Recipe: Overnight, no-cook refrigerator oatmeal

by Julie Snyder

no cook oatmealCold yogurt and oatmeal with fruit and nuts have been around a long time. Now, the combination is experiencing a come-back and for a good reason!

Sometimes called "summer porridge," this easy, nutrition-packed breakfast gets your day off to a healthy and stress-free start. It's not just delicious in the summer. Frozen or dried fruits extend its season throughout the whole year -- any time you need a quick and easy "grab and go" breakfast.

Take it along to work. Send it as a snack. You can dress it up and serve on a breakfast or brunch buffet.

High in protein, calcium, fiber while low in fat and sugar, refrigerator oatmeal could become your family's favorite.

Overnight, no-cook refrigerator oatmeal

Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 8 hours | Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

• 2 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
• 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup low fat milk or unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
• 2 peaches or apricots, pitted and sliced
• 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)

Directions

Combine the oats, yogurt, milk, zest and vanilla in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.

To serve the next morning, scoop the oatmeal into bowls and top with nuts, fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Cook's note

As an alternative to microwave instant oatmeal packages, you can make these up in individual containers such as 1/2-pint canning jars. They're the perfect serving size and an easy grab-and-go breakfast straight from the fridge. Another perk -- you can try out a different flavor combination in each container.

Although the recipe above doesn't recommend marinating the fruit and spices overnight, you certainly can, except bananas. They're best added right before serving.

You might enjoy experiment with these different flavors:

✓ Mix in 1/4 to 1/2 cup pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice
✓ Use about 25 raisins and a dash of cinnamon
✓ Grate 1/2 cup apple on top of each bowl and sprinkle with nuts
✓ Top with fresh strawberries and almonds
✓ Use dried apricots and dates; top with hazelnuts
✓ Blueberry and maple combine for a colorful treat
✓ Try sliced pears and finely chopped ginger with a dab of honey
✓ For each serving, add 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1 teaspoon honey. Serve with diced bananas and top with a drizzle of dark chocolate syrup

Have you "gone wild" with refrigerator oatmeal? Which flavors are favorites at your breakfast table?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.