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Thursday, February 28, 2013

No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

A healthy breakfast made in mason jars in six different flavors!


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This easy, no-cook "summer porridge" has make-ahead convenience and is packed with nutrition to get your day off to a healthy start. Make it in individual mason jars for a perfect serving size and an easy grab-and-go breakfast straight from the fridge (it's eaten cold). Take it along to work or anywhere. Great to serve on a breakfast or brunch buffet. High in protein, calcium & fiber; low in fat & sugar.
Apparently this kind of cold yogurt & oatmeal mixture has been around for awhile. I don't know where I've been, because I'd never heard of it until I saw a recipe by Christie at Pepper Lynn on Pinterest. We eat a lot of steel-cut oatmeal in the winter months, but it never appeals to me once the weather heats up. Learning about refrigerator oatmeal excited me, because it offers a way to enjoy oatmeal year round. Yummy reader, Kelly, called this "Summer Porridge" in a comment on my Facebook page--I'd never heard of that either. After some googling, I discovered that refrigerator oatmeal, yogurt oats, and summer porridge are all names for the same thing. Whatever you call it, this stuff is delicious!
I played around with some different flavor combos, and created single portion recipes that will fit in a half-pint mason jar. I've been pulling these out of my fridge and eating them for breakfast all week. LOVE the convenience of having them made ahead. They are filling and packed with nutrition, too.
ch-ch-ch-CHIA seeds. I followed Pepper Lynn's lead and included chia seeds in my refrigerator oats recipes. I've been hearing a lot of buzz about the nutritional powerhouse in these teensie little seeds, and this is a great way to sneak them into your diet. Chia seeds:
  • have more Omega 3 fatty acids than flax seed (important for heart health)
  • are the richest non-marine whole food source of Omega-3 (better than salmon)
  • absorb 10 times their weight in water and transform into a gel-like substance--great for athletes for maintaining hydration and helps with weight loss by making you feel full longer
  • are as high in protein as quinoa
  • are loaded with calcium, potassium, Vitamin B, and anti-oxidants
  • help balance blood sugar via the gelling action of the seed and it’s unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber that slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars 
  • have a neutral taste so they will take on the other flavors in a recipe
  • can be eaten whole (unlike flax seed); they don't have to be ground before adding them to food in order to digest them and benefit from their nutrients
  • have a two year shelf life, stored at room temperature (flax seeds quickly become rancid and loose their nutritional value)
Sources: Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil NutritionDataLiveStrong
In addition to chia seeds, this refrigerator oatmeal has protein- & calcium-packed yogurt and fiber-rich oats. It's hard to find a healthier breakfast than this.
How to make 6 flavor varieties of Refrigerator Oatmeal. 
I had fun experimenting with different flavor combinations and settled on six favorites. They all start with the same basic ingredients and procedure.
Step 1. Assemble these ingredients & supplies:
  • old fashioned rolled oats (not instant, quick, or steel-cut)
  • Greek yogurt (regular yogurt is thinner; if you use it, you'll need to reduce the amount of milk); read my post for easy instructions for straining regular yogurt to make Greek yogurt.
  • milk (I used skim, but any kind will work)
  • chia seeds; I bought mine at Whole Foods; available on Amazon, click here
  • half pint (1 cup) mason jars, find them at Walmart and grocery stores; available on Amazon, click here
Specific amounts of each ingredient are listed with the recipes of each flavored refrigerator oatmeal recipe; they are further down in this post. Click on the big teal bar below each flavor and that links to the recipe with detailed ingredients and instructions.
    Step 2. Add oats, milk, yogurt, and chia seeds to jar, along with desired sweeteners or flavors (see options below).Fridge Oatmeal collage1.jpg
    Step 3. Put a lid on the jar and shake to combine. (I use white plastic jar lids sized to fit canning jars--they last longer than the metal tops and rims that come with the jars, and they are easier to screw on and off; some Walmarts carry them, and they're available on Amazon, click here)
    Step 4. Add fruit and stir gently until combined.
    Step 5. Place in fridge overnight and up to 2 days; maybe longer depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit. The non-banana varieties have been good after 4 days for me.
    Fridge Oatmeal collage2.jpg
    During the overnight soak, the oats and chia seeds absorb the liquid and soften. They have a great eating texture by the next day.
    Here are my six favorite flavor varieties.
    Mango Almond Refrigerator Oatmeal
    Flavored with fresh mango, honey, and almond extract. (If you don't know how to cut a mango, check out my previous post.)
    207 calories, 4g fat, 47g carbs, 7g fiber, 12g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 7
    IMG_9713.png  smalIMG_9771.png

    Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal
    Flavored with fresh blueberries and maple syrup.
    215 calories, 4g fat, 48g carbs, 8g fiber, 12g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 7 

    IMG_9717.png  IMG_9787.jpg

    Apple Cinnamon Refrigerator Oatmeal
    Flavored with unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon and honey.
    210 calories, 4g fat, 48g carbs, 8g fiber, 11g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 7 
    IMG_9719.png  smallIMG_9778.png

    Banana Cocoa Refrigerator Oatmeal
    Flavored with bananas, cocoa powder, and honey.
    (A healthy way to eat chocolate for breakfast. Feel free to squeal with delight!)245 calories, 5g fat, 56g carbs, 10g fiber, 13g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 8

    IMG_9724.png  smallIMG_9795.png

    Banana Peanut Butter Refrigerator Oatmeal
    Flavored with bananas, peanut butter (or PB2), and honey.
    264 calories, 5g fat, 55g carbs, 8g fiber, 15g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 8 (using PB2 and no honey or sweetener)
    • What is PB2? I recently discovered this amazing powdered peanut butter. It's simply peanut butter with 85% of the fat removed. With all of the flavor and protein of regular peanut butter, PB2 is recommended as a great way to reduce calories in all of your favorite peanut butter recipes. It's available at some Whole Foods and health food stores, and on Amazon, click here.
    IMG_9725.png  smallIMG_9791.png

    Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal
    Flavored with fresh raspberries, raspberry preserves or spread (I used a no-sugar added fruit spread), and vanilla extract.
    230 calories, 4g fat, 51g carbs, 8g fiber, 11g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 7 

    IMG_9729.png  smallIMG_9781.png

    Honestly, if you asked me to pick a favorite flavor, I couldn't choose just one. I've enjoyed having a variety of these jars in my fridge for an easy, yummy, nutritious breakfast each day.
    These would be fun to serve on a breakfast or brunch buffet. Garnish the tops with some additional fresh fruit to help identify the flavor and make a prettier presentation.
    This marriage of yogurt, oats, chia seeds and fruit is my new favorite breakfast. The hard part is choosing just one flavor per day. Which one looks good to you?

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