Thursday, February 24, 2011

Court's Favorite Things: Steel Cut Oats

Today's post is inspired by an editorial I read in the New York Times this morning. Apparently McDonalds has decided to offer a healthier breakfast item on its menu: Oatmeal. Great, right?

Not so fast.

According to the article, a serving of their oatmeal (in addition to being full of processed, difficult-to-pronounce ingredients) "contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and 10 fewer calories than a McDonalds cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin."

Damn! I'd rather have the cheeseburger. (Just kidding. Mostly...)

Anyway, I thought I'd take a page out of McDonalds' book and share one of my favorite ways to make a yummy breakfast. Except mine is nutritious, fast, convenient, and free of processed garbage: Steel cut oatmeal.

Steel cut oats are the same nutritionally as regular rolled oats, but they taste a bit heartier and chewier. I started eating them last year when I was training for triathlons. I wanted to fuel my body with something hearty and filling that would stabilize my blood sugar and also give me energy for my morning workouts. Cooking steel cut oats on the stove, however, takes forever. Or at least 30 minutes. Who has time for that in the morning?

Enter the Crockpot. It is one of my most favorite inventions ever, especially since I discovered that they aren't just for pot roast. In the evenings, before I go to bed, I put 1 part steel cut oats to 4 parts water, hit the "start" button, and voilĂ —I wake up to a hot, healthy breakfast that's already cooked.

Here's my official, uh, "recipe":

1 c steel cut oats
4 c water (or soymilk, if you want it creamier)

1. Put oats and water in the Crockpot
2. Put Crockpot on the 8-hour setting
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake up in the morning feeling gleeful because someone (you) made breakfast for you, and it's ready to go
5. "Garnish" oatmeal with yummies: e.g., bananas, cranberries, raisins, honey, brown get the idea.

The quantities I listed here will make about 4 cups of cooked oatmeal. Needless to say, I don't eat this in one sitting. It stores very well in sealed container and lasts for the 3 following days it takes me to eat it. It takes just a few minutes to heat up in the morning.

And there you go.


  1. Mmmm, great idea to use a crock pot! I do something similar but on a smaller scale at work: in a two-cup glass measure, I put 1.5 cups of boiling water from the coffee maker over .25 cup of the steel-cut oats and maybe some frozen organic berries if I have them. I let that set until I remember about it, then I put it in the microwave to heat it up. I kinda like them al dente.

  2. I love there is a posting about my favorite breakfast food! However, HOW IN THE WORLD CAN MCDONALDS SCREW UP OATMEAL?! When I don't set up my crock pot ahead of time, I use my tried and true method - 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1 cup of water and 1 minute in the microwave (1:1:1). Comes out perfect every time, portion control and would be faster than sitting in the drive thru! Good job CIV - looks fantastic!

  3. My favorite mix-ins for steel-cut oats are applesauce, raisins, cinnamon and mace.

  4. i just had sttel cut oats with the 5some, court! jean, the healthy cook among us, brought some--- a major hit! ADD THIS: french vanilla, non fat (chemically loaded) creamer. delicious! PLUS bananas, walnuts, raisins. yum:)