Ingredient SpotLight

When I was growing up, there was no faster way to see long faces than to announce that breakfast would consist of oatmeal. It was boring, mushy and bland. Fast forward a few decades and I've become a huge fan of the stuff. It's healthy and can be the creative seed of many dishes. Whether it's breakfast or dessert, I am happy to find it at my table.

The soluble and insoluble fiber in oatmeal makes it a great way to keep your heart healthy. In fact, regular consumption of oatmeal has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in adults. So plan a great meal of oatmeal today!

Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients and set to low heat. Cover the slow cooker and let it cook for 8 to 9 hours.

Stir and remove the oatmeal to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way, your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 8 hours

Cocoa Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Stir together the flour, sugar, oats, cocoa, powder and salt in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, milk, melted margarine and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the milk mixture and nuts all at once to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon the batter into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 12 muffins
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes