Stovetopless Shortcut Oatmeal

Repetition is my best friend for breakfast. Once I find something that works, I make it over and over and over again, until I get terribly bored and find another dish. Cecilia and I are currently in the midst of a long oatmeal cycle. She seems to really enjoy it, and I appreciate how quickly we can go from popping out of bed to eating breakfast. I love the texture of stovetop rolled oats, but cleaning the pot is such a pain and it takes a good bit of monitoring so that they don’t boil over. After some trial and error, I developed the following method that I think produces almost an identical texture without the extra cleaning or monitoring.

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Shortcut Oatmeal:

1. Pour 1/2 cup of rolled oats into a large (16 oz) bowl.

2. Cover with 1 cup of boiling water, and let sit for 5-7 minutes (or the time it takes for a diaper and clothes change). If you do not have a nifty water heater, do not despair! Use hot tap water and let the oats with for closer to 15 minutes (or the time it takes to shower and put on clothes).

3. Stick the bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes. If you followed the instruction about a large bowl, this should not boil over.

4. Add in fruit, nuts, milk, or sweeteners for flavor.


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Our standard combinations are banana walnut and cinnamon raisin. Recently, I have been experimenting with ways to increase our vegetable consumption throughout the day, and there is no better time to start than the morning! So far, my favorite veg-packed oatmeal is this carrot cake oatmeal from Oh She Glows. I add the carrots and raisins in with the oats in Step 1, and everything cooks up nicely.

Vegan Tamale Pies

We are on a bit of a polenta kick this week, with the chorizo and spinach polenta squares just finished from the fridge and these vegan tamale pies slated for the oven this evening. In this dish, the polenta is part of a lovely, sweet, and crumbly layer of cornbread over a spicy melange of vegetables and beans. I started making a full cornbread recipe since John always requests extra, and each serving has a thick slab atop the beans and vegetables.

I find this recipe perfect for a no-fuss weeknight dinner. The chili layer can be straight from the pantry and freezer into a saucepan for a half hour simmer. Or if I have planned ahead appropriately, I can use cheaper presoaked beans, saute fresh onion and garlic, and maybe even throw in a chopped red bell pepper. Either way, the vegan chili is filling and flavorful. I double the chili and use this sweeter recipe for the cornbread, and it fills a 9 x 13 casserole dish. I follow the baking instructions for the cornbread since everything else is cooked. For a weeknight dinner, this ticks all the boxes: quick to make, easy clean up, all staple ingredients, and leftovers for the next day.

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