Add-Ins Oatmeal Casserole: Cook Once, Serve…A LOT!!!

Oatmeal

Add-Ins Oatmeal Casserole

Anytime I find a recipe that saves me cooking AND washing up time, I’m all over it. And triple bonus if it’s healthy!

So when I found this Add-Ins Oatmeal Casserole, I tweaked it (of course) by adjusting the spices to suit my taste, and modified the topping to significantly lower the calories.  (Did you know walnuts have 800 calories per cup? YIKES!!!)

You may be wondering how an oatmeal recipe can save time.  Well, the beauty of this recipe is that you make it and then scoop out individual servings every time you want it. Just zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds – done! It tastes freshly made each time. Now I can have a hot and healthy breakfast or snack at the ready. Easy peezy!

I will confess that my husband, who has eaten the same oatmeal every single morning of our married life, is not a lover of this recipe. He claims it’s not that he doesn’t like it, it’s just he prefers his routine, same old-same old oatmeal. What can I say? He’s an extreme creature of habit. Thank goodness I’m one of his habits!

NOTE:  Change the add-ins to what you prefer or have in the house. Next time, I’m going to throw in some diced apple.

ADD-INS OATMEAL CASSEROLE

  • 2 cups dry oatmeal  (I used the quick cooking kind)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each ginger, cardamon, nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ salt (regular or sea salt)
  • 1½ cup carrots, shredded
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¼ cups milk (I used nonfat cow’s milk. You can also use almond milk.)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, coconut oil, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. This is the topping.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oatmeal, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, carrots, and raisins.

In yet another bowl beat together the eggs, then whisk in the milk and vanilla. Stir this into the oatmeal mixture. Pour into a buttered 8″ x 10″ casserole dish. Sprinkle on the topping evenly.

Bake uncovered at 325º Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

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Pumpkin Rolls – Perfect Bread For Fall!

Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkin Rolls

It’s Autumn in my part of the world, and that means one thing:  every conceivable food and drink becomes pumpkin flavored.

When I was a kid, the only pumpkin food was pie. But over the years, pumpkin has made an appearance in ice cream, tea, pancakes, coffee, cereal, butter, and on and on. Generally, I’m not one to jump on the pop culture food bandwagon (don’t get me started on Greek yogurt!), but I have a pumpkin roll recipe that’s adds a little seasonal festivity into a meal without being in-your-face PUMPKIN.

Now, don’t panic people, but these rolls are yeast based.  No doubt, while experienced bakers are shrugging their shoulders and murmuring ‘so what?’, newbies hearing the word ‘yeast’, are running to the refrigerated tubes of pre-made dough.

I’ve said it before, using yeast is a snap – especially if you have a food processor. No food processor? Go to a thrift shop, save up your pennies, or put it on your Christmas wish-list. A food processor will cut down on cooking time which, in turn, will encourage you to cook from scratch more often.

This recipe makes about 20 rolls, depending on how big you cut them. You may be tempted to half the recipe, thinking 20-ish rolls too many. Well, I wouldn’t be true to my self-proclaimed title of Queen of Freeze if I didn’t advise you to make the entire recipe (or even double it!) and freeze the leftovers. Next time you want homemade Pumpkin Rolls, just zap them in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Besides saving money, I LOVE to save time.

NOTE:  While munching on a Pumpkin Roll, it occurred to me that chocolate frosting would really enhance its yummy-ness. (Of course, adding  chocolate to pretty much anything guarantees thumbs up from this chocoholic.) The frosting turned the dinner rolls into a delectable morning pastry.

Chocolate frosted Pumpkin Rolls

Chocolate frosted Pumpkin Rolls

PUMPKIN ROLLS – makes about 20, depending on how big you cut them

  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup milk (I used nonfat – use what you have)
  • 1½ tsp dry yeast
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin (fresh or canned)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Combine water and milk, then heat to approximately 105º Fahrenheit. Stir in yeast and let proof for about 5 minutes.

In the workbowl of your food processor (or large mixing bowl)  put 3 cups of flour (note that you won’t be using all the flour at this time), the sugars, pumpkin, butter, salt, and spices.

When the yeast liquid is foamy, turn on the food processor. Then slowly pour in the liquid through the pour spout. Add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball. Run the machine for 45 seconds to knead. If you’re not using a food processor, knead by hand for 10 minutes. (I wouldn’t be surprised if sticky dough on your hands and working the dough for 10 minutes convinces you to get a food processor!)

Place dough in a greased bowl, smoosh it down, then flip it. This will grease both sides of the dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour.

Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface. Roll into a square ¾” thick. Using a knife or pizza cutter, slice dough into individual rolls. Place them on a greased or nonstick cookie sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350º Fahrenheit oven for 25 minutes.

Carrots And Pistachio Nuts In Cointreau Sauce

Carrots & Pistachio Nuts in a Cointreau Sauce

Carrots & Pistachio Nuts in a Cointreau Sauce

Someone gave my husband a huge bag of pistachio nuts.  Now that’s the kind of thing I do NOT need hanging around my house, taunting me with their salty, crunchi-liciousness (I made that word up.) What’s worse is they’re shelled, so all I have to do is reach in and grab a handful.

Of course, the wheels in my head started cranking, looking for ideas to use up these bad boys. My immediate thought was to a carrots and pistachios recipe I’ve had since before I was married. It’s so good that my friend Deno (who has the will power to actually eat ONE potato chip), was sneaking extra helpings. But over the years I’ve rarely made this dish because I hate shelling the pistachio nuts (yes, I’m lazy).

Now that I have access to a pound of shelled pistachios, Carrots & Pistachio Nuts in a Cointreau Sauce will be a common side dish in our home for weeks to come…at least, until the pistachios are gone.

I stream-lined the original recipe (again – lazy) by steaming the carrots, rather than boiling them in butter and water then reducing the cooking liquid. To make up for the lost butter, I just added more to the Cointreau sauce.

CARROTS & PISTACHIO NUTS IN COINTREAU SAUCE

  • 2 cups carrots cut in ½”- 1″ pieces
  • 1½ T butter
  • 2 T Cointreau (option:  use orange juice if you don’t want the alcohol)
  • 2 T pistachio nuts, salted & shelled
  • ½ tsp salt

Steam the carrots until a fork can just pierce them. Don’t overcook! It only takes about 5 minutes.

While the carrots are steaming, melt butter in a saucepan.  Add Cointreau, salt, and pistachio nuts. Sauté 1 minute.

Gently stir the sauce and carrots together. DONE! An elegant side dish that’s a snap to make!!!