Oats are great in that you can throw them in a variety of different dishes and they'll remain subtle. The versatility of oats is hard to argue with – the spectrum goes from beer stouts all the way to oatmeal. Plus, the benefits of oatmeal are almost unending. Oats are high-fiber seeds with about six grams of protein per serving, making them a favorite for most health-conscious individuals. They lower bad cholesterol and are naturally gluten free, so what's not to love?
For starters, gooey porridge is easy to tire of. When that happens, look here for skinny recipes to make with oatmeal (besides just throwing it in a bowl)!
1. Create your own oatmeal crumble to top off streusels and pies. If you're looking for more crunch and less goop, you could combine quick-cooking oats with some all-purpose flour, spices, unsalted butter and a little brown sugar to make a topping for fruit. Bake it in the oven for that delectable crunch and warm flavors. These simple baked pears would pair perfectly with your oatmeal topping.
2. Have casserole for breakfast. You'll always start the day off right when oatmeal is included, but sometimes the bowl of mush is just so unappealing. An oatmeal bake with fruit and Greek yogurt is an easy go-to, but what about an actual breakfast casserole with eggs and ham? Instead of putting sliced bread at the bottom of your baking dish in this Southwestern breakfast casserole, shake some quick oats to cover the bottom of your dish. The oats will soften and absorb some of those yummy spices in the egg mixture, and you'll have a new twist on that old breakfast casserole that uses sliced bread.
3. Make cookies healthy again! Who doesn't love a cookie right from the oven? Even better is when the fruits of your labor turn out to be delicious and healthy (hey, the fruits of your labor could even include fruit)! These peanut butter and jelly oatmeal cookies use ripe bananas, quick oats, reduced-sugar jelly, and high-in-protein peanut butter to make moist, mouthwatering cookies. Make them healthier by using fresh blueberries or raspberries instead of jelly. You could even throw in those breakfast packets of oatmeal to finally get rid of them. Not a PB+J fan? Try these Energy Oatmeal Cookies.
4. Make a meatloaf. Oats are often used as binding agents in meatloaves and crab cakes. Adding oatmeal will allow for all those juices and yummy spices to be absorbed. Replace the Italian breadcrumbs in this recipe with plain oatmeal or quick cooking oats for a healthier, high-fiber meatloaf. You could do this with burgers as well!
5. Add oatmeal to your favorite smoothie. So, you'd rather die than give up your morning smoothie, but you have all these oatmeal packets lying around and feel bad for not eating them. Instead of berating yourself about food waste, mix those suckers in with your favorite smoothie! The oats will act as a thickening agent and will help keep you full until your next meal. Add small amounts of oatmeal at a time until your desired thickness is achieved!
6. Forget fried chicken... The humble seed wins again with this one. Instead of racking up tons of calories with fried chicken, try dredging your chicken in an egg wash, then oats, chili powder and cumin. Bake it in the oven until golden brown and enjoy that same fried-chicken crunch, now with added health benefits!