I was raised in a geographically mixed family. My dad is from deep south Alabama and my mom is a Midwesterner, Kansas to be exact. Breakfast at our house was probably the main meal that their regional differences showed themselves. My dad loves grits, mom does not. My dad loves to cook up a creamy pot of stone ground grits while mom loves to fry up some potatoes, like hash browns but chunky, not those little stringy kind. Mom also loves cream of wheat. I don’t know any southerners who eat cream of wheat. But it’s delish and I highly recommend it. As are breakfast potatoes. In fact, grits and fried potatoes might be equally adored in my case, GASP!
Anyway, everyone at my house loves breakfast. Its the only meal that we can count on the baby to clean her plate, and then usually another plate! Who doesn’t like cereal, eggs, pancakes, bacon (rare for us), oatmeal, fruit, juice, etc. One of my favorite breakfast foods is steel cut oats.
Steel cut oats are a little healthier than all other oats (even rolled oats). I did some research about them and basically it amounts to this – because they are less processed, they have more surface area which means that it takes your body longer to break them down and therefore causes less spike in your blood sugar levels. They are hearty and keep you fueled for longer. Plus, you control the flavoring i.e. the amount of sugar and other seasonings added. You can’t find “instant” steel cut oats anywhere though. Trader Joe’s has some frozen ones that you microwave, this is the closest to instant that I have found. They also have quick cooking steel cut that claim 5 minute cook time, but it’s much closer to 15. The best oats are the slow cooking kind that take about an hour to cook on the stove or overnight in the crock pot. In my mind, these are the only kind worth making because they are crazy good.
My favorite way to cook them is in a crock-pot overnight. They come out so creamy and delicious. It’s perfect for those chilly mornings too. They are a great option for long days at work when you aren’t sure what time lunch will be.
This recipe is so easy. Everyone in my house likes it and we can normally get two breakfasts out of it.
Creamy Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats
- 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups milk of your choice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Cinnamon, nuts, dried fruit or any other toppings of your choice.
- 1 tbsp butter
- Rub butter all over the inside of your crock pot.
- Add oats, water and milk. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Add everything else right before serving.
*I like to put nuts in the food processor so they aren’t big and chunky and chop up some dried fruit for topping. My kids love dried apricots, pineapple and raisins.
* My crock pot is small for my family (even when there were just 4 of us). If you have a larger crock pot, I recommend bumping it up to 2 cups oats and 8 cups liquid. To reheat the next morning you can just add a little milk or water and pop them in the microwave.
*I think these type of oats are gaining popularity and are easy to find at any grocery store. A lot of times they are in the dried bins sections at stores like Earthfare and Wholefoods.