Recipe: Slow cooker steel-cut oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

by Julie Snyder

Oatmeal and applesMornings can be chaotic, leaving you wishing for your own private cook. While we can't give you that, we can share a breakfast recipe to make starting your day easier.

Just put everything in the slow cooker before you go to bed and you'll wake up the next morning to the tantalizing aroma of warm apple pie. It can coax even the most reluctant sleepy-head out of bed.

The cinnamon on top will be crispy and crusty. The apples will nearly fall apart in your mouth and the steel-cut oats give your meal a nutty taste. You'll wonder if you're really awake with such a dream of a breakfast.

Slow cooker oatmeal is easy to make and you'll be hard pressed to find a breakfast with more flavor and nutrition and kid appeal.

Give it a try. You and your family will be glad you did.

Slow cooker steel-cut oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 7 to 8 hours | Yield: 6 to 7 servings

Ingredients

• 2 apples
• 1 1/2 cups milk, unsweetened almond milk or other milk substitute
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
• 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, optional
• 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or stevia to taste, optional
• 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
• 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Core the apples (peeling is optional) and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Coat the slow cooker with cooking spray

Add all the ingredients. Stir and put on the lid. Set the cooker to its low setting for 7 hours. Serve with chopped nuts, raisins, dried fruit, maple syrup and additional milk or butter.

To reheat, spoon a 1-cup serving of oatmeal into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/3 milk and cook on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for another minute. Breakfast is served!

Cook's Note

Cherry-almond oats: Slower cookers and steel cuts oats offer you an opportunity to experiment with flavor combinations. If it's cherry season, try substituting 1 1/4 cup of cut up sweet cherries for one of the apples. Use almond milk and garnish with toasted sliced almonds.

Coconut milk and banana oats: Has it been a lazy, comfortable week? You'd enjoy a tropical breakfast! Switch out the chopped apples for sliced bananas and use 2 1/2 cups coconut milk and 1/2 cup water. Mellow the flavor with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Serve with fresh banana slices, shredded coconut and a sprinkle of walnuts.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.