Plum Topped Baked Oatmeal

by Kelly on September 19, 2009

When I was in college I thrived off being busy.  My days were a whirlwind of classes, extra curricular activities, sorority functions, internships and part-time jobs.  Call me odd but trying to be a wonder college student was my kind of adrenaline rush.  I often did some of my best work late in the night after a full day of back to back engagements and obligations.  Fast forward 4 1/2 years and perpetually slammed is no longer how I like to live.  I’m not sure if it’s my age or a refined outlook based on more experience in the world but I currently find myself craving balance.  It’s no longer about pushing myself to the breaking point, but living a life where work, hobbies, social time, and down time all play an equal role.

So now that I’m trying to simultaneously juggle a hectic full-time job, teaching part-time, raising a dog and all of life’s other obligations, I’m feeling a bit out of my element.  Some things I have had to let go of a little bit.  I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that there will sometimes be dirty dishes sitting in the sink, that my house may not always be clean and organized to Martha Stewart standards, or that I might be just too exhausted to go to the gym.  One thing I’m not willing to compromise on, however, is cooking for myself.

Call me cheesy but it’s both my escape and my way of showing self care.  Of course, I’ve had to come to terms with fact that if I want to cook up homemade meals and keep my sanity that perhaps I need to do some things a little differently.  One of the things I’ve been trying to do is cook one dish meals that keep well so I can eat them all week long.  One such dish is baked oatmeal.   I’ve been making baked oatmeal for awhile and what I love about it is that there are almost endless variations.  Some are more dense like a breakfast bar while others have more of the creamy, stick-to-your-ribs consistency of traditional stove top oatmeal.  This recipe falls into the latter camp.  Adapted from a Cooking light recipe, a creamy base of oats, brown sugar, apple sauce, milk, and eggs is dotted with cinnamon chips for a flavor punch.  It’s then topped with halved prune plums for a look that’s a cross between a rustic fruit tart and a creamy oatmeal.  The result was something I didn’t mind eating all week long.  It had a surprisingly eggy texture that reminded me of an indulgent bread pudding and the cinnamon chips gave it a flavor profile similar to a nice coffee cake.  But the plums were what really took it over the top, juicy and sweet, they yielded a lovely syrup after being baked.  Whether you’re starved for time or looking for a recipe that gives in-season plums the opportunity to shine this one is a keeper.

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Plum Topped Oatmeal
Serves 4
Ingredients:
-2 cups rolled oats
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-Pinch salt
-3 tablespoons cinnamon chips
-1 1/2 cups low fat milk
-1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-2 tablespoons melted butter
-1 large egg beaten
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-5 prune plums, sliced and pitted

Method:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon chips in medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the the milk, apple sauce, butter, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir the oat and milk mixtures together and pour into a loaf pan or 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the sliced prune plums cut side up. Bake for 35 minutes. You’re looking for a nice crust and softened plums, but still a creamy oatmeal-like interior. Serve warm.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren September 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm

This baked oatmeal both sounds and looks lovely! I’ll have to give it a try.

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sherri September 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Yum. I’ll have to try this. I love oatmeal but I’ve never baked it.

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Elina September 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

I love baked oatmeal but for some reason haven’t made it in a while (maybe it was the warmer weather?) I’ll have to give this recipe a try. It sounds great! Hope that things slow down a bit and you find the balance you’re looking for :)

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The Duo Dishes September 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm

What a great breakfast dish for a crowd.

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Debbie September 21, 2009 at 7:41 pm

I’m a creature of habit and have oatmeal every morning for breakfast. I change it up using different fruits. I have never baked it though. It sounds delicious – I’ll have to give that a try!

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Natasha - 5 Star Foodie September 22, 2009 at 9:26 am

This sounds like a wonderful breakfast! The addition of plums is excellent!

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Guava September 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm

mm… breakfast…

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Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries September 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm

That looks absolutely amazing! I was the same way in college (I only graduated in May haha) for the most part. Toward the end, after living in Europe, I got more lax about the thriving-off-constant-motion thing… And now, I don’t know how I used to do the all-nighters and all that jazz. It’s so important to make time for ourselves–and I don’t think there’s a more beneficial way to do so than by cooking :)

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CaSaundra September 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Oh yum! You always surprise me with an unexpected, but great recipe! I have tried oatmeal everything, but not baked–yet!

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Kelly September 25, 2009 at 11:34 am

Lauren – Thanks. It’s definitely worth a try as it’s delicious, (relatively) healthy, and easily adaptable – it would be equally as good with peaches as with plums.

Sherri – Baked oatmeal is great. This recipe is one of the closest I have found (texture-wise) to stovetop oatmeal, but there is really a lot of variation out there depending on what you’re in the mood for.

Elina – Thanks. I agree that I definitely haven’t made baked oatmeal in awhile. I think for me it was a combination of a couple of things: 1, the warmer weather and 2, I feel like it got SO much buzz among health bloggers and like so many things that get so hot they tend to burn out.

The duo dishes – That’s a great observation. I honestly didn’t even think of it that way (since I almost always cook for just 1 or 2), but it definitely would be a lot easier than cooking a giant pot of oatmeal for a crowd.

Debbie – I can understand being a creature of habit for breakfast, especially if you’re often rushed, this is definitely a great adaptation and one you can savor all week long.

Natasha & Guava – Thanks…:-) I always appreciate you both stopping by.

Sarah – Isn’t it funny how we change.

CaSaundra – Awww, you’re always too sweet hun. Baked is definitely a great variation.

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Miss Meat and Potatoes September 27, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Oh my gosh this looks amazing. I adore variations on oatmeal and am dying to try this!

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Karine September 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Your oatmeal sounds delicious! A perfect way to start the day :)

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Kelly September 29, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Miss Meat and Potatoes – Thank you.

Karine – Thanks as well. I do agree that it is a great way to start the day.

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Jen (Modern Beet) September 30, 2009 at 2:20 am

this sounds so yummy! who’d have thought you could bake oatmeal?!

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Kelly October 2, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Jen – I know, but it is SO worth it.

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