The poster child for a healthy breakfast? Gotta be a bowl of oatmeal.
Research has shown that the soluble fiber in oatmeal eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease: a 1 1/2-cup serving of cooked whole-grain oats provides 3 grams of soluble fiber.
Of course, I don’t know any real-life kids who care about all that: All they want to know is, how are you going to make my oatmeal taste good?
Meanwhile, bleary-eyed, convenience-minded moms and dads reach for the instant oatmeal made from oats that have been precooked and dried before being rolled. The only downside is that instant versions are watery and usually revved up with salt, sugar and other flavorings.
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The Star’s Warm Baked Autumn Oatmeal made with old-fashioned rolled oats takes a bit more time to cook but the texture is firmer and the flavor rich and nutty without added salt.
Milk adds calcium and eggs add protein to the dish, important building blocks of any morning meal. Skip the sugar. Dried fruit gives a bit of sweetness along with vitamins and minerals.
Add a few judicious high-flavor flourishes, such as a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of nuts, and you’re in control of any added fat and calories.
Warm Baked Autumn Oatmeal
Makes 6 servings
1 3/4 cup water
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup 1 percent milk
1 (4-ounce) carton egg substitute
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried fruit bits
Nonfat vanilla-flavored yogurt, optional
Chopped, toasted pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8- by 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray coating; set aside.
Place water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in oats and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg substitute; set aside.
Add brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to oats; stir well. Blend in milk mixture and dried fruit bits. Pour into prepared dish.
Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes or until center is just set. Allow to cool 15 to 25 minutes before serving. Spoon into individual serving dishes. If desired, dollop each with about a tablespoon of nonfat vanilla yogurt, then sprinkle with chopped, toasted pecans.
Per serving, without optional yogurt or pecans: 105 calories (10 percent from fat), 1 gram total fat (trace saturated fat), 1 milligram cholesterol, 19 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 218 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Per serving, with nonfat vanilla yogurt (1 tablespoon per serving), and pecans (1 1/2 teaspoons per serving): 142 calories (23 percent from fat), 4 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 227 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.