Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baked Applesauce Oatmeal

This cold snap is killing me, you know? I know I used to live in Salt Lake City, and used to walk to school in snow up to my knees every day and loved it, but I'm not that person anymore. I've adapted to Georgia winters, which last two weeks and never drops below 20. So the current cold snap is just murder, you know?

I've been coping by wearing layers, cuddling with my couch blankies (Every one keeps a set of throws in the living room for things like this, right?), and eating lots of hot, filling soups, stews and casseroles. But for those cold, cold mornings when I really need something hot? I turn to oatmeal.

I can't stand microwaved, instant oats. It tastes like overly sweet mush to me. But making a pot of oats every morning? That takes valuable time. Time I can better spend hitting the snooze bar and stealing blankets from my husband. So I make a big casserole dish of baked oats Sunday night, and scoop out a portion to take to work with me. a minute in the microwave, and I have something to fortify me against the day.

I've played around with several recipes for baked oats since I started doing this. This is the one I like best. Some recipes call for the addition of nuts or dried fruit as it as it cooks. I leave those out, preferring to add them after it's heated to preserve their texture. Many recipes add baking powder, I guess because this is supposed to be like a bar cookie? But I find it never quite cooks in, leaving me with a nasty bite of bitter, baking soda goodness lurking somewhere in my bowl. Yuck. I leave it out.

Adapted from Cooking

2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup chunky or regular applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal and salt. Mix in milk, eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir and pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 325°F for 45 minutes. I top with pecans and raisins.

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