Friday, June 29, 2012

Tribute to Baked Oats

I'm not sure where baked oats originated.  I've been told that it is an Amish dish, but I was first introducted to it years ago when a co-worker brought some to a morning staff meeting as our "refreshments".  (You can read that as, "a distraction to make a boring meeting more tolerable and improve attendance.")   Not only did this seem like a tasty, healthy dish, but I was intrigued by the fact that a dish with an almost cake-like texture was created without ANY flour. For a finer textured end product you would use a finer cut of oatmeal such as instant or quick oats. The original recipe used a fair amount of oil and sugar, so I played with it a bit and came up with a more healthy combination of ingredients that still tasted good.  Sometimes I make it plain and add fruit on top, but more often I bake fruit right into the dish.  This also changes the texture somewhat depending on the water content of the added fruit.  My favorite is a combination of blueberries and strawberries.  I've also used apples (unpeeled), pears, peaches or a combination depending on what I have on hand.  And I've used fresh, frozen and occasionally canned fruit, although the canned fruit works best when added on top of plain baked oats. One recipe makes four servings and when I was working I appreciated the availability of a quick healthy breakfast on the three mornings after the original baking.

My mother used to say that she cooked "because it came with the job."  And I'm sort of in the same category, but nonetheless, I thought I would share my version of my very favorite breakfast.

Mix together:
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp oil

2 cups of oatmeal. (I've used instant, quick and old fashion.  They all work, although each creates a different texture in the end.) 
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
3/4 cup milk.

Mix well.  Add the fruit of your choice if desired.  Spread in a greased baking pan.  I use a glass 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a regular oven (or 325 degrees for 30 minutes in a convection oven.)

Sometimes I put the fruit on the bottom and spread the oat mixture on top sort of like a cobbler.  This works best with apples and pears.  The berries get a bit runny when placed on the bottom like that.  By my figuring, the calorie count comes in at 300/serving without the fruit.  I would estimate that the fruit would add another 30-50 depending on the fruit of your choice and the amount you add. 


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