Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts

I didn't think anything could tempt me away from my daily bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, cooked in the microwave. But there's a new breakfast in town and it's still full of healthy oats but gussied up with warm fruit and nuts. It's sweet enough to satisfy someone with a breakfast sweet-tooth but at least for me, not too sweet in the morning. Or you could call it a "flourless oatmeal cake" and serve it for dessert. Your choice, just don't miss out on this easy, nutritious and ever-so-variable delight.

Plus, I explain why I write my recipes in my own style. It's for you, readers, for you.

Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts

On Facebook, there’s a conversation group for cookbook authors who take on arcane topics like the term-of-art “divided use” and whether to use weights or measures in ingredient lists. Dull stuff, this. Or is it?

Over the years, I’ve honed my own style of recipe writing with two features. I like to think my style makes it easier for both new and experienced cooks to follow my recipes.


INGREDIENT LISTS Recipe writers say “divided use” to signal that an ingredient is used more than once in a recipe. Ack! I hate this! Worse though, is when there’s no indication that an ingredient is split. Double ack!

Both techniques are easy to miss and worse, keep cooks referring back and forth trying to figure out how much goes in when.

This is why I split ingredients into their working groups. If an ingredient is used twice, it’s listed twice. If a recipe needs water, or there’s a final seasoning with salt and pepper, they’re listed. Why? It’s for you, readers. I know your time is precious, that you want good results the first time.

FIRST SCAN My objective is to provide an instant understanding of how a recipe comes together, just by looking at the ingredient list. I like to visually demonstrate that a recipe is simpler than a longer list of ingredients might suggest. Experienced cooks may need little more than that list, in fact, recipes from long ago were no more than ingredient lists, no instructions at all.
WHILE COOKING I want to provide a quick visual check to answer questions like, Did I get everything? or What’s next?

WEIGHTS & MEASURES My recipes provide typical American cup measures but also metric weights (in grams) and when it makes sense, weights in U.S. Customary Units (that’s pounds and ounces) for ingredients that come in packages marked with ounces or vegetables, say, which are easily weighed when purchased. Why?

FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Weights in grams helps cooks from outside the U.S. accustomed to ingredients presented in grams.
FOR BAKERS Many bakers rely on the precision of a kitchen scale for baking.
SAVING DISHES But I often show ingredients in grams, even when they’d typically be measured in a measuring cup. Why? To save dishes! For example, for this recipe for Baked Oatmeal, I put a bowl on the scale and add the buttermilk, sweetener, oats and walnuts, all without a measuring cup!

FEEDBACK So how do these techniques work for you, readers? Do you notice? Do they work for you? inspire confidence in the kitchen? Or not?

For a few weeks now, I've made one batch after another of Easy Baked Oatmeal. The first squares are warm for breakfast on the weekend, after that, they're warmed up in the microwave for a quick, healthy and filling breakfast on the run. Plus, the variations seem endless! There's Easy Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries & Bananas (below) which a least one picky-eater grandkid scarfed down warm with a little maple syrup for dessert a couple of Sundays back. Seconds were requested, nobody knew the difference! There's Easy Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin & Pears (I'll post that recipe on A Veggie Venture soon). So have fun with this recipe, turn it upside down and make it all your own.

EASY BAKED OATMEAL with APPLES & WALNUTS

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Serves 9 (easily doubled for a crowd)
    OAT MIXTURE
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (245g) buttermilk or skim milk
  • 1/3 cup (105g) sweetener (I’ve used maple syrup, honey, sorghum, even a sugar-free almond syrup, all work!)
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups (190g) old-fashioned oat meal
  • 1/4 cup (30g) chopped toasted walnuts (don’t skip)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 of a large apple, cored and chopped in small pieces
    TO COMBINE
  • 2 ripe bananas, cut in small chunks
  • Oatmeal Mixture
  • 1/4 of a large apple, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup (30g) chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
    TO SERVE
  • Warm maple syrup or half & half, optional

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. (If you’re doubling the recipe, double the ingredients and use a 9x13 pan.)

OAT MIXTURE In a large bowl, whisk the egg, then whisk in the buttermilk, sweetener, butter and vanilla. Stir in the oatmeal, 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt. Stir in apple.

TO COMBINE Arrange the banana pieces in the bottom of baking dish, cover with Oat Mixture. Arrange apple slices decoratively on top, sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted walnuts and raw sugar.

BAKE Bake uncovered for 35 – 45 minutes until top is golden and oat mixture has set. Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes.

TO SERVE Cut into nine pieces, serve warm, plain with Baked Bacon or drizzle with warm maple syrup or my favorite for temperature contrast, half & half.

LEFTOVERS Cover and refrigerate, this may look like "cake" but it's not. Rewarms beautifully in the microwave in 30 seconds.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving (made with sugar-free syrup, with maple syrup): 233/264 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 34mg Cholesterol; 259/257mg Sodium; 31/39g Carb; 4g Fiber; 12/19g Sugar; 7g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4.5/5.5, PointsPlus 6/7 This recipe has been Alanna-sized with reductions in fat and sugar.
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, though honestly, I missed the recipe in the cookbook until seeing it online thanks to So How’s It Taste?. She halves the recipe for still-fewer servings, except for the egg, she keeps that at 1.
ALANNA's TIPS Is Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts easy enough for a healthy mid-week breakfast? I think so! Just mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately the night before, then quickly assemble in the morning before jumping in the shower. Don’t skip the bananas! They make this soft, sweet base that’s irresistible. The bananas shouldn’t be green but need not be “very ripe” (as for banana bread) or "very very very ripe" black bananas (my favorite). I liked the idea of portable little muffin cups so tried a half batch in muffin tins lined with lightly greased silicone muffin cups. The yield was 8 muffins and they tasted plenty good. But my idea of cute little breakfast cakes didn’t pan out, they just didn’t look that pretty.


Easy Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries & Bananas

Easy Baked Oatmeal with Blueberries & Bananas

This version is close to the original recipe. Substitute 4 ounces (3/4 cup, 115g) fresh or frozen blueberries for the chopped apple. Don’t stir it into the Oat Mixture, however, it’ll stain the oats in a way that’s not pretty, just arrange atop the bananas pieces. Then arrange another 4 ounces of blueberries on top of the Oat Mixture.

I love how fresh blueberries "puff" up in Easy Baked Oatmeal but frozen blueberries are cheaper and easier to find year-round. I bought a four-pound bag of blueberries for a steal at Walmart the other day for $4. At least I thought so. When I got home, the receipt read $11-something. So much for "stealing" blueberries.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (made with sugar-free syrup, with maple syrup): 233/264 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 34mg Cholesterol; 256mg Sodium; 31/39g Carb; 4g Fiber; 12/19g Sugar; 7g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4.5/5.5, PointsPlus 6/7 This recipe has been Alanna-sized with reductions in fat and sugar.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite healthy breakfast recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2011

Cheese Gnocchi Pie Cheery Cherry Banana Bread Spiced Yogurt Chicken Apple Cider Indian Pudding Baked Apples Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter (<< look at all the apple recipes!) Hamburger Soup I Heart Food Blogs Moroccan Onions Homemade Kabocha Squash "Pumpkin" Purée

This Week, Elsewhere

Companion Cornbread from Companion
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
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A Veggie Venture


More Oatmeal Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
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~ more oatmeal recipes ~

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Hi Alanna "International Visitor here!"

I really like your recipe writing style, in particular the use of gram weights [one stick of butter, 2 tablespoons of butter (how do people actually measure that I always wonder?) Then the notorious volume measurements for flour, scooped? packed? fluffed? and yes, using the tare function on the scale sure makes for less dishes. I also think that for people who use your generous nutritional data, it is wise to follow the weight measures to be sure that the recipe is being exactly duplicated ]. And yes to putting the appropriate weight of an ingredient in the list each time it is needed. Also writing the list in the order the ingredients are required and including all of them, water, salt & pepper etc gets big ups from me. You always include number of servings and numerous helpful tips.

Thank you for easy to follow recipes.
 
This time of year I love to make apple crisp, so delicious but sadly not a healthy breakfast. I think this baked oatmeal will be a good trade off. Not a fan of bananas, so will probably try more apples or pears.
Thanks so much for a great idea!
 
It was interesting to read about all the work you put into the writing, completely apart from the cooking. Its not surprising, though, because your output is so good. I certainly endorse -- and applaud -- your listing ingredients more than once, rather than just writing "separated."
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna