Delicious Oatmeal is Oh So Good for U

I’m an old fashioned kind of girl when it comes to my breakfast foods. Old fashioned breakfast in my book means oatmeal. Yes, folks I’m talking about using stuff that, for most of us, comes in that large round container with the picture of a smiling Quaker on it.

            Oatmeal, as a food for humans, has been around for centuries.  In fact, oats were one of the earliest cereals cultivated by humans. It was originally used as feed for cattle and it took the ancient Greeks to make the first oatmeal cereal AKA porridge. Health studies show that a diet containing oats can help lower cholesterol. Not only does oatmeal supply soluble fiber to the diet, it also contains Vitamin E, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and protein, all things that are good for us. Oatmeal is often used in recipes breads, muffins, cookies and granola as well as an extender for meatloaf.

            There are lots and lots of different kinds of oat and oat products available to the consumer. Oat groats: Oats that have been cleaned, toasted, hulled, and then cleaned again. They take a rather long time to cook and are fairly chewy. Rolled Oats: Oat groats that have been steamed, pressed with a roller, then dried. They are also called old-fashioned oats. They take about 15 minutes to cook. Quick-cooking oats: Rolled oats have been cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner. They cook in about 5 minutes. Rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal) and quick-cooking oatmeal are generally interchangeable in most recipes. Instant oatmeal: Oatmeal that has been pre-cooked and dried. Instant oatmeal may not be used interchangeably with rolled oats (old-fashioned oatmeal) or quick-cooking oatmeal. Since it has already been cooked and dried, it can turn your baked goods into a gummy mess.

1 pound old-fashioned rolled oats = 5 to 5-3/4 cups

1 cup rolled oats = 1-3/4 cups cooked

1 cup raw rolled oats = 3 ounces

A few weeks ago I wrote a column on Celiac Disease and there was an error in one of the recipes in relationship to defining what type of oats to be used in the recipe. My readers let me know that regular oats are not considered gluten free because of cross contamination with other grains while growing and processing. As far as I can tell there are very few sources of gluten free oats available BUT if you look carefully enough on the internet or have a great health food store near by they are accessible. One good sources is www.glutenfreeoats.com another is www.bobsredmill.com . The following recipe for oatmeal cookies is gluten free and hopefully makes up for the one that wasn’t. The some of the following recipes can be modified to work for those who can only eat gluten free.

Oat Notes: To make homemade oat flour, simply place rolled oats in your food processor and process to a flour consistency. Oat flour may also be used as a thickener in soups and stews. Oat flour needs to be combined with all-purpose flour when used in leavened breads or the bread will not rise properly.

GLUTEN FREE OATMEAL COOKIES

1-1/2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

3 cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats 

1 cup butter (softened) 

1 cup brown Sugar 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

2 large eggs  

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 cup raisins (unsulfured)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugars together until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and Xanthan Gum. Stir flour blend into wet ingredients. Add oats and raisins and mix well. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool one minutes then transfer to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen cookies

http://www.bobsredmill.com

FAT FREE OATMEAL COOKIE CRUST

1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan. Put the oats into a food processor or blender and process until finely ground. Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend well. Transfer to a bowl and add the apple sauce. Stir well until completely combined. Put the mixture into the pie pan, and starting at the center, flatten and press it with moistened fingers until it evenly covers the bottom and extends up the sides of the pan as far as possible. Put it in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, until it it is crisp but not overdone. Set aside to cool before filling.

OATMEAL BANANA PANCAKES

A really delicious way to have your pan“cake” and eat it too.

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons quick cooking oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 egg whites
1 cup sliced banana

In large bowl combine dry ingredients. Stir until blended. In separate bowl combine milk, oil, syrup and egg whites. Whisk until blended. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients. Mix until blended (batter will be lumpy). If too thick, add a little more milk. Brush griddle with oil lightly. Heat griddle over medium-high heat. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto hot griddle. Cook just until a few bubbles begin to appear. Arrange 4 banana slices on pancake and turn. Continue to cook until bottoms are golden. Turn carefully and cook until other side is golden. Serve with maple syrup.

AMAZING CHOCOLATE RAISIN OATMEAL COOKIES

Add chocolate-covered raisins to these moist and chewy oatmeal cookies for a big surprise and great flavor.

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 package (7 oz.) shredded coconut (1 1/3 cups)
1 cup (6 oz.) chocolate-covered raisins

Heat oven to 350. Grease large cookie sheet. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large mixer bowl at high speed until lightand fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. With mixer at low speed, beat in dry ingredients. Stir in coconut and raisins. Using 2 1/4″ ice-cream scoop or level 1/4 cup measure, scoopcookie dough onto prepared sheet, placing scoops 3 inches apart. Bake 15 to 18 minutes until golden. Cool cookies on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough. (Can be made ahead. Freeze up to 1 month.) Makes 18 cookies.

COCOA OATMEAL MUFFINS WITH HONEY BUTTER

Outrageously delicious or full of fiber or both, you decide.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400. Stir together flour, sugar, oats, cocoa, powder and salt in a large bowl. Beat eggs, milk, melted margarine and vanilla in a small bowl. Add milk mixture and nuts all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. SPOON batter onto 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done. Serve warm with Honey Spread. Makes 12.

HONEY SPREAD: Beat together 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1/3 cup honey until smooth. Makes about 3/4 cup. Helpful Hint: Sprinkle top of muffin batter with oats before baking, if desired.

OATMEAL RAISIN (OR APRICOT) BARS

2/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 ½ cups rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dried apricots
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a glass bowl combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and stir until smooth. Microwave for another minute until bubbly and sugar is dissolved. Stir in rolled oats, flour and raisins. In a bowl beat egg and vanilla. Stir into rolled oats mixture.

Spread evenly in 13 by 9 in. pan lined with greased tin foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool 10 minutes in pan lift out and cut into bars of your size choice. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

GARDEN FRESH TURKEY BURGERS

This is a recipe from the Quaker Oats web site and it’s absolutely delicious. So good, in fact, that you’d hardly know it’s good for you.

1 pound lean ground turkey breast

1 cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

3/4 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper

1/2 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small)

1/4 cup catsup

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split, toasted

1/2 cup nonfat sour cream

Lettuce and tomato slices (optional)

Lightly spray rack of broiler pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine turkey, oats, onion, bell pepper, zucchini, catsup, garlic and salt, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into six 1/2-inch thick patties. Broil or grill patties 7 to 9 minutes on each side or until golden brown and no longer pink in center. Serve on buns with rounded tablespoon sour cream per serving. Garnish with lettuce and tomato, if desired. Servings: 6

MACADAMIA AND OAT CRUSTED TALAPIA

1 1/2 cups quick oats, uncooked

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3tablespoons water

1 egg, lightly beaten

6 fresh talapia fillets, about 4 ounces each

Heat oven to 400. In shallow dish, combine oats, nuts, thyme, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper; mix well. In second shallow dish, beat water and egg with fork until frothy. Dip talapia fillets in egg mixture, then in oat mixture; repeat.

Spray 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 x 1-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place fish on sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.

HEALTHY TEX MEX MEATLOAF WITH CORN SALSA

1 pound ground dark meat chicken

1 cup oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

One16-ounce jar mild salsa, divided

One15.25-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained, divided

1/2cup chopped onion

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, divided

1 teaspoon chili powder

Heat oven to 350. For meatloaf, combine ground chicken, oats, 3/4 cup salsa, 1/2 cup corn, onion, egg, 1 tablespoon cilantro and chili powder in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Press into 8 x 4-inch loaf pan or shape into loaf and place in 8-inch square baking pan. Bake 50 minutes or until not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Let stand 5 minutes; drain off any juices before slicing. For salsa to serve with meatloaf, combine remaining salsa, corn and cilantro in medium bowl; mix well. Serve with meatloaf. Serves 4 to 5.

ALMOND STREUSEL BAKED PEARS

A sweet tasty and fiber friendly dessert. The leftovers are actually great for breakfast.

4 large, firm-ripe pears

1 cup oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

6 tablespoons margarine

3 tablespoons slivered almonds

One 8-ounce container vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

Heat oven to 350. Spray 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray.

In small bowl, combine yogurt and honey; mix well. Cover; chill.

In medium bowl, combine oats, sugar, flour and allspice; mix well. Cut in spread with two knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in almonds. Set aside.

Cut pears in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, remove center portion of each pear half, leaving a 1/2-inch shell. Place scooped pears cut side down in pan; spray with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes or until pears begin to feel tender when pierced with a small sharp knife. Remove pan from oven to wire rack. Turn pears cut side up in pan. Spoon reserved oat mixture over pears. Return pan to oven. Continue baking 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is light golden brown and pears are tender. Cool pears 5 minutes in pan on wire rack. Spoon sauce over warm pears to serve. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

LEMON LIME BARS

3/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned)

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)

2 teaspoons grated lemon and lime peel

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3/4 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. In large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy. Add the oats, flour and salt and mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture for topping. Press the remaining oat mixture onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. In a bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime and lemon juice and lime peel; mix well. Pour the mixture evenly over the crust. In medium bowl, combine reserved oat mixture with coconut and almonds; mix well. Sprinkle the topping evenly over filling, patting gently into the filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until topping is light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 28 to 32 Bars.

ORANGE SWEET POTATOES WITH COOKIE TOPPING

7 large sweet potatoes (about 5 pounds)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot or dried ginger
2 teaspoons salt

For topping
12 or 13 oatmeal cookies, broken into pieces (about 3 cups)

6 tablespoons margarine or butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 425. Poke the potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet in middle of oven until very soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Scoop flesh into a large bowl and mash with butter, sugar, juice, zest, marmalade, ginger, and salt. Grease a 9X13 a baking dish. Spread potato mixture evenly in baking dish. Potato mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring potato mixture to room temperature before adding the topping.

Make topping:
In a food processor grind the cookies until a fine powder. Add the margarine or butter and pulse motor until mixture resembles soft cookie dough. Wrap topping in wax paper and chill until firm, about 2 hours. Topping may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Preheat oven to 375. Crumble topping over potato mixture and bake in middle of oven until topping is browned lightly, about 25 to 35 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

Modified from Gourmet November 2002

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