Hello to all my Frugalites (both new and advanced), reading this today. I am here to talk to you today about one of my favorite breakfasts. Oatmeal!
Now I know, some of you may be thinking, bleh, no, I hate that stuff, or it’s so bland and boring, or, for those who eat the pre-flavored quick oats, loaded in sugar. Well, I’m going to share some awesome ways you can add oats to your menu, in an affordable, tasty, and healthy way.
In my house growing up, I remember eating a lot of oatmeal. It was often just simple and for breakfast, but for a kid, it was a great start to any day, especially a school day where we had hours to wait until lunch, and we needed something that would keep us full and satisfied until then.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of oats for a minute
Oats are cheap! These ones are a great price, especially for name-brand, however, My local grocery store will often have big bags of off-brand oats for dirt cheap. While there are many different types of oats, the ones I recommend and am basing my article on are “quick” or “instant” oats. These come unflavored, and the only ingredient should be steel-cut, or rolled oats.
Since they’re packed full of fiber, oats make for a very filling breakfast. On my busier days, it’s what I eat in the morning, because I know I won’t be hungry for hours.
They’ve got a variety of nutrients including magnesium, antioxidants, protein and so much more.
The basics of cooking oatmeal
Regular oatmeal can take up to 20 minutes on the stove, however, the quick oats that I mentioned early are much more time-efficient. A big reason as to why I love them so much.
My go-to equation is half a cup of quick oats, half a cup of liquid, stir, and microwave for one minute to a minute and a half. If you don’t use a microwave, boil your liquid then pour it over the oatmeal mix and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Some people add a tiny pinch of salt.
Now, my personal preference is to use milk. I just like the creaminess it provides, but water or plant milk can be used just as well and is still very delicious (or any combo of these.)
And that’s it. What did I tell you? Super easy, right?
Now Lets Spice it Up
There are so many ways you can spice up this delicious breakfast, and I’ll list a few.
Add some fruit. Some great options that work really well are;
- A mashed-up half to a whole banana
- Diced Strawberries
- Peaches (canned, and fresh both work)
- Half an apple diced small with a little cinnamon
Dried fruit works too. I will often add raisins or dried cranberries. You can also add your favorite nuts and seeds for extra protein and nutrients. My two favorite are pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts.
Now, if you’re like me, you probably also have a sweet tooth. With some of these (like the mashed banana and a dash of cinnamon), I’m perfectly content. For others, I find they just need a little more sweetness.
Here are some things I might add to sweeten things up a little;
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. white sugar.
- 2 tsp. honey
Some other things that are a great add-in;
- 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
- a handful of chopped nuts (Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
- dried fruit, such as rasins, cranberries, pineapple, apricot, etc.
- chocolate chips
Make your own packets.
If you buy those little packets to save time, note that you can very easily make your own. Make a whole bunch all at once with different flavors.
To save time, make your own packets in ziplock bags. Simply include your desired amount of oats and dry add-ins, then add liquid at serving time. Use a Sharpie to write the flavor on the baggie and the amount of liquid needed so that others in the household can easily make their own.
It doesn’t stop there.
While oatmeal can make a great breakfast or snack, there are also some other great uses for it in your every day life.
I will often add a 1/4 cup of my quick oats into my smoothies when I make them. You don’t really notice a difference when drinking it, however, I find the extra fiber helps to make the smoothie more filling and keep you fuller longer.
A Binding Agent
Oats also make a great binding agent! Whether you’re making meatloaf, meatballs, burgers, or some other delicious concoction, try switching out your bread crumbs or crushed crackers for some quick oats. It’s what we do in my house hold. I find it makes a great and cheaper substitute.
Instead of a pie, try a crumble. Forget rolling out dough, just mix a little butter, oats and hint of brown sugar and sprinkle the mix over your fruit pie instead.
Switch up your cookies. Try taking your classic or favorite cookie recipe and switch half the flour it calls for into an equal amount of quick oats (i.e. turn 1 cup flour into 1 cup oats). I find that when doing this, it gives you a nicer softer cookie, and again, with the added fiber, makes it that much more satisfying.
Wrapping it Up
I know there are just so many ways to utilize oats on a regular basis, and I’ve just barely touched on the subject. Oats, especially the quick kind are just such a versatile food, it’s hard to go wrong! They work great in breakfast, dinners, snacks, desserts and so much more. The possibilities are truly endless!
I want to hear from you though. How do you use oats? Do you use it in any other recipes than the ones I listed? What’s your go to kind? Is it quick oats like mine?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!