I love oatmeal for breakfast, especially as the weather starts to get cooler. But our morning's are manic, and I'm usually not awake enough to get a pot of oatmeal on the stove enough ahead of time for breakfast - I like to stumble out of bed and start feeding kids. So an overnight slow cooker oatmeal is perfect for me. There are tons of recipes out there, with lots of different variations for added ingredients, and they all sound really good. But my kids tend to prefer breakfast things more simple, so I didn't want to risk them not eating it by putting too much stuff in. But use your imagination - take this basic idea and add stuff - different dried fruits, or a fresh grated apple, chopped nuts, coconut. I actually love nuts cooked into oatmeal (and my kids will eat that), but I like to send oatmeal in thermoses for lunch, so I left out the nuts.
All the recipes you read will tell you that you have to do this with steel cut (or Irish) oats. And that is true. Regular rolled oats will just get too mushy. I tried one batch that way, and it was ok fresh out the pot, but gross leftover. And one large key to survival around here is all about making lots extra for leftovers - so something that doesn't keep just doesn't work for me.
- 2 cups steel cut oats
- 2 cups milk
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup good maple syrup
- 1 cup applesauce
I used coconut milk in this one, to make it vegan. I think any kind of milk will work. And I used applesauce which adds a lot of moisture, so I cut the water down a little. If you leave out the applesauce, I would add a bit more water. Real maple syrup and cinnamon for flavoring is one of my favorite combinations.
Mix all together in your slow cooker just before bed time, cook on low for 6-8 hours (depending on how hot your low setting is). Most recipes also recommend you spray your slow cooker insert with oil to keep this from sticking, but mine is actually a non-stick so I didn't bother with that. But if you have a traditional crock insert, I would spray it.
The best part? You will wake up in the morning to the most wonderful smell!