Last week I posted a few gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast ideas, and I thought I would share how I make oatmeal in the crockpot (and a little trick for getting my kids to eat it). I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, so I am all about finding ways to prepare breakfast in advance. I love doing oatmeal in the crockpot because I can put it on before I go to bed, and it’s perfect in the morning.
First things first, let’s talk slow-cookers. If you only have a large crockpot, you are going to have to cook up quite a bit of oatmeal to keep it from turning into a layer of burnt oat. My recommendation, if you are a fan of oatmeal and think you will make it a couple times a week, is to invest in a smaller crockpot. They are usually under $20 (this one is similar to mine and just $16), and they overnight oats much easier.
Now let’s talk oats. For overnight oats, YOU WILL NEED TO BUY “STEEL-CUT' OATS. These are sometimes called Irish Oats, and they are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into pieces. They take longer to cook than rolled oats, and in my opinion have a creamier consistency. I usually buy McCANN'S Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal because a 4-pack on Amazon ships for free. For people on GFDF diets, McCann’s determines their oats to be less than 0.05% gluten-free. For people like myself, that works, but for those with severe allergies of celiac, I believe there are certified gluten-free oats that would be more appropriate.
When cooking oats in the crockpot, you want a 1:4 ratio of oats to water. If you have a small 1.5 qt slow cooker, you can add 1 cup of oats and then fill it to the top with water. I recommend adding a little cooking spray to the crockpot first, for easier cleanup. Set the crockpot to LOW just as you go to bed, and they should be perfectly cooked once you wake up.
Alright, now for the secret for getting kids to eat it. Initially, my kids turned up their noses at the beige mush, but then I offered to put sprinkles on top, and suddently they were very enthusiastic. I use Truvia to sweeten the oats (the sugar dispenser pictured above measures out a teaspon of truvia or sugar with the push of a button, and is a great way to let kids sweeten their own food without dumping). After stirring in the sweetener, I use a little decorative sugar as “sprinkles”. I found some dye-free colored sugar on Amazon: this India Tree pink decorating sugar is dyed with beets and it comes in several other colors, too. The colors are really vibrant and it really takers very little sugar for a big visual impact.
My kids love their “striped oatmeal” and I loved that I can just dump it into their bowls in the morning without standing over the stove.
Do you have any other ideas for prepping breakfast in advance?