Thursday, January 3, 2013

Savory Oatmeal

It's a new year and I'm sure many of you have resolutions.  I know I do.  This year, I have resolved to actually take vitamins.  I buy them, I take them for a week, and then they just sit there in a cabinet, never to be seen again.  But this year is going to be different!  I'm sure many of you have resolutions that are health related.  So today, I thought I would talk a little bit about oatmeal.

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  A lot of people don't eat breakfast, but I HAVE to eat breakfast every morning.  I haven't always been like this.  I made myself eat right when I got up and eventually, I started to be hungry right when I woke up.  Also, making a healthy choice for your first meal sets you up to make healthy choices for the rest of the day.  In comes oatmeal.  As I'm sure you have heard, oatmeal lowers cholesterol.  Basically, your stomach can't digest it, so it sits in your gut and acts like a sponge, soaking up bad stuff.  Then, when your body gets rid of it, the oatmeal takes all that bad stuff with it.  As Olie says (my husband who is in med school) "it prevents your body from recycling its own cholesterol." Pretty cool right?  

I pretty much eat oatmeal every day.  But here's the catch: I mostly eat savory oatmeal.  I tell people this and they get super grossed out, but if you think about it, oatmeal is a grain just like rice or pasta.  It is a neutral food that tastes great with almost any topping.  For people who have written off oatmeal as sickly sweet and sticky, here are some new ideas for a healthy breakfast.  (sorry these photos are grainy, I've been taking these photos for a while before I had my new camera).

Quick pro tip (yes, when it comes to oatmeal, I am a pro): I start all of my savory oatmeal combinations with a dollop of Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a bit of cheese.  The Greek yogurt is a must (I'm trying to drop the cheese, I have a cheese problem).  The Greek yogurt makes it creamy and delicious.  Then you are ready for toppings.  

A classic pairing: spinach and tomato.  I sautéed the spinach and tomatoes in a little garlic and olive oil, and then added them to my oats.  Here, I used mozzarella cheese.

This was a very happy morning: salmon and peas.  I love peas, I always have a bag in my freezer, and the salmon was leftover from the night before.  Here, I didn't add any cheese, just the Greek yogurt, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
This is the more common breakfast concoction: whatever frozen vegetable is in the freezer plus a scrambled egg.  Here I used pepper and onion blend (found in the freezer section), peas, green onion, a scrambled egg, and cheddar cheese.  I love egg in oatmeal.  A fried egg is also really good.

This one has my new favorite vegetable in it: kale.  There are also peas in it.  Peas are really great because they take about 2 seconds to cook.  I saute the kale for a few minutes and add the peas right at the end.  I also added green onions and mozzarella here.

And here is what I ate this morning: spiral ham, mushrooms, and onion.  The ham is leftover from a family dinner last night (my sister-in-law won it in a game of Dirty Santa.  She played really dirty to get it).  I sautéed the mushrooms and onion in a little butter (a very little) and then threw the ham in at the last minute to get it hot.  I also used cheddar cheese here.
What makes this a quick and easy breakfast are the frozen vegetables, the use of leftovers, and the fact that I use quick oats.  There is a lot of debate about steel cut oats versus quick oats or rolled oats.  Opt for speed.  You might get a little more fiber out of steel cut oats, but they take 15 to 20 minutes to cook and they are pricey.  You are still getting tons of health benefits from regular oats.  

Come up with your own combinations.  Squash and zucchini? Sounds amazing!  Tuna and broccoli? Yes please.  Basically anything you eat the night before can be thrown over a serving of oatmeal.  

For all of you naysayers out there, I also have lots of great sweet oatmeal options.  Coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. As a brand new convert to oatmeal (I take mine with honey, cinammon, and ground flaxseed), I really appreciate your take on this. I have been hearing about savory oatmeals for a while - from someone, but this puts a picture on it, and makes it seem really yummy. After all, you are so right about it just being another grain.

    Probably going to try some of these for dinner!