Breakfast. They say it’s the most important meal of the day. True or not, I am definitely not a pleasant person if I skip it.
For years I’ve been all about the make-ahead breakfast that can get us through an entire week. A typical Sunday in our house means that I’m in the kitchen making that week’s batch of egg muffins or an egg based casserole of some sort.
Weekday mornings can be hectic enough without adding in the task of making breakfast, so those staples have become lifesavers. Pop ’em into the microwave a piece at a time, and you’re out the door in a flash!
Of course, now that we have a little one in the house, it’s even more chaotic than it was before. Changing diapers, having play time, packing lunch for school, getting him dressed…. not to mention getting myself ready to get out the door…it’s a lot to get done in a short time frame. And while a piece of egg casserole works great for him some days, he loves oatmeal, so I wanted to figure out a make-ahead solution for it too.
(I also don’t want to spend my precious minutes cleaning the slimy stuff off the walls, floor and him. Coming up with a kid-friendly, toddler-can-feed-himself version was essential)
Enter Baked Oatmeal. I thought I remembered seeing a recipe for something like this somewhere in the past, but wasn’t completely sure where or even exactly what it was. Turns out there are lots of different recipes out there, but after reading through several, a Cooking Light version seemed to be pretty close to what I was looking for.
I’m happy to report that Archer absolutely LOVES this stuff! Of course I’m thrilled because it’s super easy to throw together, and something that even I enjoy eating a piece of every now and then with my coffee.
There are so many flavor options too – you can can add a number of different fruits, nuts, and spices. I just happened to have a can of pumpkin and some cranberries in the pantry, so that’s what I went with. How about applesauce instead of pumpkin? Maybe throw in some chopped apples and pecans? Blueberries and almonds? Bananas, raisins, pineapple, peaches…the list goes on and on.
Give it a shot and let me know what flavor combos you come up with!
Baked Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal
Makes 9 servings*
Adapted from Cooking Light
2 cups uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp pure vanilla
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, vanilla, pumpkin, and egg. Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well. Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes.
Note: We only eat 1 or 2 pieces of the Baked Oatmeal each day, so I keep the rest stored in the casserole dish in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. So far the longest I’ve kept it is 10 days, and it was still great up to the last day.
*If you have a tiny little one that will be eating this, you may be able to get 12 pieces out of it, as that’s how many I portioned when Archer first began eating it at 11 months old. After a month or so, I started cutting into 9 squares, and now he eats a whole square, sometimes even 1.5!