Baked Oatmeal Muffins

baked-oatmeal-muffins-webA few years ago I wrote about a baked oatmeal recipe my husband’s grandmother had shared with me. That year it made an excellent holiday breakfast for our family. That recipe has made its way to our table many times and in many different ways since then. After a lot of trial and error, we now have our December recipe of the month for this year – Baked Oatmeal Muffins.

This recipe is just as delicious, nutritious, and satisfying as the original. However, we made a few changes. First, the oatmeal mixture is baked in muffin tins. This makes leftovers easy to freeze and re-heat for busy mornings. Next, we saved back some of the cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top of the baked oatmeal muffins. This ensures that the delicious cinnamon sugar flavor hits your taste buds first. Last, we cut back on the amount of some ingredients which helps avoid food waste.

You can bake these today and put them in the freezer. When you find yourself in the middle of a busy holiday morning, just pull them out of the freezer, re-heat in the microwave, and serve for a perfect breakfast. Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Holiday Breakfast – Baked Oatmeal

4.1.1I look forward to the traditions associated with holidays because I find comfort in doing the same things each year. Many of our family traditions include food. We work together in the kitchen to create foods we often eat only once each year. When visiting my husband’s grandparents, we were introduced to baked oatmeal and we fell in love. We decided that it needed to become part of our family traditions. Baked oatmeal is a great breakfast any day, but we think it will make a perfect holiday breakfast for us this year and in future years. Here is why I am choosing baked oatmeal this holiday season:

  • It can be put together the night before. All I will have to do in the morning is put it in the oven, so I will not miss out on any family time.
  • Each person can make their bowl of baked oatmeal special with add-ins like sliced bananas, nuts, dried fruit, milk and cinnamon sugar.
  • It is a healthy choice. Baked oatmeal is made with fruit, oats (a whole grain), and non-fat milk.
  • It is filling. The oats fill me up so I am less likely to get hungry for the high fat and sugar snacks that are common during the holidays.
  • I can buy a lot of oats for very little money. Besides using them in this recipe, I can use them in granola, fruit pizza, baked apples, instant oatmeal packets, and oatmeal bars.

I hope that you try baked oatmeal sometime soon and fall in love with it just like we did.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups water
  • 3 cups oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup non-fat milk
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • ½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries)

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add oats and boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and let stand five minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and milk with a fork.
  3. Stir in oatmeal, apples, and dried fruit.
  4. Lightly coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and pour oatmeal mixture into the pan.  Cook immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. To cook, preheat oven to 350°F then bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is set and the top is lightly browned.

Tip:

  • Serve with a variety of toppings including sliced bananas, dried fruit, non-fat milk, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, and cinnamon sugar.
  • This recipe makes a lot, so if you do not have a large crowd to feed, plan on eating this for breakfast or snacks for a couple of days.

-Justine

Fruit Pizza

You have to try this Fruit Pizza!  It really is one of the biggest recipe hits we have created for our Healthy and Homemade Calendar.  It is quick, easy, and uses common ingredients including whole grains (oatmeal).  Plus it tastes and looks fabulous.

Since we introduced this recipe it has turned up at birthday parties, coffee breaks, receptions, kids cooking lessons, and picnics.  Each time the flavor is a little different depending on the fruit and yogurt chosen.  In the winter, there were more mandarin oranges, bananas and apples on the pizzas, now I see peaches, berries, and melon which are plentiful and in season.

Sometimes it is served in wedges; other times the crust is divided into 8 individual cookies so that each person can “decorate” their cookie with the fruit of their choice.  Kids can help make the cookie and they love to decorate with their favorite fruits.

Another idea is to use the shape of the cookie or the fruit colors to tie into the theme of a party.  Last year I made a football shaped cookie for a Super Bowl Party.   Berries could support a patriotic 4th of July fruit pizza.

Healthy Homemade Gift

Are you searching for a healthy gift for a senior, camper, traveler, college student? Consider Crispy Granola, our featured recipe this month. It’s a good snack or breakfast cereal, and makes a great topping for fruit, yogurt, or  ice cream.

Unlike most granolas, this one has no added fat and only about 1 tablespoon of honey per serving. Oatmeal is a whole grain and provides soluble fiber (helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels). The dried cranberries and nuts add fruit and flavor.

I use old fashioned oats when I make this granola, but any oatmeal will work. I often double or triple the recipe and freeze some of it in freezer containers. If you are making gifts, be sure to package granola in a plastic bag or something airtight before you put it inside a holiday tin or box.

Crispy Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • 3 cups uncooked rolled oats
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit.
    *Either old fashioned or quick cooking oats work – both are whole grains.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a large shallow baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Put egg whites in large bowl and use a whisk or fork to mix until frothy. Stir in honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Add oats plus nuts and/or dried fruit, if desired. Stir until oats are coated with egg mixture. Spread oat mixture evenly on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes until golden borwn; stir mixture carefully every 5 or 6 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
  5. Remove pan to wire rack and cool completely until crispy and crunchy. Store in airtight container. Freezes well.

Snack Idea: Crispy granola, Yogurt, Sliced fruit or berries

Cereal Cost Comparison

I usually have ready-to-eat cereal for breakfast. In fact, my family eats a lot of cereal. We not only have it for breakfast but also for between meal snacks, bedtime snacks and when we are really lazy, we eat it for supper. Over the years it has been my most common response to my children’s complaint of “I’m hungry, what’s to eat around here?”

I’ve always considered cereal to be an economical choice, but cereal prices have been going up, so I thought I’d actually check and see what a bowl of cereal costs. I checked prices on whole grain oat cereal. (I usually try to eat whole grain cereal for breakfast—it’s the main way I meet the recommendation to eat some whole grains every day.)

Here’s what I found out:

Name brand toasted

oat cereal (little rings)

$3.12 for 18-ounce box = 18 cups

$.17 per cup

$2.78 for 14-ounce box = 14 cups

$.20 per cup

Generic/store brand toasted oat cereal

$1.58 for 14-ounce box = 14 cups

$.11 per cup

I don’t like spending over $3.00 for a box of cereal, but in this case, the larger 18-ounce box is less expensive per cup, so worth forking out the money. The generic brand is the best deal at 11 cents per cup. Unfortunately, my family only likes the name brand of this particular cereal.  (Yes, I’ve tried putting the off brand in the name brand box—it didn’t work!)

What about oatmeal? It is also a whole grain cereal and a favorite of my 15-year-old son. The larger containers of oatmeal are 42 ounces and they make 31 one-cup servings of cooked oatmeal.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Name brand oatmeal

$2.98 for 31 servings

$.096 per 1 cup cooked

Generic/store brand oatmeal

$2.24 for 31 servings

$.07 per 1 cup cooked

So, cooked oatmeal is about 7–10 cents per 1 cup bowl, an even better deal than the ready to eat cereal.  (Fortunately my family is fine with the off brand oatmeal!)

Lastly, I decided to look at prices of the instant oatmeal that comes in the individual packets:

Name brand oatmeal packets

$2.86 for 10 packets

$.286 per packet

Generic/store brand oatmeal packets

$2.00 for 10 packets

$.20 per packet

Note that the packets only make ½ cup of cooked oatmeal. (Check out our recipe for Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal Packets…kids love to make them and they will save you money.)

Even though prices have gone up, I still think cereal is a good deal. Oatmeal is the most economical choice, so I’m glad my family likes it.

-contributed by Renee Sweers

[Updated April 17, 2009
See also: Don’t be ‘trixed’ in the cereal aisle…]

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