Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hack for Oatmeal Lovers, Sorry Trader Joe's

One of the habits I have tried to get into is food prepping when I have some free time in the evenings or on weekends. It has made life so much easier having food ready to go in the fridge and freezer. Any time I can I cook up extra chicken breasts, soup, or oatmeal I do and this totally speeds up my lunch packing and dinner prep. A while ago I got into steel cut oats, which I'll admit took some getting used to. I was raised on Quaker Oats quick oats and rarely ate oatmeal that didn't come in a paper pouch, so the consistency and (lack of) flavor was an adjustment. On a trip to Trader Joe's I saw they had steel cut oats in the frozen section in pre-portioned pucks.  Just throw them in the microwave, add in some honey and cinnamon and you've got breakfast. The problem was for 4 pucks (I think it was 4) it was over 4 dollars. I can get steel cut oats at Sprouts for .99 a pound regular price so there was no reason to pay that much for frozen oatmeal. I had a light bulb go off that I could make those myself. A few days later I make a big pot of oatmeal, put the oatmeal in my silicon muffin tins and put them in the freezer. This worked perfectly and I haven't bought oatmeal from Trader Joe's since.
Out of the pot and into the tins
Start by cooking up one cup of oats to 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil, and stir occasionally. It takes between 15-25 minutes depending on the burner setting, let it cool and spoon it in to the muffin tins. This amount fills up 9 muffin spaces. I put the muffin tins into the freezer and freeze until solid. Then I pop them out and put them in a gallon freezer bag. These pucks have around 66 calories a piece and I usually eat two for a big portion of oatmeal. I add in honey and cinnamon most of the time, but sometimes I like to use jam or mixed berries. I add in about a quarter cup of water or almond milk when I'm reheating. Normally it takes around 2.5 to 3 minutes to warm up when I'm doing a double portion but it depends a lot on the microwave you use. I also normally stop the microwave and stir halfway through. Throw these in your lunchbox for breakfast or lunch and you're set. I'm pretty sure this will work with regular muffin tins, but I'll be honest I have only ever made them in my silicon muffin tins so I can't guarantee how easy popping them out will be. These are easy, cheap, and healthy and there are very few foods that fit that bill. If you try this let me know how it goes? How do you eat your steel cut oats?

Frozen pucks, ready to eat

Double portion, ready for the microwave
Breakfast is served

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