First, the winners of the NuNaturals stevia giveaway:
Congratulations! Email your shipping addresses to [diana at soapandchocolate dot com] and your prize will be on its way!
In other news:
The rather unappetizing nameless blob pictured above has been occupying my thoughts (and my belly space) every Saturday morning for about a month now. Perhaps it would be more enticing if I gave it a descriptive name, such as “Scrumptious Baked Oatmeal Casserole with Pumpkin, Oats, Banana and Spices Oh and Don’t Forget the Topping of Brown Sugar and Pecans.”
Somehow that doesn’t roll off the tongue so well.
The story behind it is this: I teach a 9am Zumba class on Saturday mornings. As explained last week, I’m not so much in the mood to munch a substantial breakfast when I’m about to jump around for an hour, so I typically down a smoothie on my way to class and leave the serious feasting for afterward.
Several weeks ago, I spied Angela’s Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole and knew I wanted to try it ASAP. But when would I have the kind of time in the morning to make it? And then I realized I wasn’t using my kitchen devices to their full potential: turns out my oven has a delay timer, so I was able to assemble the casserole the night before, pop it in the oven before I left to teach, and it was cooked and ready when I got home. Cool, no? There is just everything right with having a hot, home-cooked meal ready as soon as I walk in the door. This is why I love my crockpot and rice cooker so much, in addition to the newly-discovered delay timer on my oven.
Trouble was, there was still a fair amount of time involved in prepping said casserole, what with cooking the potato AND the oatmeal mixture before it ever sees the oven. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful recipe as is, but given my particular circumstances and time management needs, it began to…morph.
Until finally, three-ish trials later, I’d arrived at a no-pre-cook, make-ahead casserole that requires less than 10 minutes to prep the night before and then bakes itself while I teach. No complaints here, yo.
Make-Ahead Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond)
- 3/4 cup pumpkin
- 1 large banana
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp butter/Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp flour (I use whole wheat [pastry] flour)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- The night before you intend to eat this for breakfast, assemble the casserole. Mash together the banana and pumpkin in a medium-sized bowl, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients until everything is well-incorporated. Pour into a small casserole dish prepped with nonstick spray, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Separately, prepare the topping by cutting the butter into the other topping ingredients (I usually use a fork to do this, mixing until a crumble forms). Store this in its own container in the fridge overnight as well.
- In the morning, about 45 minutes before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 350*, uncover the casserole, sprinkle on the topping and bake for about 40 minutes, raising the temperature to 425* for the last 10 minutes so that the topping browns. (I set the delay timer so that it begins baking while I’m away and time it so that I arrive home when there’s 10 minutes left on the cook time, at which point I crank the heat up.) It is done baking when it is bubbling at the edges and no longer runny/jiggly in the middle.
- Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes or so to set.
Serves 1 hungry Zumba teacher who probably won’t get to eat again until 7pm because she’s teaching again after breakfast.
Or 2 normal people.
This is more spoonable than sliceable, but a glorious casserole nonetheless. And I challenge you to combine so many food groups in one dish so deliciously as with this one. With nutrition as with time, efficiency is the name of the game for those of us with crazy schedules.
What’s your favorite healthy meal to make at home when you’re short on cooking time? I need dinner ideas too!