You know what the easiest part of my day is? Mornings. Especially school mornings. Things always go super smooth because my kids always go to bed on time the night before and fall asleep promptly, not keeping each other up or coming out to ask for drinks and Band-Aids (for, you know, all those bedtime injuries) and bathroom trips. I have a dog that lets herself out of the house to take care of business and she definitely does not go bark incessantly at her nemeses, the ugly terrier and the stump-tailed beagle next door. And my baby? He’s always super considerate about feedings and diaper changes and he’s great about waiting until everyone is squared away and awake and happy and dressed and fed so I can take care of his needs.
Yeah, that’s not my life. If it’s your life, I think you and I would lack a fundamental understanding of each other. I need all the help I can get in the mornings.
I found this recipe a few months ago on The Yummy Life and it has quickly become my favorite go-to breakfast for busy (and not-so-busy mornings). I have all sorts of variations in the works, so keep your eyes out for other fun overnight oatmeals over the next few months.
You’ll need steel cut oats, milk (I used whole; I’ve been reading some interesting research on implementing whole milk in a healthy diet), water, brown sugar, cinnamon, 2 baking apples (Fujis are sweet, Granny Smiths are tart), and salted butter. You can also add some ground flax seeds for extra nutrition.
Okay, here’s the thing with slow-cooker oatmeal–the first time you make this, I really, really, reeeeeally recommend making this for dinner on a day when you’re going to be around to keep an eye on things. Because every slow cooker cooks a little differently, there’s a possibility it won’t be done after seven hours or, more likely, there’s a possibility it could overcook. And then you’ll be sad and breakfastless. So it is really not the worst idea in the world to figure out how this recipe works in your slow cooker when you can control the situation instead of while you’re sleeping.
They’re the whole oats, just cut up. This means they’re much heartier, healthier, and more filling than rolled oats. It also means that cooking rolled oats like this will likely end in mushy goopiness.
So spray the slow cooker (well, the removable crock part, not the whole slow cooker–I know 99.9% of you are smart enough to realize that, but that darn .1% ruins it for everyone) with non-stick cooking spray and place the oats, brown sugar, ground flax, and cinnamon in a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. You can go larger–a slow cooker up to 6 1/2 quart is fine–but don’t use the biggest, baddest slow cookers out there.
Keep in mind that this is oatmeal and it’s probably not going to be seasoned EXACTLY how everyone at your breakfast table will want it straight out of the pot. It might not be sweet enough or cinamonny enough or creamy enough, so serve with additional milk, brown sugar, chopped walnuts or pecans (if you want ’em), and a sprinkling of cinnamon or apple pie spice. I also sprinkle mine with a little salt rather than cooking it with the salt–I’ve found I use less and notice it more (in a good way) when it’s sprinkled on top of the oatmeal.
Overnight Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal
Recipe very lightly adapted by Our Best Bites from The Yummy Life
2 baking apples like Fuji (sweet) or Granny Smith (tart)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used whole)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
Kosher or coarse salt for sprinkling when serving
Toppings: Brown sugar, cinnamon or apple pie spice, raisins, chopped pecans or walnuts, milk, etc.
Spray a 3 1/2-quart or larger slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all the ingredients except for the salt and additional toppings. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Serve with additional toppings. Serves 5-7.