3-Minute Breakfast for Kids: Do-It-Yourself Microwave Oatmeal (Kids Cook Monday)
|November 5, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Breakfast, Recipes|
For whatever weird reason, my kids go wild over packets of instant oatmeal (which they refer to as “Daddy oatmeal” as he is the one who buys it!). But I’m not too wild about the artificial colors and flavors and corn syrup sweeteners that go into most brands. So I was really excited when I found this recipe for do-it-yourself microwave oatmeal on Mom’s Kitchen Handbook: Raising a Fresh-food Kid in a French-fried World.
If you’re not familiar with Mom’s Kitchen Handbook, you’re missing out. It’s filled with healthy and inventive recipes developed by food writer and registered dietitian Katie Morford, R.D., with whom I worked years ago as an editor at Shape magazine. I think her blog has perhaps the best tagline ever! As a mother of three, Katie truly understands the kinds of foods that kids enjoy.
At my house, school mornings typically involve a mad-dash scramble to pack lunches, load up backpacks, rouse the kids and and help them get dressed. When I’m running late (which happens frequently), making a from-scratch batch of oatmeal filled with wholesome ingredients just isn’t in the cards. That’s why I love the idea of having the oats, nuts, raisins and other ingredients pre-measured and ready to go.
This recipe is made with whole rolled oats, which have a lower glycemic index (GI) and take longer to digest than “quick cook” or “instant” oats. “Compared to the boxed version, this one tastes better and is cheaper and greener and may help with kids’ math skills and solve world peace,” Katie says (semi-kidding!) on her blog.
To prepare the packets, I placed all of the ingredients in a bowl and stirred them together. Then, I placed ¼ cup of the mixture in a sandwich bag (yes, I’ve finally found a use for those 100% unbleached paper snack and sandwich bags that I purchased trying to be “green”). I then printed instructions and taped them on. (Alternatively, you can store the oatmeal mixture in an air-tight container and let your child scoop out a portion with a measuring cup, add water or milk, and pop it in the microwave).
I suspected that my 7-year-old might like the idea of making his own “instant” oatmeal. He isn’t a huge fan of hot cereal; but would he be more enthused if it meant cooking it himself? He was! I provided him the packet of oatmeal, a measuring cup, a container of milk, and a bowl. He dumped the oat mixture into the bowl, then measured and added the milk (with my help). Not once did he complain about having oatmeal. Instead, he sat happily at the table and ate every bite.
Remember: When making the oatmeal, be sure to use a deep bowl or cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap; otherwise, the mixture could bubble up and overflow when it hits the boiling point.
Do-it-yourself Microwave Oatmeal
Adapted from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook
Yields: about 7 individual servings
- 2 cups whole rolled (not quick or instant) oats
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins; dried cranberries, blueberries or cherries; or diced dried apples, apricots or peaches
- 1/2 cup sliced, slivered or chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds or pecans)
- 3 tablespooons firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Put the oats, dried fruit, nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Scoop 1/3 cup into a sandwich or Ziploc bag with cooking instructions taped on (or alternately, place the entire mixture in an air-tight container).
To cook a bowl of oatmeal, place the contents of the packet in a deep bowl. (If you stored the oatmeal mixture in an air-tight container, shake the container well then open and scoop 1/3 cup into a deep bowl). Pour 2/3 cup of water or milk (I personally like using milk) into the bowl and stir well. Microwave on high until the liquid is absorbed and the oats are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir. The oatmeal will thicken as it cools.