Saturday, November 14, 2009

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats - Crock Pot Method

My friend, LaDonna, has asked me to post my recipe for overnight steel-cut oats cooked in the crock pot.  It really couldn't be easier, and having breakfast ready and waiting for me when I get up in the morning just makes my day.

If you've made steel-cut oats on the stovetop, you know that it takes awhile, around 25 minutes.  That's because these oats have not been processed and broken down into flakes so that they'll cook faster.  On the plus side their nutritional content has not been processed out so they are much healthier for your body.  And with this crock-pot method they are as easy as instant oatmeal!

All you need is a crock-pot and a container that will fit easily into it:

I use this overly-large mug; it's really meant for soups more than coffee, and it works perfectly for a single serving of steel-cut oats.

For the recipe, just remember the proportion of water to steel-cut oats, which is 4 to 1.  So for a single serving, place 1 cup water and 1/4 cup steel-cut oats into your inner container.  Add a dash of salt and stir gently.  If you like, add raisins or other dried up fruit (I like dried apricots or cranberries); they will be plump and tender by morning.

Now pour water into the crock-pot until the level is the same as the level of the water in your inner container.

Set the crock-pot on low (don't forget to plug it in), and go to bed!


Ready to eat!

In the morning, your steel-cut oats will be cooked perfectly and need only a stir and whatever additions (dried fruit, raisins, nuts, coconut) or toppings (milk, brown sugar, honey, etc.) you prefer.

*Be careful when removing the inner container - it will be hot!  Use pot holders or a dishtowel, not your bare hands!

I have also made steel-cut oats with milk or soy milk instead of water - both taste great. I'm especially fond of using vanilla-flavored soy milk - yum!

For more servings you can use a larger crock pot like this one:

Two bowls sit nicely side by side:

Or use a single, large bowl.  Make sure there is space around whatever container you use; you'll need to be able to get your hands (using pot holders) around it to lift it out.  And if you are worried you will forget to stir, be sure to get someone to supervise you:

To make a family-size amount simply put the inner container aside and place 4 cups water and 1 cup steel-cut oats (remember, 4 to 1!) directly into an 8-qt crock-pot (the smaller sized one).  Add a teaspoon or so of salt (depending on how much you like salt - I tend to go very easy on it) and whatever additions you want.  Turn the crock-pot on low and let cook overnight.  This makes 4 good sized servings.  Leftovers re-warm nicely in the microwave.

One last thing I've discovered: I can buy steel-cut oats in a simple plastic bag at Pedrotti's Produce in Davis, CA., for perhaps a third of the price of my local supermarket.  So check your local produce stands, especially those that are open year-round and stock dried beans, fruits, grains, etc., or perhaps you can find them at a good price in the bulk barrels at the larger supermarkets.


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