There’s no way around it…summer is winding down. Beach days and bonfire nights are being traded for bus stop mornings and homework evenings. If there’s a kid, teacher or student of any age at your house, you know that “quick,” “easy” and “make-ahead” are key menu terms in September, as everyone gets back into routine. This Baked Apple Oatmeal fits all three of those categories!
While many American students have been back in class for a few weeks already, most Canadian kids are going back this week or next. Here in Nova Scotia, teachers start on Tuesday and the students start on Thursday. As a substitute teacher, my year starts whenever the first job pops up in the online system, or the day the phone rings in the early morning!
When your family is busy with work, school, sports and other activities, trying to get everyone fed three times a day can seem daunting! We don’t have any kiddos yet, but our weeks can still get pretty busy, especially if I’m in a long-term sub job. I’ve found that planning and prepping ahead are the keys to getting healthy meals on the table. I make a meal plan for our suppers before I go grocery shopping each week, and check it each morning to see whether I need to defrost meat or pick up an ingredient on the way home. For lunches, I chop up veggies for salads while I’m making supper, or portion out leftovers into containers before I clean up. I’ll mix up a batch of baked oatmeal during the weekend, and re-heat a portion for breakfast each morning. Keep scrolling for my favourite recipe!
I’ve been on an oatmeal kick for the past several months. It’s healthier than a bagel, way healthier than a pop tart, and keeps me full longer than cereal (three previous breakfast kicks.) I’ve eaten it for breakfast almost every day in a large variety of ways: cooked on the stovetop, overnight in the fridge, steel cut, you name it. But baked oatmeal has become one of my favourites, especially for school mornings. It’s quick to make and reheats well. Sometimes baked oatmeal can be a bit on the gooey side (and there are times that’s what I want!) but this recipe is fluffy and holds its shape well, making it perfect for breakfast on the go.
First of all, you need oats. You want regular rolled/old fashioned oats for this, not quick cooking. The rest of the cast: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, milk (cow, soy, rice, doesn’t matter), maple syrup, an egg and an egg white, and the fruit of your choosing. I usually do apple, but blueberries are quite nice as well.
Start by peeling and dicing your apples.
Whisk the spices and baking powder into the oats in a large bowl. I love cinnamon, so I tend to add extra. Feel free to use your favourite baking spices – pumpkin pie spice would be tasty!
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl. I try to keep the sweetener to the minimum, and 1/3 cup of syrup is fine for me, but my sweet toothed taste testers preferred a bit more.
Add the wet ingredients to the oats and mix until combined.
Stir in the diced apples.
The mixture will seem a bit “soupy” and the liquid won’t all be absorbed.
Pour the mixture into a sprayed, foil lined, 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch pan.
You can also bake the oatmeal in muffin tins for portable little oatmeal cups. Silicone liners work best.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, until the top is firm and lightly browned.
Cool the oatmeal briefly in the pan on a wire rack, then use the foil to lift it onto a cutting board (if you’re making it ahead and not planning to eat it immediately after baking, let it cool completely in the pan before slicing.)
Cut into individual portions with a large serrated knife. I usually cut into 6 servings, you could even do 8 for smaller appetites or kids.
The oatmeal keeps well in a container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave for busy mornings or quick lunches. You may even enjoy it at room temperature (I don’t, but some of my taste testers do.)
You can check breakfast off your meal planning list! What are your favourite back to school meal planning tips?
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon ( to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- 1 ½ cups milk (dairy, soy or rice – unsweetened or vanilla)
- ⅓– ½ cup pure maple syrup ( to taste)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 small apples, diced (1 ½ to 2 cups) or 1 ½ cups berries
Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Whisk the spices and baking powder into the oats in a large bowl.
Whisk the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the oats and mix until combined. The mixture will seem a bit “soupy” and the liquid won’t all be absorbed.
Stir in the diced apples.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is firm and lightly browned.
Cool the oatmeal briefly in the pan on a wire rack, then use the foil to lift it onto a cutting board. Cut into individual portions with a large serrated knife.
Store baked oatmeal in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy at room temperature or re-heat in the microwave.
Can also be baked in silicone-lined muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.