School Day Large-Flake Oatmeal Method

May 7, 2010

This no-fuss method for cooking old fashioned large flake oats works miracles for a school day breakfast. Ensure creamy, delicious oatmeal even on a busy morning!

I have had so many requests for the promised school-day oatmeal recipe that I am forced to follow through. Oh, the promises I make!

So, in our family, we like to start the day with hot oatmeal. Actually…  It’s me, Mean Mommy, who has decided this. I refuse to buy cold cereal except on special occasions (and even then, my poor kids are forced to get excited about Jordan’s Supreme Muesli.)

Being a chef and all, I can make porridge taste pretty exciting, i.e. Three Bears Porridge. However (being a chef and all) I will only make porridge with quality ingredients: old-fashioned large flake oats or bust. I don’t care if the large-flake oats take longer to cook. Quick oats just taste gross.

This kind of high food standard can be crazy-making when you are also a mom whose children need to get to school before recess. So, over the years, I have devised a “quick & dirty” oatmeal method for weekdays, still using old-fashioned oats.

The School Day Oatmeal Method requires one small, small change in your morning routine. Instead of putting the coffee on first, put it on second, right after the oats… Wait! Come back! It will be OK, I promise. You will still get your coffee on time. Really, really. And everyone will have a great breakfast, too.

So here is our oatmeal technique, made fresh this morning:

Start with 1 cup (250 ml) of large flake old fashioned rolled oats:

Add water...
Add water…

Add anywhere from 3 to 4 -1/2 cups(750 ml to 1125 ml) of water. The amount of water depends on how soft you like your porridge: extra creamy, or more rice-like? (This is a constant battle between me and my worse half, the winner being the one who gets up first and starts the oatmeal. Unfortunately, my desire for soft creamy porridge is rarely stronger than my antipathy to getting out of bed before Mr. Early Bird.)

HINT: Sometimes, I soak the oats in their cooking water in the pot over-night and then bring it all to a boil in the morning. This saves an extra step at the bleariest time of the day and makes the oats cook more quickly, too. However, I don’t do this often because of the on-going Oatmeal Texture Battle (see above) – it’s not fair to Hubby, who really, really doesn’t like how creamy the oats get this way.

Oatmeal Boiling
Bring oats and water to a boil with the lid off and boil for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally

Oatmeal: simmer down

Oatmeal: Let Sit
Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit on the now cooling element.

(Here comes the part about why the oatmeal must be put on first thing.) Turn off the element, put a lid on to cover the oatmeal tightly and let sit, undisturbed, for about 15 to 20 minutes. That is why. The oatmeal can come to a boil while we are making coffee/tea. And then it can sit on the dwindling heat of the element and thicken up while we start on school lunches, or start chopping fruit and nuts for the porridge toppings.

Oatmeal: Open and Stir
Oatmeal: Open and Stir
Fruity Oatmeal
Fruity Oatmeal

Writing this out, I realize this method is not “quick” at all, and hardly “dirty.” What makes this School Day Oatmeal Method different from a lazy weekend method is #1 the timing (putting the oats on before anything else happens) and #2 the non-burning assurance (letting the oats cook in their own heat with the element turned OFF).

So, not quick and dirty, but still worth it.

But then, I really like oatmeal.

But then, I always use really tasty old-fashioned oats and then add fruit and honey and stuff to it. And so it tastes good. And it’s cheap, filling and nutritious. Which you can’t say about damned cold cereal.

Comments (9)

  1. This is a great method! It’s so much less gummy in texture than how I made it before, and works perfectly with my dog-walking schedule before work.

  2. Thanks for posting this recipe. I love oatmeal as well and I am going to try this now. I like the fact that it can sit and “cook” while doing something else and that it will not burn.

  3. I’m so glad i found your site, and this recipe for oatmeal..WOW…you definitely know your oatmeal. I followed your directions about soaking it before hand. I used 4c. water and 1c oatmeal. I let it sit about 2 1/2 hours. Followed the rest of directions and voila! Just the consistency I was hoping for! Thank you for sharing.

  4. When it says “let sit” does that mean that you turn the element off? I can’t see an instruction to do that…or to turn it down…Thanks, I really want to make these

    1. Yes, turn the element off and let sit, covered, in the dwindling heat. I will make that change right now so that it is clear! Thank you for pointing that out.

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