Although the weather still feels like summertime outside, the apple trees have started ripening, so – you guessed it – we went apple picking.
It’s our family tradition to drive out to a near-by apple orchard and pick as many red apples; Jonathan’s being our favorite variety, as we can carry home. You will recall I made a wonderful yeast bread, Apple Walnut Country Bread, with some of our bounty last year.
This year, we managed to bring home five big bags of juicy apples and have plans galore as to what we will make when we’re not eating them fresh out of hand. Apple pie is usually at the top of the list, but it was just too late in the day to make a pie when we returned from our orchard adventure, so I decided to make Crock Pot Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats for breakfast the next morning instead. This recipe was just too easy to pass up – not to mention all of the health benefits I would be serving up by using Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats. Fifteen grams of protein alone from the oats and more from the milk and walnuts added on top – this was going to be a delicious, healthy way to start our day.
Admittedly, I don’t cook with my crock pot very often, but when I do, I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. It makes preparing a hot meal sooooooooo easy. The key to this recipe is to put the ingredients together before you go to bed, so that they cook while you’re asleep – happily dreaming of apple pie for breakfast.
As an added bonus, your crock pot doesn’t even get dirty – no scrubbing at all. The oats are cooked in a glass bowl that is set inside the crock pot and then water is added to the area around the bowl that becomes a hot water bath for the oats and heats things up slowly. When you wake up, simply scoop out generous helpings of warm oats for breakfast and then stick the glass bowl in the dishwasher. Your crock pot will be perfectly clean for the next time. Genius, I tell you.
This is what you need to get started – a crock pot and Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats.
Next, look through your cabinets until you find a glass, heatproof bowl – like Pyrex – that will fit inside your crock pot and can hold at least four cups of ingredients.
Put the bowl in the crock pot and add all of the ingredients into that glass bowl– Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats, half-and-half, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, grated apple, salt and water. You also need ½ cup of applesauce.
I didn’t have any unsweetened applesauce in my pantry, but I did have plenty of apples, so I made some myself. If you happen to be short on applesauce, peel, core and chop up one large apple or two small apples and put them in a small pot with about ¼ cup of water. Cook them over medium to medium low heat until they become soft – adding more water if the apples become too dry. Once the apples are soft, about 15 minutes, mash them with a potato masher or fork until they become applesauce. Measure ½ cup of the applesauce and add it to the glass bowl in the crock pot with everything else. Give the ingredients a good stir to mix everything together.
You can see from this picture that I don’t have a lot of room for the oats to grow overnight while they cook. And honestly, I was worried I would wake up to find an oatmeal mess all over the inside of my crock pot. Fear not! The steel cut oats did a great job of absorbing the water and half-and-half without expanding past my bowl’s rim. (I had about two inches of extra space and that was plenty. Whew!)
Next, add enough room-temperature water to the crock pot so that it’s even with the level of the oatmeal mixture in the glass bowl.
Cover the crock pot and turn it on low. Cook the oats for six hours or until you wake up the next morning. I put my ingredients together at 10 o’clock the night before and didn’t serve breakfast until 9 o’clock the next morning, so consider six hours to be the minimum cooking time.
This is what was waiting for me the next day – kind of looks like an apple pie, doesn’t it? Give it a stir and you’re ready to go. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to have a hot breakfast ready for me in the morning without having to lift a finger. It is completely feasible to stop here, scoop out a big bowlful and eat … but toast a few walnuts, chop up some fresh apple and sprinkle them on top of the oats with some brown sugar and a splash of milk and you’ll take this breakfast to another level. Yum!
Despite the fact that the weather was hot enough to warrant a trip to the swimming pool, my family thoroughly enjoyed having a warm bowl of Crock Pot Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats for breakfast. The oats become smooth and creamy from the time spent in the crock pot and are reminiscent of apple pie thanks to the grated apple, apple sauce, spices, toasted walnuts and bits of fresh apples. Pour some cold milk on top to cool things down and dig in. Apple pie is a family favorite and now we can have it for breakfast in the form of Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats. Break out your crock pot and give this recipe a try. I know we’ll be making it on a regular basis – it’s so easy and so good for you, too. Enjoy!
Crock Pot Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats
- ¾ cup Hodgson Mill Steel Cut Oats
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 medium apple, washed and grated
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce or 1 medium- (or 2 small-)sized apple(s), peeled, cored, chopped and cooked into apple sauce – see instructions above
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- Toasted walnuts
- Chopped apple – no need to peel
- Brown sugar to taste
Before you go to bed, in a heat proof, glass bowl with at least a four cup capacity, mix together the oats, half-and-half, brown sugar, grated apple, apple sauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and water. Be sure you have at least two inches of room between the oatmeal mixture and the rim of the bowl to allow for the oats to expand as they absorb the half-and-half and water. Place the bowl in the bottom of a crock pot. Fill the crock pot with room temperature water until it comes to the edges of the glass bowl at the same level as the oatmeal mixture.
Cover the crock pot and turn it on low. Cook for six hours, minimum.
In the morning, remove the lid and stir the oatmeal. Scoop out generous portions into bowls and top each serving with some toasted walnuts, chopped apple and brown sugar to taste. Serve with milk if desired.
Makes 4-5 servings, depending on how hungry you are.
Adapted from Aimee at Simplebites.net