Long before Jerri became my wife, when she was in high school, she had a dog named Inkabelle Susan (a.k.a. Inky). She also had a loving father who got up at dawn and left her a serving of oatmeal on the pilot light of the range every morning before he took his pickup to check on the steers in the pasture about four miles west of town.
Jerri loved her father, but she also loved Inky, so she never told her father that she really did not like oatmeal left on the pilot light but she did give Inky a nice warm serving of oatmeal in his dish every morning. Both her father and dog thought Jerri was a wonderful person.
Jerri was the starting pitcher on her high school softball team. Jerri’s father came to just about every home game to watch his daughter play the game he loved. Inky came because he loved the girl who gave him such good breakfasts. Jerri’s father sat in the bleachers and cheered. Inky came out to the pitcher’s mound and sat beside Jerri until he was led away by the umpire.
When Jerri and her parents went to church Sunday mornings in the summer, her mother and father sat in their pew and listened proudly as their daughter played the piano for the service. Inky came and sat by the pianist until he was escorted out by an usher.
And it was all because of the oatmeal.
Not long ago I asked a friend if she had any special recipes that she cooked for her family. Lorrie paused a moment, then told me that they really liked her baked oatmeal. When I confessed that I had never even heard of baked oatmeal, she said she would send me the recipe.
She did, and I made it, and both Jerri and I think it is a delicious addition to any family’s list of breakfast or brunch dishes. Made according to Lorrie’s instructions, it is a kind of oatmeal pudding with a just a hint of a crunchy texture from the steel cut oats. The oats, applesauce and fruit combine to make this a dish that tastes good and is good for you.
We used frozen blueberries for the fruit, and all I can say is if you enjoy blueberry muffins or pancakes, you’ll like baked oatmeal with blueberries.
If your oven heats quickly and you mix the dry ingredients together before you go to bed, you can have this breakfast casserole baking in ten minutes.
2-1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup steel-cut oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (such as blueberries, pears, apples or strawberries)
Yoghurt or milk or cream
Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit and lightly grease a two or three quart casserole or soufflé dish.
Stir together the rolled oats, steel-cut oats, oat bran, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. In a medium bowl beat the egg until it is lemon colored, then whisk in the milk, applesauce, oil, and sugars. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry oat mixture and mix well.
Pour the batter into the soufflé dish or casserole and bake for twenty minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven, stir the oatmeal and gently fold in the fruit. Return the casserole to the oven and bake it for another twenty minutes. Check to see if the top is lightly brown. If not, bake it for another four or five minutes..
Spoon the oatmeal into bowls and serve it warm. Pass cream, half and half, milk or yoghurt that diners can add at the table.
NOTES: This recipe makes six to eight servings. Lorrie says that you can use many different kinds of fruit. She recommended blueberries, pears, apples and strawberries as good choices. Next time I make this baked oatmeal I plan on using some blueberry craisins. If I don’t forget I will add a note to this recipe with the results of the experiment.
This recipe almost begs one to try different fruits. If you find one you like, let me know and I will share your report.