Straight up from the How Sweet kitchen. Weird because…
I’ve made no bones about it – I like my oatmeal one way and one way only:
But recently… something weird happened. My husband – who has always claimed to “hate oatmeal!”… has started to eat oatmeal. Every single morning. Like, a lot of oatmeal. Like nearly two freaking cups of oatmeal. Who can eat two freaking cups of oatmeal? He can, apparently.
And it’s turned into a new addiction for him. We’ve suffered through many addictions of his together: diet Mountain Dew, English muffins with peanut butter and jelly, some really disgusting casserole thing he used to throw together in a 9×13 dish with plain chicken, plain boxed stuffing and a can of soup, protein bars and my least favorite: plain tuna mixed with hard boiled eggs. I’m sure you can figure out why.
And you know, I just can’t let anything be. I mean, you’d think I wouldn’t even pay attention to this guy I live with eating oatmeal every single morning. You’d thing I’d learn to pick my battles by now. Or just shut up.
But no! Of course not. It pains me to watch people eat the exact same food, over and over again, for months or even years. Isn’t it just so… boring?! I can’t even eat the same breakfast two days in a row. The only time dinner leftovers appeal to me is if they include something like mac and cheese or pork, and even then I still find a way to twist the dish around, usually by putting everything atop blue corn chips. Because nachos make the world go ’round.
Not sure what to have for dinner tonight? Just plop a ton of ingredients over chips. Turns that frown upside down.
So this was my attempt at reeling him out of the boring oatmeal rut. Seriously, I want someone who wants to eat pancakes or eggs with me on Saturday… not someone who says “I’d rather eat this bowl of gloppy paste.” What does that even mean?
It was also my attempt at recreating one of my most favorite childhood foods: Quaker strawberries and cream instant oatmeal. Now THAT is some oatmeal I can get behind. I still adore the stuff. Two packets, made with vanilla almond milk in the microwave and devoured. I totally treat myself to that like, once every few minutes.
Unfortunately… this isn’t that. But it’s pretty close. I actually found the texture of this baked oatmeal incredibly appealing. It was chewy but not soupy or wet. And then I poured some vanilla-infused cream over it and well, I don’t even know what to say about that. Besides… OMG.
Strawberry Banana Cream Baked Oatmeal Squares
[adapted from taste of home]
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
3/4 cup chopped strawberries (about 4 large berries)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray – I used a 10×7 dish, but an 8×8, 9×9, round cake pan or another size close to that will work too.
In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, mixing until combine. Measure out the cup of milk, then whisk in egg and vanilla extract. Add half and half to the milk mixture, then stir it into the dry oats. Mix in mashed banana and melted butter, then chopped strawberries, then scoop the batter into the baking dish. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the top is set. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with strawberries, bananas and milk or half and half infused with vanilla extract.
Note: If served immediately, squares may not hold together perfectly. If they are left to cool, they should hold together fine and be able to be eaten with your hands.
But a piece of bacon wouldn’t be so bad.