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Breakfast can lend a glow to chilly mornings
Nothing wrong with your classic bowl of oats for breakfast on a winter morning. But nothing wrong, either, with trying some alternatives, perhaps for a weekend brunch. You might even develop new favorites.
A couple of recipes may tempt you to cook up creative but simple alternatives to plain oatmeal.
One is inspired by a familiar classic dessert, creme brulee; the other is a version of flapjacks, dressed up with banana.
Oatmeal "creme brulee-style" combines milk, egg and sugar, baked in a shallow baking dish so that the oats take on a pudding-like texture and custardy flavor. Just before serving, the dish is topped with a thin layer of brown sugar and broiled until the sugar bubbles.
Both quick (1-minute) oats and old-fashioned (5-minute) oats can be used in this recipe, but you'll need slightly more of the old-fashioned oats. Instant oatmeal available in individual packets is not recommended.
Oatmeal Creme Brulee
(Baking time 43 to 50 minutes)
2 cups quick oats, or 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 and 1/3 cups nonfat milk
2 eggs, or 1/2 cup egg substitute, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 8-inch-square glass baking dish with cooking spray.
In large bowl, combine oats, granulated sugar and salt.
In medium bowl, combine milk, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to oat mixture; mix well. Pour into baking dish. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center jiggles slightly. Remove from oven to cooling rack. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top of oatmeal. Using back of spoon, gently spread sugar into a thin layer across entire surface of oatmeal. Return to oven; bake just until sugar melts, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set oven to broil. Broil 3 inches from heat until sugar bubbles and browns slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. (Watch carefully to prevent burning. It may be necessary to turn baking dish.) Spoon into bowls to serve.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of recipe): 200 cal., 3 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 55 mg chol., 70 mg sodium, 36 g carbo., 2 g dietary fiber, 8 g pro.
For the flapjacks, whole-grain oats add texture to a basic pancake batter that is ladled onto a hot griddle and topped with sliced bananas that have been tossed with sugar. As the pancakes cook, the sugar caramelizes into a rich golden brown. Serve with warm maple syrup and a sprinkle of pecans or walnuts.
Banana Oat Flapjacks
(Cooking time about 10 minutes)
2 large, firm-ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned), uncooked
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup nonfat milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Maple-flavored syrup, warmed
A few more banana slices (optional)
Coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
In medium bowl, combine banana slices and sugar; stir to coat slices with sugar. Set aside.
In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, combine milk, egg, and oil; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened (do not overmix).
Heat griddle over medium-high heat (or preheat electric skillet or griddle to 375 F). Lightly grease griddle.
For each pancake, pour scant 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Top with 4 or 5 banana slices. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Serve with warm syrup and, if desired, additional banana slices and nuts.
Makes about 12 (4-inch) pancakes.