Nov 30, 2011

Oatmeal Slow Cooker Crock Pot Recipe

Guest Writer:  Ruth Morse
New England Oatmeal That Has Nothing to Do With New England

I do like oatmeal, especially in the winter. Not the instant kind where you just add boiling water. No, no, NEVER. I don’t even buy the quick cooking or five minute kind of oatmeal. I want the old fashioned rolled oats like my mom always used. My dad grew up in the state of Maine and I think he, too, grew up on oatmeal. Thus, the New England part of the name of this recipe.

Don’t worry, you won’t find any baked beans in this. Or, sadly, no lobster. But it does have cranberries!

I have standards about how my oatmeal should taste, but........

 I’m not a purist about how to get it to the table. Mom, of course, cooked it in a sturdy pan on the stove top. And then spent half an hour every morning scraping and scrubbing the pot. I wanted the same texture and flavor but without the work and/or clean up. Cooking it in the microwave, per the directions on the box, is the fastest, with the least dirty dishes. But it just was not cutting it for flavor or creaminess.

Then I started reading about making a big batch in the slow cooker. There are tons of slow cooker oatmeal recipes. Some of them are almost candy. Some are chewy, more like granola bars. I wanted something like I grew up on, but with a few extras.

I pulled together ideas from a number of online cookbooks or blogs and this is what I came up with. I used a 2 quart sized crock pot. If you don’t have anything that small, you should probably double the recipe.

1 cup of oatmeal
1 cup skim milk
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla***
1 chopped apple [leave the skin on]
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey or the equivalent of artificial sweetener
2 tablespoons ground flax seed**

**Flax seed is totally optional. I like to have some flax seed every day and this is the easiest way to sneak it into food.
***I’d never put vanilla in my oatmeal before. What a difference! It give it so much flavor, I don’t use as much sweetener as I used to!

  • Spray the inside of your slow cooker with baking spray [remember, you should NEVER put food inside a naked crock pot!] and turn on low.
  • Dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker, stir to mix.
  • Put the cover on.
  • Leave the cover on.
  • Don’t take the cover off to get a better look.
  • Here’s where I parted company with a lot of the recipes I read. I only cooked the oatmeal for about 1 ½ hours. Some people claim you can cook this for as long as 9 hours. The benefit of that is you could assemble this, go to bed, and wake up to cooked oatmeal. I think I would wake up to dried up, chewy, crunchy oatmeal. I like mine creamy. So there!
    I love this stuff! Leftovers can be re-warmed in the microwave. And there are always leftovers. I cannot get Jim to try this, silly man. He’d rather make himself some grits in the microwave. I suppose all of you southerners are screaming at him right about now, ruining grits in a microwave. Go ahead---he should be eating good, old, New England style oatmeal.
    So I got the slow cooker recipe pretty well down. But sometimes I just want the convenience of cooking one serving in the microwave [i.e. I was too lazy to make this yesterday and/or I don’t want to wait an hour and a half for breakfast]. Here’s my version of that:
    ½ cup rolled oats
    1 cup water
    Dash salt
    2 teaspoons brown sugar, honey or the equivalent of sweetener
    2 teaspoons of ground flax seed
    A small wad of dried cranberries
    1 teaspoon of vanilla
    Forget the cinnamon and the apple. They don’t work as well in the microwave version. Dump all the above in a large cereal bowl. In my new 900 watt microwave, cook at 90% power for 2 minutes and 27 seconds. Honest. I’ve done research on this. Keep on eye on it, to make sure it does not escape over the side of the bowl! Stir, then cook for about 10 seconds more if it looks like it needs it.
    To be honest, this is not as creamy as the slow cooker version, but it will do in a pinch.
    If I were more mathematical, I would figure out how much cheaper it is to make this oatmeal than to buy those cruddy individual serving things you do in the microwave. But my math skills have gone south. Have any of you seen them? If so, please send them back.

...and one more thing......
uh, I'll get back to you when I remember it.
The Cheap Senior Citizen is a Guest Writer who occasionally shares helpful hints she has learned through her experience.

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