I’ve been playing with my previously posted recipe for Baked Oatmeal and do believe I have made it even better (at least my family states this with enthusiasm!). The secret is to use dried fruit instead of fresh. Dried fruit has concentrated flavor and stands up to the baking and mellows in texture, becoming more like what it was when fresh. Fresh fruit, while still very tasty, looses texture and flavor.
I have also found that molasses is the most complimentary sweetener. You get most of your sweet from the dried fruit. So molasses, with a more complex flavor, does a better job “rounding out” the dish. And I’ve learned to leave out the salt and baking soda…I made it once and forgot to add them…. didn’t miss their presence at all. I also left out the butter as well. A little dab when you eat it or just a tiny bit of cream or yogurt will accomplish just as much with fewer calories.
My favorite dried fruit for this is a combination of peaches and strawberries combined with sliced almonds. I have also added additional liquid since the fruit is dried. Since having any juice in the house is hit and miss with a teenager, I started using little cans of pineapple juice that I had purchased for making BBQ sauce for ribs (a different story). Any juice you like will work.
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup steel cut oats (Irish oats)
2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup slice almonds (or your favorite)
1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (peaches, strawberries, apples, figs, apricots, etc)
2 cups milk
4-6 oz of fruit juice or fruit nectar
1/4-1/3 cup molasses (maple syrup, agave, even apple butter)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl, combine both oats, nuts, cinnamon, and dried fruit. Pour mixture into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish. In the same bowl mix milk, juice, sweetener, egg and vanilla until frothy. Pour over oat mixture and bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm with a splash of cream or yogurt. Enjoy and feel good about eating well!
(Any leftovers warm quickly in the microwave and taste almost as good!)