Why is it that every year come January there’s an avalanche of healthy recipes just knocking at our door? Why in the dregs of winter does one feel so compelled to say, “Yes! This is the day I’m going to eat healthier, read more, kick those bad habits to the curb, clean out my closets and be a better person.
I mean, why can’t we all just do it every day, all year?
I’m blaming the weather for making us all cuckoo in the head.
So today, I’m sort of joining the fray and sharing a recipe that’s overall really pretty healthy, if you consider that it’s chock full of whole grains and healthy fat. And it’s packed with fruit if you count almost ready to expire bananas on my countertop mixed with raisins and applesauce. The only devil in the details might be brown sugar and a whizzle of maple syrup.
But since we’ve been working so hard to stay in front of that January health kick avalanche, I’d say a little sweetness should balance us out just right in my book.
One of my favorite, FAVORITE before school breakfasts as a kid was Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal packs. They were so simple to prepare I started making them for myself in ohhh, probably 2nd grade.
This slow cooker baked oatmeal recipe, it is totally just as easy. Just not as instant. But that’s okay, you can clean out your sock drawer or get that extra hour of zzz’s while the slow cooker does all of the work.
Take It Low and Slow
The key to baking oatmeal in the slow cooker is getting enough moisture in the mix so it doesn’t end up tasting like chards of cardboard. I speak from experience, this was a three-timer-tested recipe to crack.
The secret to adding moisture besides the obvious addition of milk is applesauce and bananas. And they come with the perk of adding extra natural sweetness and that’s always a welcome ingredient.
About the Recipe
Be sure to spray the bottom of the slow cooker pan with plenty of cooking spray for easiest extraction, and more importantly, clean up.
I spread half of the applesauce on the bottom of the slow cooker pan, layered the other fixings on top, and then repeated the process.
Similar to a strata, I poured the egg and milk mixture over the whole shooting match, to soak into those little oat nuggets and soften as they slow cooked along.
Reserve some of the larger chunks of nuts and banana for the top of the oatmeal. It’s just prettier that way.
I baked my oatmeal on low for 4 hours but I used my large KitchenAid 6 qt slow cooker so it was a thinner layer and cooked faster since there was more surface area. The result was perfectly done in the middle and a nicely browned edge around the sides. I would advise you check your edges when it gets close to the end of cooking time to be sure they aren’t getting too crispy. Remember, all cookware cooks differently!
If slow cooking isn’t your thing, you could bake it in a 9 X 13 baking dish at 375° F for 30 minutes or until puffed and browned on the edges.
And then what happens?
Drizzle with maple syrup or pour milk over a serving in a bowl and set the eating mode on high.
The texture and flavor of this baked oatmeal is so close to an oatmeal raisin cookie you could almost call this a flourless dessert. Gluten-free readers, take note!
I pre-portioned the remainder of the batch so Smudge can heat hers up in the microwave for her breakfast treats. She gave it a thumbs up and said it was almost as good as my Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked French Toast. But that was a definite almost.
I mean, who blame her?
- 4 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups applesauce
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- maple syrup (optional)
- Stir the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and kosher salt in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in ½ cup of the raisins.
- Spray the bowl of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup of the applesauce evenly on the bottom of the bowl. Layer half of the oat mixture on top of the applesauce. Sprinkle with half of the banana slices and half of the nuts. Dollop and spread the last cup of the applesauce on top and then pour the rest of the oat mixture on top. Top with the remaining banana slices. Sprinkle the ½ cup of raisins and the remaining nuts on top of the bananas.
- Whisk the eggs and milk together and pour evenly over the oatmeal.
- Cover and bake for 4-6 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
- Serve hot with maple syrup and milk over the top if desired.
Thanks for visiting. Make it a great day and cook something good.
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