Make-ahead Oatmeal

Recently on various blogs, I have seen a multitude of make-ahead/overnight or baked oatmeal recipes for breakfast.  When I was a kid, my mother made oatmeal for breakfast several times a week.  If I were to mention one of these make-ahead oatmeal recipes to her today, I can just hear her asking, “Why would you want to prepare oatmeal ahead of time when you can make it in five minutes?”  Hard to question her logic!

I have to admit that I chuckled when I saw one recipe appear on a couple of different blogs.  In addition to the oats, the ingredients list calls for an egg, baking powder, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and fruit.  Really?  Sounds to me like someone’s having fruit cobbler for breakfast!  Boy, oh boy, I would have loved to have talked my mother into making that for us for breakfast.  Our oatmeal was cooked in a pan with water and dished out into our bowls.  There was sugar and milk on the table, and that was the extent of our oatmeal toppings.  (In full disclosure, I will admit to having put more sugar on my plain unvarnished oatmeal than was good for me.)

Despite my poking fun at preparing oatmeal ahead of time, I just happen to have a make-ahead oatmeal recipe that was given to me about 30 years ago by a friend at work.  I was single at the time, and it actually was handy to make a batch of this oatmeal and have it readily available in the refrigerator.  All I had to do was put some in a bowl and microwave it, and off to work I’d go.  Depending on how hungry I was, it would last for 6 to 8 servings.  Now that was all well and good when I was single—but when you have 5 or 6 people eating breakfast, it’s gone in one sitting.  So, my make-ahead oatmeal became my make-it-and-eat-it-all-now oatmeal.

Now that Roger and I are empty nesters in between school breaks and I can once again prepare this oatmeal in advance, have some when I make it, and still have some left over that will have been made ahead of time to have for the second or third time (are you still with me?), I am once again enjoying the full benefits of this tasty oatmeal recipe.   Roger and I had some this morning with wild Maine blueberries and chopped walnuts, and it was very yummy.  Tempting as fruit cobbler for breakfast sounds, I think I’ll save that for later in the day.

Make-ahead Oatmeal

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  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, optional
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. nutmeg


Bring water to a boil.  Stir in oats and cook for approximately one minute or until desired consistency.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Let cool and store in container in refrigerator.

Take out as needed and microwave to warm.  Add fresh fruit, nuts, and/or raisins as desired.  I also sometimes add a tablespoon of ground flax seed for a boost in omega 3 and fiber.

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day!

Source:   An old recipe from a friend I worked with 30 years ago.

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