Banish breakfast boredom with these intriguing ways to spice up your oatmeal.
Begin with the steps below, then finish with one of the variations that follow.
In a small pot over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk (cow's, soy, or almond), and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally, until oats are thick, about 5 minutes. If indicated, stir in additional ingredients until warmed through, then pour into a bowl and add suggested toppings:
Blackberry Pie Oatmeal
Near the end of cooking, stir in 1/3 cup blackberries. Top with: 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, a few more blackberries, and 1 crushed graham cracker
Pumpkin–Cottage Cheese Oatmeal
Near the end of cooking, stir in 1/4 cup canned pumpkin and 1/4 cup cottage cheese. Top with: toasted sliced almonds and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
Near the end of cooking, stir in 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon shredded coconut. Top with: a few chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, and a sprinkle of coconut
PB&J Crunch Oatmeal
Follow basic recipe. Top with: 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter, 1 tablespoon jam, and a sprinkle of granola
Bacon and Cheese Oatmeal
Follow basic recipe. Top with: 1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled, 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese, 2 teaspoons maple syrup or balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or rosemary (optional)
Bread Pudding Oatmeal
Cut a slice of fruity bread, such as cinnamon raisin, into cubes. When oatmeal just starts to bubble and thicken, add bread cubes. Stir in 1 tablespoon raisins. Top with: a pinch each of brown sugar and cinnamon and 1 tablespoon cream
Fluffy Banana Oatmeal
Add a thinly sliced very ripe banana to oats at the start of cooking. As oatmeal bubbles, whip the oats vigorously with a fork until banana slices melt away. Top with: 2 tablespoons chopped salted peanuts and a drizzle of honey
Cooking tip: The basic version is easily doubled and can be made in advance. To reheat, add a few tablespoons of milk to the oatmeal and microwave 1 minute. Stir, and heat for another minute.