Sunday, September 9, 2012

Technique of the Week: Outstanding Homemade Oatmeal Packs

It's obviously no secret that the more processed and convenient a food is, the more money it will cost. Diced celery will always cost a bucket-full more than it's stalk counterparts. Dried beans, while being more expensive per unit, will always be a better value than the canned stuff because of the amount of servings one bag holds. The cost of ingredients needed to make popcorn at home are still less than the bagged, microwave ready stuff. I could go on for hours, trust me...

Possibly the worst offender is pre-packaged oatmeal. These little envelops are chock full of calories, unnecessary additives for "freshness" and grossly overpriced. 10 tiny little packs for almost $5.00? You have to eat 3 of them to feel full! No way!

I learned awhile ago (total "duh" moment on my end!) that it's easier to just buy the tub of quick oats and make my own flavored oatmeal concoctions. A container of oats has about 30 servings and will run you around $2.50. Throw in some brown sugar, a bag of nuts, and some dried fruit and you're up to a little over $7.00 for three times as much oatmeal as the boxed stuff. The best part? YOU can control exactly how much sugar, sodium, and preservatives go into each pack, therefor making it loads healthier. Give it a try!

Pre-Portioned Oatmeal Packs

Makes 5 individual servings

You will need:

  • 5 sandwich or snack size zipper bags, or other small containers. 
  • 2.5 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup s dried fruit (I used cherry-infused cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup crushed nuts (I had macadamia nuts on hand but almonds, walnuts or pecans would be great)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients, making sure the brown sugar breaks up and is distributed evenly with the oats. Portion into small containers, about a heaping 2/3 cup per serving. 
  2. When you're ready to eat pour the contents of the bag into a bowl, and add 1 cup of water. 
  3. Microwave in 20-second intervals until the water is absorbed, about 1 minute total. 
  4. Enjoy!
A few tips: The ratio of mix-ins to oats is perfectly optional. I know most people would probably enjoy much more sugar in their oatmeal, but I don't have big sweet tooth in the mornings so for me, less is more. If you don't like nuts, skip them! The one important thing to account for is the water. Making sure you double the amount of water to oats is crucial in having oatmeal that isn't too dry. 

If you want to save on the bags/containers, you can also just store the whole she-bang in a large canister and pull 2/3 cup of the mixture out each time you're ready to eat. I leave these on my desk at work so the more portable, the better!

Simple, delicious, done!


Shauna E

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