Sunday, November 8, 2009

The College Microwave Basics: Oatmeal

Oatmeal gets a lot of hate. Why? It is delicious, shouldn't that be the path to love instead of hate? Not only is it wonderful to eat, but apparently decently healthy, as well (until you add chocolate, but that comes later). Also, like ramen, oatmeal is a great base for a bunch of different flavors.

So, here are the basics: For one person pour about a cup of oatmeal in a microwavable bowl. Add enough water so that some of the oatmeal on top floats. Then, and this is the trick, add some salt. Put it in the microwave for about 1 min -1.5 min on High. Make sure that the level of oatmeal/water isn't too high in relation to the top of the bowl or else it might explode over the top, which = a lot of microwave cleaning. After you've microwaved it, take the oatmeal out and stir it to see the general cook...edness of it and to see if you want more water/salt. I'm one of the people who loves stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal, so less water is better for me. Tada! Oatmeal (even less complicated than ramen.)

What to do now that you have oatmeal?

The Classics: Pour milk or cream on top with or without brown sugar and raisins. If you do use raisins though, try mixing them in before your cook the oatmeal so that they become less chewy and texturally out of place. Add cinnomon.

The Fruits: You can add most any fruit to your oatmeal. Try fresh berries if you have them or even add dried fruits and treat them as raisins. Bananas, pears, apples, peaches, or plums all work really well. Fruits with higher water levels such as watermelon or grapes might not work quite as well, but if you want you can try it.

With the bananas, pears, etc. you can also caramelize them with your iron. Slice your fruit and spread some sugar on it. Put them evenly spaced on a buttered or oiled piece of foil big enough that you can fold it in half and roll up the edges. Iron the foil packet on the Cotton (usually highest) setting, flipping the packet over about every thirty seconds. After you start to smell the apples, cook each side about three more times and then check to make sure that they are browning. If they are not, repeat this process until they are pretty soft and nicely browned. IMPORTANT NOTE: because this deals with oil, make sure that the packet is tightly sealed while you cook it, otherwise oil will leak everywhere. Also, when your iron has cooled make sure that you unplug and clean it!

Throw the fruit on your oatmeal and enjoy.

The Less Healthy: Chocolate. Pretty self-explanatory, chocolate makes everything better. This one is kind of weird, but if you have any egg custard or pumpkin pie filling those are amazing with oatmeal. A little molasses also never hurt anyone.

Get Creative: If you do have the iron, try making cookie bars.
  • About 1-1.5 cups oatmeal
  • Chocolate chips, amount is a personal preference
  • About a tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • butter, room temperature, enough to decently mix in with the oatmeal
Put everything together and mix it well. Take the mixture and put it in a foil packet similar to the one for the fruits. Try this time, though, to make the whole thing very rectangular. This time however, try ironing the packet at a lower level than cotton, so that the egg can get cooked the whole way through. Flip the packet over every 1-2 min, but ALWAYS be in the room and keeping an eye on it! After about 5 flips, peel open the packet to see how brown the cookies are if very brown, unpeel it entirely and put it on a plate. Put that in the microwave for about 20 seconds just to cook any remaining raw egg. Cut into bars and tada! These were a bit chewy, but pretty good.

Feel free to post how you eat oatmeal in the comments! Omnom!


  1. I love oatmeal...tasty and cheap as hell! For the same price of one of those 6-packs of processed instant packets, I can get a drum of oats that will easily last me a month. I usually stay simple with some mixed in brown sugar or fruit preserves from the farmer's market (so goooood!) but sometimes I get fancy and swipe an apple/raisins from the dining hall for some fruit to stir in.

  2. You are a genius! I've been meaning to try a little oatmeal trick-- haven't given it a shot, but you might want to experiment. Carve out the center of an apple to create a bowl, and cook the oatmeal in the center with brown sugar a cinnamon: a "baked" apple and oatmeal! Yum!

  3. I'd like to make those oatmeal cookies, but I don't have an iron. Would they work in a toaster oven?

  4. Found this blog from tastespotting--The iron thing is so cool, wish I knew about that while i was in college. Kudos!