I feel like whining. Nooooo, I don’t waaaaaaant school to start tomorrow. I have to wake up so eaaaarrrrrly. Ugggh. And lunnnnnnches. Ok. I’m done. Thanks for listening.
I think making breakfast, lunch and dinner during the school year is hard. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a competition on a Food Network show. Minutes to spare. Limited ingredients. Tough judges. The pressure! The fact is that I cannot wing it when school starts. To feed my family and myself real food as much as possible, I need a plan. I have one child leaving at 6:35 am, another at 7:20 am and my youngest leaves at 8:00 am. To all of you who can pull together breakfast, lunch and dinner without so much as a list, I am in awe of you. I consider myself a culinary quasi-professional and I cannot wake up on a Monday morning and open the fridge and say, “Hmmmm. What should I make today?” It stresses me out just thinking about doing that.
Every Sunday night for 18 years, I have planned my meals for the week and I shop accordingly. And every year I do one new thing to help me get a little better organized because every year my family seems to throw me a new challenge. This year I think I’m going to do a breakfast schedule so I don’t have to think so much about that meal when I’m making my list.
Monday: oatmeal or warm whole grain porridge (muesli in the warmer months)
Tuesday: breakfast quesadilla or burrito
Wednesday: pancakes or waffles (homemade, silly)
Thursday: muffins, quick breads, or French toast or maybe oatmeal again
Friday: frittata or rice bake to use up leftover cooked vegetables from the week
I will always have homemade granola in the pantry, yogurt and nut butters in the fridge, stuff to make smoothies, and fresh fruit on the counter. If one of the kids doesn’t want what I’ve made that day and chooses to make his or her own breakfast,
I’ll believe it when I see it that would be lovely. Here’s a previous post with more breakfast ideas.
I’ve been making this slow cooker oatmeal for the last year and I couldn’t wait for it to be apple season again so I could share it with you. We all love it! Love! It tastes like you stirred apple pie filling into your oats. I like steel cut oats because they are so hearty and they take a little longer for your body to digest than rolled oats, so you get a longer-lasting energy. There’s nothing wrong with making plain and simple oats for breakfast and setting out a bunch of delicious toppings, but this is so easy and it’s ready when you come into the kitchen in the morning. Nothing else you need to do. We love it as is, but if you don’t like raisins, you can leave them out. But I encourage you to try it with the raisins because they plump up so beautifully and add a little extra sweetness to the oats. You can also add more sweetener than I do, but again, try this as is because you can always add extra sweetener later.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, I have a post in the archives for stovetop overnight steel cut oats. You bring everything up to a boil on the stovetop the night before, cover and turn off the heat. I repeat, turn off the heat. In the morning, just warm through and your oats will be perfect in a few minutes. I don’t see why you couldn’t do this with this recipe. And of course, you can do this the traditional way on the stovetop as well. Just dump everything into the pot and cook. No excuses on this one!!
I wish all of you an excellent beginning of school!
- 1 cup steel cut oats (use certified gluten-free oats for GF oatmeal)
- 4 cups water
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, & cut into bite size pieces
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (you can use any sweetener you want)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup raisins
- Place the steel cut oats, water, apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and raisins into a slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 5 hours. Actually, anywhere between 4 and 6 hours is fine. Most slow cookers have an automatic “WARM” setting so after it cooks, it will stay warm until you’re ready for it.
- Stir well to combine before serving. I like to finish my oatmeal with a little homemade almond milk to thin it out a little. Yum!
May I ask what size slow cooker you recommend for this recipe?
I used a 6.5 quart, but you can use any size.
So – I have the Hamilton Beach Set n’ Forget. Two things – could I make this recipe in that slow cooker? It seems like a large slow cooker for this receipe. Also – any problems with it sticking?
I made this recipe at my mom’s which was delicious. She had this mini slow cooker – but the coating on the ban seemed to be like teflon. I still made it and it turned out great, Cooked it on low, it didn’t stick, etc. Is it still bad to use that material (teflon like) even at these lower temps?
Yes, you can make this recipe in the Hamilton. I have never had any problems with the oatmeal sticking. I have a ceramic insert. I am not comfortable using products with Teflon. I agree that it is better to use it at lower temps, but I don’t have information about how much leaches at what temperatures, sorry.
I can’t wait to try this! I have quick cooking steel cut oats (cook in 5-7mins instead of 20), do you think this recipe would work with those? Maybe just the warm setting? Thanks, Pamela!
I have never tried quick-cooking steel cut oats before. I have tried regular steel cut oats on the warm setting in the slow cooker and it didn’t turn out well. Try the quick ones on warm or 2 hours on low and then it should automatically go to the warm setting. Worst case scenario is that you have to cook them a bit more on the stovetop in the morning. Please report back!
It turned out great! I did 2 hours on low, and then it was on warm all night, cooked perfectly and so delicious!! Thank You!
Great! Thanks for reporting back. 🙂
I love this recipe, it so easy. Last night I decided to try it with a frozen banana that I had in the freezer for smoothies & an apple as well. The banana completely dissolves & adds a wonderful ‘banana bread’ aroma to the oats. You have to try it! Great way to use up over ripe bananas as well!
That’s a great idea! We all love bananas here. Thanks, Randy!
I’ve tried a similar recipe before, and my husband LOVED it! Will probably start using it again, what with a little one (2 weeks old) and a preschooler in the household. Will probably double the recipe and dish out extra bowls for the fridge for future mornings.
Will start following your blog and twitter to see what else you have in store.
Oh, how lucky you are that you have little ones! You’re a busy lady, though. Good idea to make a big batch for the week!
I can’t find your recipe for Apple Snacking Cake….so I’m leaving it here!
I was officially named “Mom of the Year” yesterday….exaggeration, they named me “Mom of the Day”. I baked your Apple Snacking Cake for my kids and a few other neighborhood kids we picked up on the walk home…they LOVED it! High-fives and fist pumps all around! Nothing like knocking the socks of a bunch of 3rd and 1st graders!
Haha! Too funny. That’s awesome. I haven’t posted the cake because I am going to teach the recipe all month. Thank you for the great comment! 🙂
I wanted to “second” what the previous poster asked about suggestions for dinner time weekly menus. I love your recipes and cook them quite often, but with the start of school approaching and afterschool/evening activities nearly every day, I’d love to have a game plan for the week! It’s a great idea .I’d love to read any weekly menu suggestions you can provide.
This looks yummy to me, but when I’ve tried it in past it just really runny and mushy. I also ha the issue of it not about turning off. Just staying on warm. I have heard other people say to use one of Christmas light timer thing you can plug in. To turn it on at a certain time, though I haven’t tried it. Any suggestions, why my turned out really runny
Well, it’s always hard to say why something didn’t turn out, but you should try this recipe because I’ve made it at least a dozen times and it has never been runny or mushy. In fact, I like my oatmeal runnier than my family and I have to add a little almond milk to mine. That said, make sure you use steel cut oats and not rolled oats. Rolled oats and instant oats will definitely turn to mush and they use much less water than steel cut. My slow cooker automatically turns to “warm” after it cooks for the programmed time. Someone on my pinterest page commented that you can make this on the warm setting the whole night and it turns out great. I will be trying that tonight and reporting back tomorrow morning!
I tried this last night in the slow cooker overnight on “warm” all night long as you mentioned above — it came out great. it was on from 10p-7a and did great.
You know what’s funny about your comment? The directions state to cook on LOW 4-6 hours in the slow cooker and then let it stay on WARM until breakfast time, not to cook it on WARM the whole time. BUT, someone left me a suggestion on Pinterest that I do what you just did and cook it on the WARM setting the whole time. So coincidentally I actually tried it last night – 10:00 pm to 6:15 am and it turned out great! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I always value everyone’s experiences and suggestions. 🙂
As much as I LOVE summer, this post got me excited about fall! (Well, as fall as one gets in LA…) 🙂 Can’t wait to try this. Also, I really appreciated the sample breakfast menu plan. I don’t have children yet, but I feel like I could definitely benefit from being more organized in the kitchen. Question: have you ever done a post about meal plans for other meals? Or shopping lists? Because I just cook for myself, I struggle with finding recipes that use similar ingredients so I don’t have to eat the same thing all week.
Anyways, sorry for the lengthy post! Just wanted to say thanks again for the great ideas…I really look forward to updates on your blog!
Amy, you should be following me on instagram or twitter! I post my dinners every night there, and sometimes by breakfasts and lunches, too! Perhaps I should do a post about how I come up with my meal ideas if that is helpful to some people. On my to-do list!
oh don’t worry, i already am 🙂
What if it is more then 6 hours – what if you want to put it on before you go to sleep so the house smells beautiful in the morning?
Yes, that’s what you do! I put it all in the slow cooker before I go to bed and then it’s ready in the morning. And the house smells divine! My slow cooker has an automatic “warm” setting, so after it finishes the cook program, it just stays warm until you’re ready for it.
I dontt have the automatic warm setting on mine and not wiling o get up 4am to switch it to warm. Any suggestions?
This oatmeal is good, but not so good that you would wake up at 4:00 am! You could start it in your slow cooker before you go to bed and then (I’m assuming your slow cooker is programmable and it will turn off after 6 hours) reheat it in the morning. Or you can do the overnight stovetop version as I described above and reheat it in the pot you started it in.
Which slow cooker do U recommend? Also do have dinner recipes for the slow cooker for dinner?
I have the All-Clad, which I love. But I gave both of my sisters the Hamilton Beach Set n’ Forget and they love it. Here’s a link to my slow cooker recipes: https://pamelasalzman.com/category/slow-cooker/