it would be cozy- my family likes oatmeal, but I could see them all (hubs included) turning their nose up at pure deliciousness. I'll have to experiment, with low expectations. =)

Also, I do love the dish- very pretty and sunny and happy.

Nowheymama said...

I LOVE baked oatmeal!

Dynamita said...

I never peel apples in 'baking' recipes (like pies or crumbles).

People always ask me what the secret ingredient is, and it's just that -the lazy non peeling of the apples! I think it gives the whole dish an extra layer of texture which people usually can't describe. Tee hee.

Mairzy said...

Wow, after reading what you've done with the recipe, I'm going to have to try it all over again. Especially the pecans. Oh, and I'm pretty heavy with the brown sugar, too. Figuring that you'd "adjust to taste" I just put what the recipe says. :)

Since I make such a small portion, I never tried the leftovers. Besides which, leftover oatmeal doesn't have that certain appeal factor. I'm glad you're the one who tried it out.

Misguided Mommy said...

and that is the best reason to make a double batch ever!!!!

i need on of those damn casseoles, I have all of their dutch ovens in each size but uggg must have casserole

Jen said...

You ought to be in sales, you know.

That sounds delish, and since it's still relatively early, I might just try the recipe out this morning. I wonder if the kiddos will like it.

Also, LOVE Le Creuset. I have a red one, and it's so fun and sassy.

RachelAnn said...

Sounds yummy! I was feeling sad and low yesterday and spent the whole day baking Christmas cookies. It didn't really help though because I don't really like sugar all that much so I'm giving them to my mailman, landlord, friends, etc.

d e v a n said...

Mmmm, that sounds good! Could you use steel cut oats, you think? That's all we have around here. Perhaps with a bit more milk...

Anyway, LOVE the dish.

Alice said...

mmm... that sounds good. i need someone to make me a pan, so that all i have to do is the microwaving bit in the mornings :-)

Bring A. Torch said...

I HEART your splendiferous foodie writing (to the brimmy brim)! Now to go give a banana the what-for!

Tracy said...

breakfast at your house tomorrow? I'll bring coffee?

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I'm sorry about your bad morning mood...Negative Monday morning moods persist. How about a Negativel Challenge? To shake those blues away? Go to
It's based on those ornery tags.

Sorry, but I loathe oatmeal. But I know the kind of blues- melancholy that ain't so bad! I agree!

Nellyru said...

I'm too busy laughing at the way you treat a banana...once I stop snickering and guffawing over that, I'll reread the actual RECIPE.

Heather said...

All my oven dishes are that brand, I love them! I dont have any small ones like that though...Only problem is when they are full of food for four adults, it's hard to lift to my above-chest-height oven. Is yours super heavy?

One day when I can be bothered I'll try this recipe. I guess it's kinda like fruit crumble only all mixed up together.

Swistle said...

Heather- It's definitely heavy for its size---but its size is so wee, I'm not seeing any positive change in my biceps yet.

elizasmom said...

ZOMG. So making this for brinner (dinner that is actually breakfast food) tomorrow night!

the new girl said...

I'm in for any recipe that DEMANDS the use of salt.

MzEll said...

This sounds sooo good! And I have everything to make it already!! Maybe Thursday or Friday morning..mmm... Thanks for sharing the recipe and picture!!

Bethtastic said...

I'm so very glad to hear you use even (gasp!) four tablespoons of brown sugar sometimes!!

Last time you wrote of oatmeal and mentioned two tablespoons like it was a lot...well, let's just say I laughed at the mention of two being "a lot"... I could eat brown sugar plain. From the box. :)

Yummy recipe. Must try.

Michelle said...

Ohhhh that sounds delish! I love having breakfast "pre" made, too .. which is why I make up batches of granola. Oatmeal is my backup. But this? Hmm... Little Miss loves her some oatmeal, too, so we may be making this later this week. Thanks!

Janssen said...

I have some red Le Creuset casserole dishes, but now I can clearly see I need some YELLOW ones.

RainyPM said...

Does "normal" oatmeal mean instant? That's the only kind I have now or had growing up, which makes it normal to me. But maybe the non-instant kind is really the normal kind. I also bet this would be so good with peaches.

Swistle said...

RainyPM- I used rolled oats. Oooooo, PEACHES! Peaches would be DELICIOUS in it! Oooo, or BLUEBERRIES!! MMMMmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

If you could find a way to do the boiling step in the microwave in a glass casserole that you later pop in the oven, you could dirty only one dish.

Anna said...

I just made this - delicious. I didn't have any bananas on hand so I used some canned pears instead - I think you can pretty much come up with any fruit combination and have it be delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

I know I'm late, but I just made this and YUM! I doubled Mairzy's recipe (so original size) and used:

1 whole apple
several handfuls of raisins
about 1/4 cup brown sugar in the oatmeal
another 1/4 cup sprinkled on top
slivered almonds sprinkled on top.


Kathy said...

I made this yesterday. I cut the sugar in half and used 1/2 to 3/4 as much fruit and still found it too sweet to eat first thing in the morning. I did however finish the whole pan (did I mention I had doubled it) over the course of the day, spoonful by spoonful. YUM!