Friday, May 14, 2010

Frozen Oatmeal

I've told you before that I love Trader Joe's frozen steel cut oatmeal. It's $1.99 for two servings which really isn't bad except when you consider that I bought raw steel cut oats for 4 dollars and it will make probably 16 servings. I've read and heard from friends that oatmeal is supposed to increase your milk production so I've been trying to eat it every day. The only problem is that I've been eating the stuff that comes in the little brown packages which is pretty yummy but is loaded with high fructose corn syrup.

After reading the article that I shared about freezing foods, I thought that my first order of business would be to make and freeze oatmeal. I have such a hard time eating breakfast because it seems like as soon as I get something to eat little Miss Makenzie needs something. Oatmeal is perfect because if I don't get to it right away I can reheat it.

Last night after Dirk cleaned up dinner (thanks babe!) and I put Makenzie to sleep I made a pot of steel cut oats and froze them. Here's how I did it:

First of all, I followed this recipe.

2 cups water

2 cups low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 cup steel-cut oats

1 teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)

2 to 4 tablespoons dried fruit, such as raisins, chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries

1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup, agave syrup, honey or brown sugar (more to taste)

Fresh fruit (such as diced apples and pears, optional)

1. Combine the water, milk and salt in a large, heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil. Slowly add the oats, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Stir in the butter, dried fruit and sweetener. Cover, and continue to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent the cereal from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the oats are soft and the mixture is creamy. Serve, with added fruit stirred in if desired, or refrigerate and reheat as desired. Or freeze as follows:

2. Line ice cube trays with plastic wrap. Fill each cube with oatmeal, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen solid, remove the cubes from the ice tray and freeze in a plastic bag. For each portion, thaw three or four cubes in a microwave on the defrost setting. Add additional warm milk if desired.

Yield: Four servings.

Advance preparation: Cooked steel-cut oats will keep for five days in the refrigerator and can be reheated atop the stove or in the microwave.

My Changes: I omit the dried fruit because I didn't have any, but am definitely going to buy some because that's my favorite topping. I also omitted the butter to cut down on fat and cholesterol. I added a little more sweetner to taste, not sure how much (I used honey and brown sugar) and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla. And after the 30 minutes that it cooked covered, I let it cook for 5 minutes uncovered because mine was still a little soupy. It's all about what kind of consistency you like.

After I cooked it I tried my own method for freezing. I lined a muffin/cupcake pan with plastic wrap that I cut into squares. I used a large spoon and spooned the oatmeal into the muffin tin making sure that I didn't get the plastic wrap mixed in with the oatmeal. Then placed it in the freezer overnight.



As you can see it was a little messy


It was a tad difficult to get some of the oatmeal disks out but after I let it set out for 10 minutes it was super easy. I took the plastic off of the oatmeal disks and cooked two of them for breakfast.



Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Then top with your favorite toppings. I didn't have any dried fruit so I added half a banana and cinnamon. It was so yummy!


I put the rest of the frozen disks in a ziploc bag for later use.


Overall, it really wasn't all that time consuming to make because it cooks for longer periods of time where you could be doing something else. I think it was totally worth it and super yummy. Do you have any other oatmeal topping suggestions?

4 comments:

  1. Man, you are ambitious! You do that AND care for Makenzie? Super woman. I was just going to say that Trader Joe's also makes the dry packets of oatmeal, I don't have the box with me, but I'm pretty sure they at least use cane sugar, they also have a super healthy version that isn't as sweet. Maybe for days when you don't have any frozen oatmeal left : )

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  2. Your post inspired me to make some steel cut oats over the weekend for quick weekday breakfasts. Pre-baby I made stove top oats every morning. But now? I'm lucky if I eat breakfast!
    My favorite oatmeal toppings are banana and peanut butter. YUM

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  3. Jonna, I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

    Steph, I've never tried peanut butter. I'll definitely have to try that.

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  4. I have to comment on the frozen oatmeal at Trader Joe's. First, let me say that I hate pre-sweetened food or drinks, but those of you who are not trying this because you think it is oversweet are wrong. I was surprised...this oatmeal is absolutely delicious and you are missing out if you don't give it a try. I hardly notice the sweetness as they added it with a light touch.

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