Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

Fall comes to subtly to Southern California. Summer lingers as long as possible, however, come September, our days are warm but the mornings and evenings have a nice chill to the air. While we enjoyed quick bowls of cereal and ice cold smoothies for breakfast during the summer, it is time to shift to warm, hearty fall breakfasts.

This baked oatmeal is a perfect breakfast for the upcoming autumn mornings. Hearty oats, fruit, and nuts combine to make a tasty and pretty healthy start to your day. We like to sprinkle brown sugar on our oatmeal, so we topped ours with a brown sugar streusel before baking so you don't need to add anything but some milk or cream if you like. The leftovers do reheat well for an easy breakfast you can make once and eat all week although we definitely liked the leftovers much better with that drizzle of milk or cream.
Of course, once we hit on a good basic recipe, we start planning all the variations we would like to try. Apples and cinnamon came to mind for an "apple pie" oatmeal, perfect since it's almost apple season. We all like peanut butter on our oats and will definitely try swirling in some peanut butter before baking one morning. Although summer is just about over, a version full of fresh peaches and berries would be delicious, and Boy Mimi (one of the coconut lovers) suggested some toasted coconut, chopped fresh mango and a dollop of vanilla yogurt on top for a tropical version. The choices are endless, and this easy breakfast will be making many appearances on our table year round.

Baked Oatmeal

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
¾ to 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
**you can use any combination of fruits that you like, just put some on bottom and some on the top to distribute evenly**

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup flour
generous ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or food processor until it is the texture of coasre meal. Store in the refrigerator so the butter stays cold.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make streusel and put in refrigerator.
2. Grease or spray a 1 and 1/2-quart casserole dish with either butter or cooking spray.
3. In a medium bowl, toss together the oats, half of the nuts, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. In a separate small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, milk, egg, melted butter, and the vanilla.
5. Place the sliced banana pieces in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.
6. Sprinkle about two-thirds of the blueberries over the top of the bananas, then cover the blueberries with the oat mixture.
7. Drizzle the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the milk as evenly as possible.
8.  Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the oats followed by the streusel topping.
9.  Bake the oatmeal for 35-40  min, until the top is golden brown and the oats are almost set, but slightly soft in the center. They will continue to firm up as they cool, and still be creamy. 
Printable recipe

This Chick Cooks
Foodie Friday  at Designs by Gollum