Breakfast, Oatmeal, Recipes

Fantastical Food Fight: Everyday Stovetop Oatmeal

Everyday stovetop oatmeal… don’t settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it’s practically hands free, so you can make it while you’re getting the rest of your day in order. 

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

When I saw that the Fantastical Food Fight theme for January was oatmeal, I may have squealed. You see, I love oatmeal SO much. I agonized over what I was going to make for this fun event. A new baked oatmeal recipe? A new overnight oat recipe? Finally try my hand at savory oats (that my husband thinks sound disgusting)? But then I talked some sense into myself. Don’t make it complicated! Many days I just make a bowl of oatmeal on the stovetop. And I’ve never shared my method on the blog! Perfecttt!

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

I know you can make oatmeal in the microwave, or you can use those instant oat packets, or even use those fancy single serving tubs. There’s a time and a place for all of those (I keep instant oats at work for emergencies, for instance). But most days? I make a quick batch of my everyday stovetop oats for breakfast. My son LOVES oatmeal mornings and so do I. What I love about these oats is how easy they are–literally dump, stir, cook, forget it (set a timer)! I let these oats cook on my stove when I’m running around the house getting ready in the morning… and they are so simple and pretty much foolproof. I also love how creamy they are! Half milk, half water is my preferred liquid ratio for taste and creaminess. I also add some chia seeds and the consistency is so great! I know it’s weird to say oatmeal is luxurious, but these oats are! Lastly, I love how these oats are the perfect vehicle for your favorite toppings. You can find an ultimate list of oatmeal toppings in the recipe notes below, but for starters… here are some of my favorite combos. Fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, and a touch of brown sugar. S’mores. Peanut butter and strawberry jam. Sliced bananas, sliced almonds, toasted coconut, and maple syrup. Fresh strawberries, almond butter, and honey. The possibilities are endless! The toppings in the pictures are diced Bosc pear, sliced almonds, and dark brown sugar. SO good. Enjoy, friends! Hope you hop on my oatmeal bandwagon. 🙂

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

one year ago: Annette’s Layered Chicken Enchiladas
two years ago: Amish Cheeseburger Soup
three years ago: Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins
four years ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
five years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
six years ago: Lasagna Soup
seven years ago: Whole-Wheat Corn Bread

Find more oatmeal recipes at the link below!

Everyday Stovetop Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds**
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • any desired toppings***

Directions:

Combine milk, water, oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. Do NOT stir… resist the urge! Stir only when the oatmeal starts bubbling, usually about 6-7 minutes on my stove. Allow to cook until oatmeal reaches desired consistency.

Remove from heat and immediately transfer oatmeal to a bowl. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

Recipe as written serves one adult. You can scale it up to serve more, or scale it down if the serving size is too big for you. When I’m making some for my toddler as well, I add an extra 2 tablespoons oats, 2 tablespoons milk, and 2 tablespoons water. It doesn’t sound like much but makes enough for him (and he probably gets a little of my portion as well).

*MILK… I usually have both dairy milk and almond milk in my fridge, so this oatmeal works with either. I usually use skim or 2% milk OR unsweetened regular or vanilla almond milk. Any kind of milk should be fine.

**CHIA…The chia seeds help thicken the oatmeal and give it a great consistency. A similar consistency can be achieved with flax or hemp seeds, but I wouldn’t substitute nuts in this step. But you can add them as a topping.

***TOPPINGS…

  • Fruit: I prefer fresh fruit instead of frozen in my oatmeal. Frozen blueberries or cranberries are the exception–just add them at the beginning of the cooking time. My favorite fruits for oatmeal include: any berries, sliced bananas, diced peaches, diced pears, and grated apples. Sauteed apples are good too, but usually too time consuming for busy mornings.
  • Dried fruit: Any kind! Soak them in the cooked oatmeal before eating. It’ll change your life!!
  • Jam: Any kind! Usually when I add jam I find I don’t need other sweetener.
  • Nuts: Any kind! Sliced almonds are my go-to.
  • Nut butter: Lots of people love nut butter in oatmeal… I personally am a little iffy on it because it feels too heavy. I can occasionally do a little peanut or almond butter with sliced bananas, or with jam for a pb&j twist.
  • Coconut: Bonus points if it’s toasted… sometimes I toast extra for a recipe so I can have some on hand for oatmeal.
  • Chocolate chips: A fun indulgence… usually means I don’t need any other sweetener, or just a tiny bit.
  • Sweetener: I like about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup in my oatmeal. My husband uses more like a tablespoon, and I don’t give our toddler any most days. You do you!

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Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars are an easy no-bake afternoon snack or lunch box addition. Plus, they last nearly a month in the fridge and even longer in the freezer, so make a batch today and be set for awhile if you can restrain yourself. 🙂

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

I am so excited about these chewy granola bars, you guys! They are simply the best. I’ve shared other granola bar recipes on my blog before, but these take the cake. Literally. I think I’d have one before I had a piece of cake, if only because they are healthy AND chocolately at the same time. Win win, I say!

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

In the past, homemade chewy granola bars just haven’t cut it for me because they’ve included ingredients I want to avoid on a normal basis [corn syrup] or because they’ve been so full of liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup that they’ve just been sticky and hard to eat on the go. So one day I was thinking about what could make chewy granola bars better [I’m in the car alot… this is what I do when I’m not paying attention to my book on CD–ha!] and it dawned on me. Coconut oil! Duh. Everyone’s favorite trendy all-purpose health/beauty/cooking product of choice these days.  So I gave it a whirl and was SO pleased with the results. These granola bars hold together well, are easy to cut, and just taste amazing. For those who are curious… they don’t really taste much like coconut, for better or worse–it’s just a hint, and it’s almost more the smell than anything.

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you make them–note that I said “when,” not “if”–be sure to follow the instructions to a T in regard to boiling the honey, brown sugar, and salt. It’s similar to making candy in that you need the mixture to come to a boil so that it gets to the soft ball stage to set. Then you just mix everything up, add your mix-ins, and spread it in the pan. Simple! For this batch, my mix-ins were chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chunks. There’s just something about dark chocolate chunks that makes everything better, righttt?! It practically goes without saying, but you can obviously use whatever dried fruit or nuts or chocolate suits your fancy. I think I might make a batch this weekend and have some white chocolate chips burning a hole in my pantry! 🙂

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you take these yummy chewy granola bars to work or your kids take them to school, I guarantee that they’ll be the talk of the lunchroom. They look pretty similar to the storebought kind, but just have a homemade appeal that will make people super jealous. Ben’s even shared some with his colleagues to spread the love… the granola bar love, that is! Enjoy, friends! Happy Friday! 🙂

one year ago: Oreo Popcorn
two years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
three years ago: Tangy Chicken Pasta

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24
  • Print

[adapted slightly from Money Saving Mom]
Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed [or wheat germ, wheat bran, or more rolled oats]
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins of your choice [I used 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts–you can use dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc.]
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or wax paper, and grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, flaxseed, and mix-ins. In a saucepan, stir together honey, brown sugar, and salt. Turn heat onto medium-low, then stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 60 seconds, then remove from heat and gently mix in coconut oil and peanut butter [be careful of splashes!]. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix to combine.

Press mixture into prepared pan, then evenly distribute chocolate chunks over top. If you mix the chocolate in, it will melt. Press into granola mixture with a spatula then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Cut into bars and wrap in aluminum foil or wax paper for easy transport. Granola bars freeze well and stay fresh in the refrigerator.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Tropical Cake Mix Cookies

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. During fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from August 23, 2012

I’m all in favor of cooking and baking from scratch, but sometimes using the dreaded processed product or two isn’t so bad. In fact, sometimes using a little something out of the ordinary is not only fun and tasty, but helpful too. Like when you’re baking for 80 for a church event… mhmm, helpful is always good in those circumstances. In those cases, I like to rely on a little thing called cake mix. Not for making a cake, mind you–cake for 80 isn’t really my thing–but for cookies. Normally, cake mix cookies are made out of Funfetti and are pretty much just sprinklicious sugar bombs. Not these cookies. Well, the Funfetti part at least. [No guarantees about the sugar bomb thing… can’t most cookies be described that way?]

Tropical Cake Mix Cookies | thepajamachef.com

Tropical Cake Mix Cookies are made with fluffy yellow cake mix, tropical trail mix, white chocolate chips, and loads of coconut for a taste of vacation even at the start of a busy school year. These two-bite cookies are incredibly addicting, so make sure you have a plan for them when you make them… Otherwise you might wind up eating them one after another without even realizing it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! The soft cookie combined with crunchy nuts and tantalizing tropical dried fruit like papaya and pineapple will get you every time! If you have nut allergies, just sub out the trail mix for a tropical dried fruit blend.  Enjoy!

one year ago: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
two years ago: OTT: Pork Chops with Balsamic Blackberry Salad + Orzo

Tropical Cake Mix Cookies

  • Servings: about 4 dozen cookies
  • Print

from Averie Cooks

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract [or coconut or almond for a little extra goodness!]
  • 1 – 15 ounce box of yellow cake mix
  • 6-12 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 cup tropical trail mix, finely diced [mine was from Walmart and had pineapple, papaya, raisins, cranberries, almonds, cashews, etc. in it]
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined–mixture does not have to be creamed.

With mixer running on low, slowly add in cake mix until cookie dough is smooth. Add flour tablespoon by tablespoon to solidify cookie dough. The more flour used, the more cake-like the cookies will be. I used about 3-4 tablespoons.

Next, fold in coconut flakes, trail mix, and white chocolate chips. Dough will be very sticky.

Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. At the end of that time, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper or a silpat, or spraying lightly with cooking spray.

After dough has chilled, it will still be sticky but much easier to work with and will not spread so much during baking. Scoop dough out in generous 1 tablespoon balls, rolling between greased hands before placing 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops just barely look done. Let cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes, or until cookies are stable enough to be moved. This allows the cookies to firm up a bit as well as cook a little more on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all dough is used up, returning mixing bowl to refrigerator in between batches.

Store on the counter in a covered container for a week [if they last that long!] or in the freezer up to three months.

Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Tropical Cake Mix Cookies

UPDATE: recipe now on my blog. check it out 🙂

Cookies! Cake Mix Cookies! Easy and delicious, right?

But not just any cake mix cookies… TROPICAL Cake Mix Cookies. Sorry to shout, they are just awesome. Check out the recipe I’m sharing over at Today’s Housewife right now! 🙂

Main Dishes, Pork, Recipes

Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce

My new favorite way to eat pork! Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce. Yum.You have GOT to try this recipe. I don’t care if you never make any other recipe from my blog ever. If you make one thing, make these pork chops. They are just that good. Your life will be infinitely better. I promise. If you’re a vegetarian–no excuses either, because you can make just the sauce and be happy with your life, too. Just cook some tofu or beans up in a ‘lil olive oil in lieu of the pork chops and proceed as planned. And plan to love ’em.

This may be my new favorite way to eat pork, especially because it’s an easy company recipe. Though it looks complex, it’s real quite simple to make and it is so flavorful. Now, I’m not normally a red wine kinda gal, but this red wine sauce is sweet, the tang of the wine balanced out by the plump dried fruit.   The sauce was so good I was eating it by the spoonful! Served atop tender, juicy pork, this is a meal not to be missed. Enjoy!

Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

simplified from Martha Stewart Living, February 2004

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups assorted dried fruits [Martha suggests pitted prunes, apricots, and cherries; we used about 1 cup apricots + 1/2 cup orange flavored cranberries]

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine flour, pepper, and cinnamon. Set aside 2 tablespoons. On a plate or in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle mixture over pork chops, turning to coat. Brush off extra. Pour oil in a large skillet over medium heat.When oil is hot, add pork chops and brown until they are cooked through. Be sure to watch them so they don’t dry out or burn. Transfer pork chops to a [clean] plate or baking dish. Turn heat up to high, then add wine and cook to deglaze pan, constantly scraping up the brown bits. In a measuring cup, whisk together chicken broth with flour mixture, then pour into skillet. While constantly stirring, slowly add dried fruit to pan and cook until sauce has thickened, approximately 15 minutes. If desired, after about 12-13 minutes, add the pork chops back to the pan to warm up for a couple minutes before serving.

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite “company” dinner?