Customizable Baked Oatmeal

At my high school we had a snack bar called Bettye's place where one of the faculty members baked up so many delicious things.  It was a boarding school, so the food was sometimes less than satisfying and on those days, it felt good to eat food made by the same person who was handing it to me, almost like a mom stand-in.  One of the things she made made was this baked oatmeal that was like oatmeal pudding, basically.  Sometimes there were raisins in it, which was basically just an omen of a terrible day, as raisins usually are.  Most days, though, it was creamy and sweet and exactly what I wanted in the midst of Pennsylvania winters.

 maple syrup/milk/vanilla layers

maple syrup/milk/vanilla layers

Today I am back in North Carolina spring which basically just means that when I wake up in the morning literally ANYTHING could happen in terms of weather.  As a result, you gotta be ready with a breakfast that will get your ass out of bed no matter what mother nature is doing.

 burnt the SHIT out of my hand on that cast iron y'all.  dangerous.

burnt the SHIT out of my hand on that cast iron y'all.  dangerous.

People's breakfast eating habits are fascinating to me.  My mother's side of the family are big breakfast people - my grandmother used to eat eggs like it was going out of style (even when it was.)  I thought having an egg poacher was super normal but it turns out it is not and ALL OF YOU people are missing out on a great way to cook your eggs.  More on that in a future recipe, I suppose.

 eating breakfast in direct sunlight will improve your day by 137%.  that is proven.

eating breakfast in direct sunlight will improve your day by 137%.  that is proven.

When I was in middle school I used to wake up at approximately 5:45 every morning and have a cup of coffee and eggs and toast like I was a 65 year old man or something.  In high school I never, ever missed breakfast, even though the dining hall experience at 7:30am is pretty overwhelming.  In my freshman dorm, I ate a lot of toaster waffle with goat cheese and strawberry jam while sitting on the floor and listening to the double x gabfest.  I'm a true believer in dedicating at least 15 minutes to sitting down with my breakfast and gathering myself to face the day.  This oatmeal really helps.  so does coffee.

 nuts and seeds and total goodness for mind, spirit and body.

nuts and seeds and total goodness for mind, spirit and body.

This is the great thing that I have recently learned about baked oatmeal: It is all about ratios.  The baking kind, not the math kind. (They are similar but different because one involves cookies.) We need equal parts dry and wet ingredients plus an egg and whatever sweetener you want. I'm including my recipe with actual quantities below, but this can be scaled easily for whatever purposes you need it to serve.

blueberry baked oatmeal

serves 6, or one person for 6 days

  • butter for your pan
  • 1 1/4 cup oatmeal (steel cut real oatmeal, not the quick kind.)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh

Preheat oven to 350 and butter your pan liberally.  I used an 8 inch cast iron skillet, but an 8x8 baking pan will work exactly the same. Place blueberries in the bottom of your pan.

Combine dry ingredients and pour evenly over blueberries.  Combine wet ingredients and pour over blueberries.  Don't bother to stir.  Bake 45-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it smells so good you want to head in face first.

Top with milk, yogurt, more fruit and nuts, more maple syrup or any combination thereof that seems appealing.  Store cover in your fridge and reheat or eat cold whenever the fancy strikes. Or, take a tip from epicurious and reheat in a pan over butter until crispy and warm.  dang girl dang.