It’s not the latest Pinterest craze… yet.
What this is, is an excellent method for cooking up a big batch of oatmeal just the way you like it, and freezing it into portions without using up all your freezer containers or an entire box of small freezer bags.
My first encounter with a truly big batch of oatmeal was through Hungry Girl. She has a recipe called “Growing Oatmeal Bowl”. The concept is to get twice as much volume from the same amount of rolled oats by doubling the liquid and the cooking time. What a great idea! Then she came up with a multi-serving version of the recipe. I was sold.
At the same time I came across an idea in my Cook’s Illustrated magazine for freezing oatmeal in muffin pans. Genius! Cook the oatmeal, let it cool a bit, scoop it into greased muffin pans and freeze it overnight. Another way to customize these is to press yummy bits into the top of each portion before freezing such as: granola, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, ground flax-seed, chopped apples, blueberries, etc. You’re only limited by your imagination!
The next day, pop ’em out with a butter knife. If they’re really reluctant to pop out, let them sit out for about 10 minutes, then try again. But don’t let them thaw out too much or there’ll be too gooey to transfer to the freezer container.
I always recommend labeling items with the date which is easy to do with a Sharpie directly on a gallon-size freezer bag. If you’re using a big Tupperware-style container, I suggest applying a strip of masking tape and writing on that with the Sharpie.
When you want oatmeal for breakfast, or any time of the day; choose one, two or three portions. Remember, it’s totally fine to have three of these. That’s the actual serving size! Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove top.
You can even pack it for lunch! It’ll thaw out on its own and you can warm it up, or not. It’s better for you than fast food, that’s for sure.
Recipe adapted from Hungry Girl’s Big Batch Growing Oatmeal Bowl.
One serving = 1-2/3 cups.
Makes 4 servings, or more if you have less than three portions at a time.
4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (like Almond Breeze) or any type of milk you like, dairy or other.
4 cups water
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, organic raw agave nectar, or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries; or your favorite chopped dried fruit
(I like cooking the dried fruit along with the oatmeal so it plumps up. It also helps sweeten the whole batch.)
Optional Add-ins: granola, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, ground flax-seed, chopped apples, blueberries, etc.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot, mixing well.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Cook about 25 minutes, until thick and creamy, stirring often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot.
If you like, serve yourself a portion right away.
Pull the pot off the heat and let cool for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Using a large scoop or measuring cup, portion out the oatmeal into greased muffin pans.*
Press any “add-ins” onto the top of oatmeal.
Transfer muffin pans to the freezer and freeze overnight.
Using a butter knife, pop out the oatmeal portions and place in a freezer plastic bag or container.
Keep these in the freezer until you’re ready for some awesome oats!
*How many muffin pans you’ll need depends on the size of them. My metal muffin pans hold about 1/3 cup each. My stoneware muffin pan holds about 1/2 cup each. That’s why I use my stoneware muffin pan for these.
What are some ways you make sure you have a good breakfast on hand every day?