Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

My Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook has a whole chapter titled "From the Porridge Pot."  Back in February, I thought it'd be fun to try out one of the recipes for oatmeal.  Although this is a breakfast item, so different from the other things I review (in that, you won't get a week's worth of dinners out of it), but I actually loved this so much that I was thinking about making it again this week!  I wanted to make this oatmeal, the "Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal," because I had an apple that needed to be used.  The recipe actually says that you can use either an apple or a pear so I actually ended up making this twice because my roommate had a pear that needed to be used.  (All of the pictures in this post, however, are from my initial attempt.)

I used one side of the dual crock pot to make this one because it says that you should use a "small round" slow cooker.  Plus, the recipe says that it only serves 2, so I figured that it would cook better in the smaller pot.  The recipe is pretty easy.  It calls for "old-fashioned rolled oats" or "think-cut rolled oats."  Instead, I found "oven toasted, old fashioned oats" in the grocery store.  You add some brown sugar and cinnamon.  The recipe calls for a "pinch of salt" and then some unsalted butter, but when do I ever buy unsalted butter?  Instead, I just ignored the salt and used salted butter.

Finally, you add the chopped apple or pear.  For the liquid, the recipe says that you should use either water or a combination of water and apple juice.  I'm not sure what the difference in taste with the apple juice-water combo would be because I just used water.  But, what do you expect?  I'm a grad student.  And I know that apple juice is pretty cheap, but what am I going to then do with a whole thing of apple juice?  Ultimately, I decided to save money and just use water.

Now, all of this preparation was done at night before I went to bed and I woke up in the morning to piping hot oatmeal!  (It cooks on low for 7 to 9 hours, so... overnight.)  Now, when I told my fiance that I wanted to make this again, he noted that it might actually be quicker to just make oatmeal in the morning.  And sure, the oats only take about 5 minutes to cook on the stove.  But, it wouldn't be the same.  Sure, you can add brown sugar and cinnamon to your oatmeal after its cooked, but you won't get the fresh fruit blended in in the same way as you do with the crock pot (though the recipe does give you the option to add the fruit in the last 30 minutes of cooking if you prefer it to be fresher and less blended... I liked it blended).

Now, the recipe says that it serves two, but I honestly don't know what kind of appetite they think these two people have in the morning.  I got four servings out of it and although I was initially worried about leftovers (which is why I shared it with my roommate each time), I just zapped them in the microwave and added some skim milk and it was quick and tasty.  A fresher take on instant oatmeal perhaps?  And it's pretty decent for a breakfast.  The serving size I used is about 155 calories, whether you use the pear or the apple.  With half a cup of skim milk, that puts it around 200 calories... a decent start to the morning.  And since the oatmeal was mushy and sticks together, adding the skim milk really made it a bit nicer in my mind.  In terms of cost, I can't image that this would cost much more than $1.00 per serving for anyone.  Most of the items, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, are things that you have around the house already (at least I did, though since we just moved, I will have to go out and get brown sugar to make it again).  I just bought the oats, which were only around $3.00 and apples are especially cheap, normally around $1.99/lb or less for the various kinds at my grocery store.

Overall: yummy and cheap.  I'd recommend oatmeal in the crock pot to anyone, especially seeing as I'm planning to make this one again.

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