Eat Well, Spend Less: Back to School Breakfast (Recipe: Baked Oatmeal)

My lazy summer mornings are about to come to an end. Oh, how I have enjoyed not having to hustle my kindergartner out the door with a lunch and a school bag during these summer months.

I’ve been pregnant for the entire summer and mornings have not been my forte. The kids come and jump on me and we snuggle and read in bed until their tummies start rumbling. Yes, summer has been sweet.

However, as I slowly move out of the first trimester (can I get a high five?!) I feel my strength returning, just in time for fall, school, and those action-packed school-day mornings.

Energetic or not, pregnant or not, I need to have a morning plan. In this post I’ll show you my strategy for providing nourishing breakfasts this fall and throughout the winter. It’s simple, organized, and cost effective, perfect for the next installment of our Eat Well, Spend Less series.

Back-to-School Breakfasts

Here’s the honest truth: we eat a hot breakfast every day. Cold cereal only shows up on the occasional camping trip or when Mama is out of town (as I have frequently been this year).We eat hot cereal because we genuinely prefer it over cold. Hot cereal is also far more nourishing, keeps us feeling fuller longer, and is much more affordable!

My boys eat a large breakfast, usually a bowl of oatmeal, polenta with maple syrup, or Red River/ 7-Grain cereal. A jar collection on the table holds our favorite toppings:

  • wheat germ
  • ground flax
  • coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • dried cranberries
  • raisins
  • chopped nuts
  • honey
  • granola

One or twice a week, I’ll alternate hot cereal with one of the following quick meals:

Granola & Yogurt. Sometime the yogurt is homemade and sometimes it isn’t, but the granola is always from scratch. We love our chai-spiced granola, but have also been playing around with Mark Bittman’s Crunchy Granola.

Muffins, made ahead and frozen. Why use any recipe other than my Best Ever Muffins, with their many variations? As these muffins freeze well, I’ll often make a batch on the weekend and freeze eight or so for a weekday morning.

Pancakes, made from my mix. If I’m lucky I’ll have a jar of our favorite Buckwheat Pancake Mix in the freezer. It’s perfect for turning out pancakes on Friday morning for a special someone.

Quick Egg Sandwich, with ham and cheese. Also known as a ‘non-supper’, this fast eggy sandwich keeps you going until lunch. Add bacon strips and a sliced tomato to round out the breakfast.

Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits, with or without cottage cheese. Cheri’s got a healthy breakfast wrapped up with this idea for breakfast parfaits. Add in any fruit you like, as well as chopped nuts and seeds.

Smoothies, usually with a handful or two of quick oats blended in for fiber. They’re a fast way to get dairy, fruit and fiber in the morning.

Baked Oatmeal (recipe below), a favorite of my children, this hearty breakfast can be mixed up the evening before and baked off fresh and warm in the morning. Drizzle with cream and top with fresh fruit for the perfect start to the day.


Overnight Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 4-6
Adding a grated apple to the mix provided both sweetness and tang - and my boys can't pick out the lumps of fruit! Quebec apples are plentiful and fresh all winter long and are my fruit of choice for breakfast.

Applesauce cuts down on the fat in the recipe and also adds more flavor. If maple syrup is scarce, substitute honey or agave syrup in its place.
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 small apple, grated
  • 1 1/4 cups organic milk
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
Instructions
  1. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except the oats.
  3. Fold in oats and combine well.
  4. Transfer mixture into the buttered baking dish and spread evenly around. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on top of the oat mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. In the morning, preheat oven to 375°F (I have Danny do this when he gets up to shower). Unwrap oatmeal and place in oven. Bake for about 30 minutes until oatmeal is set and browned on top.
  6. Serve hot with more milk or cream.

 

Be sure to check out the other participating bloggers in our Eat Well, Spend Less series. For the duration of the week they will be adding their take on the back to school season.

How do you start your school mornings?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Tried recipe except for organic milk. It was a nice change and may make it into the breakfast rotation. We don’t use organic milk because it has about a 40% production lag over traditional milk. That means less food available and more kids going hungry. There is absolutely no proof of organic being healthier and there is plenty of proof that childhood hunger is prevalent in our country.

  2. I know this is an old post 🙂 But it sounds so yummy! I just wondered if you have any ideas for substituting something else for the eggs, as I am allergic to eggs. Do you think the egg replacer powder that is sold for use in baking would work? Or some flax meal mixed with water? Or … ???
    Thanks if you have any ideas 🙂

    • I think the flax meal would work. And I think it would be good without the egg, too. It will still taste the same, but won’t firm up as much.

  3. What is the reasoning for pressing plastic wrap down on the surface of the oatmeal overnight? Does it dry out? I don’t like to use plastic in my cooking.

  4. this sounds great! do you think it would do good started in the crock pot the night before?

  5. I made this oatmeal for my family for breakfast this morning. It was delicious! I served it in steamed milk and drizzled maple syrup over the top. One kid added raisins and the other one added berries.

  6. What great ideas from your blog and your comment section. My husband and I are empty-nesters now and always looking for healthy dishes I can make and use some right away and freeze the rest.

    We are “winter people” in that we love winter more than any other time of year. We both feel more energetic than when we are bogged down with the heat of summer. Also, breakfasts are much more appealing in the winter, at least that’s how it is for us.

    I have plenty of recipes for baked oatmeal (all of them good, BTW!) but I really have to comment on how much I enjoyed looking around here at your blog. I would skip the agave (nasty stuff) but a lot of your other input is useful to me.

    Thanks for plugging away at this monstrous nutritional train we all seem to be on right now. I follow a lot of the ideas from WAPF and try to soak all grains and seeds overnight, but I can still utilize a lot of your ideas. Great stuff.

    Hope you visit my forum/web site (not a blog – imagine that – but an actual forum with collated comments). I know . . . but I’m old so you must forgive me! I prefer a forum any day of the week. Much easier to follow. There are multiple topics there, not just food, and even the food is not all “healthy”, nutrient-dense food. Some of it is traditional food recipes from my Swedish and teensy tiny bit of German background. Lots of subjects covered! All of you are welcome any time. I love to discuss foods, cookbooks, preparation techniques, etc.

  7. How long would this recipe keep in the fridge after it’s cooked? For a family of two there will be leftovers.

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