Notes on a Recipe – AB’s Overnight Oatmeal

16 Feb

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My introduction to the Food Network came courtesy of Alton Brown and Good Eats.  In thirty minutes, he not only presents multiple recipes, but he explains the “why” of it all.  I guess I’m not the only person who wants to understand the how and why of the kitchen.  Did I mention he makes it entertaining?  Props and skits illustrate concepts or give brief history lessons.  At the end of a show, I feel like I’ve really learned something and I get new recipes too.  Five years of college and all I can show you is  an unframed degree and student loan payment coupons….I definitely think I’m getting a better value from Mr. Brown.

Since those early days with AB, I’ve branched out to other FN personalities, but Alton remains my favorite.  One recipe that I go back to over and over is his Overnight Oatmeal.  I’ve made this so many times, and it’s so simple, that I no longer pull out the recipe.  With only a few minutes of active prep and a crock pot set to low, I can have a week’s worth of breakfast at the ready. For a non-morning person such as myself, this is gold.

In a different life, maybe I would have the time, or inclination, or personal chef to make a full on breakfast each and every day.  But as it is, I’m lucky to get out of the house dressed and fed each morning.  So anything that saves me time is welcome.  And unlike packaged cereals, I know EXACTLY what is in the food.  No trans fat this, or high fructose corn syrup that.  No guessing needed.

Really, what’s not to love about this recipe?  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  It’s open to countless interpretations.  It may not be the most glamorous dish to hit your table, but not every meal has to look like it came from the five star kitchen of the celebrity chef du jour.

AB’s recipe is below.  I use whatever dried fruit I happen to have on hand – dried apples or dried peaches work very well.  You use what you like.  I also add about one half cup of unsweetened applesauce to the crock pot to give a little more moisture. If you have a cinnamon stick, throw it in crock pot.  Just be sure to remove it before serving.  Serve with a bit of brown sugar, preserves,  jam, or syrup for a hint of sweetness.  Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week.  To reheat, thin with a bit of milk, stir to combine, and microwave for about 90 seconds.

AB's Overnight Oatmeal

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours.

Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

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