Did you know the package directions for oatmeal (rolled oats) used to include directions for soaking? Eventually these directions were removed as it’s not critical if your goal is to have hot, edible cereal and many consumers are only interested in convenience. Soaked oats give an entirely different character to your morning breakfast and it can be just as fast as instant if you assemble a bowl the night before.
When using rolled oats, I prefer thick cut, always cook with a 2 :1 liquid to oat ratio. So if you want 1 cup of oatmeal for breakfast start the night before: place 1/2 cup of rolled oats + dried fruit (raisins, apples, etc) in the bowl, add 1 cup cold water + any cinnamon or vanilla. In the morning microwave until hot.
When I make oatmeal -almost every day- before I even put the coffee on, I place the oats and fruit in a pot and cover with the appropriate amount of water. About 10 minutes before I want to serve breakfast, I simply turn the burner to medium and stir occasionally until the oatmeal is hot. I often add non-fat dry milk as a way to squeeze in some extra calcium for the kids.
Use your imagination to create different flavors:
- apple & cinnamon
- maple & brown sugar
- cinnamon raisin
- banana nut
- pumpkin pie (add nutmeg & cinnamon)
If you use canned fruit, reduce the amount of water slightly, if it’s still too watery add a few more oats and they’ll quickly soak up the extra liquid.
Consider substituting apple cider for half or all of the water.
If you want a truly decadent experience, add a splash of half and half or cream to the oats just before serving.