Friday, September 18, 2009

Apple-Cherry Oatmeal

I don’t like oatmeal; I find it somewhat bland and thin. But steel-cut oats are in a different category: they have a complex nutty flavour plus some serious chewiness. And they fill you up like no other. In the GTA, steel-cut oats are widely available under the Bob’s Red Mill and PC Blue Menu brands.

This is my favorite oatmeal combo; I make it in bulk and eat it three to four times a week. For my WW friends: one serving is 3 Points excluding syrup, nuts, and milk.

1 slightly heaped cup steel-cut oats (180 g)
3 cups cold water
1 cinnamon stick
pinch salt
½ cup dried cherries*, loosely packed (85 g)
2 golden delicious apples, cored and chopped
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (110 g or one snack cup)
maple or pancake syrup
optional: toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped
milk or cream

Place oats, water, cinnamon, and salt in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and bring to a boil on high heat, then simmer on low for 20 minutes. Uncover oatmeal and cook for a couple more minutes, until excess water has boiled off and desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place cherries in 1-qt microwave-safe bowl with just enough water to cover. Microwave on high for a couple minutes, until water is absorbed and cherries have softened. Place apples on top and cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes until apples are tender-crisp, stirring halfway through.

Discard cinnamon stick. Stir in cherries, apples, and applesauce. Divide into five servings. Top with syrup and nuts to taste, and serve with milk or cream.

Note: Oatmeal can be frozen in individual serving containers (without milk) and then reheated in the microwave. I actually prefer frozen oatmeal as it further softens the oats and blends the flavours.

*1 cup canned cherries can be substituted for the dried, but I find they don’t carry the same flavour punch. They do not have to be cooked before adding them to the oatmeal.

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