Creative Ways to Get More Oatmeal into Your Diet & Tips on How to Prepare Oatmeal

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How to use oatmeal

Oatmeal — It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

Oatmeal is cheap, healthy and you probably have some in your pantry. Why limit yourself to oatmeal for breakfast?

Here are a bunch of creative oatmeal recipes for lunch and dinner, plus some creative dessert ideas.

Lunch or dinner recipes

Of course, your traditional breakfast oatmeal with brown sugar or fruit also can make a good lunch or dinner, but if you want a savory meal, here are some creative oatmeal recipes. First, you have to get past the idea that oatmeal has to be sweet. It’s plain and versatile in its natural state (unless you buy the pre-packaged flavored stuff, but that’s not really natural, is it?)

1. Oatmeal and a fried egg: One of my favorite quick lunches, this is a creative oatmeal recipe that’s as basic as it sounds. Cook some oatmeal. Fry an egg. Combine. Top with salt, soy sauce, hot sauce or whatever you fancy.

2. Substitute for rice: If you don’t have rice, don’t want rice or don’t want to wait 30 minutes for dinner, oatmeal can be a versatile substitute. Try it with stir-fry, Asian dishes, beans, gumbo or other favorites served with rice.

3. Use in meatballs or meatloaf: Meatball recipes often call for bread crumbs to hold the balls together. Substitute oatmeal for a different texture and a healthier meatball.

4. Make a savory topping: Use this creative oatmeal recipe to top salads, steamed vegetables, soups and more. Mix about four parts oatmeal with one part butter and one part Parmesan cheese, and add your favorite toppings. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Refrigerate, and it’s ready to go.

5. Use in bread: Most bread machines or bread recipe sites have creative oatmeal recipes for tasty bread.

6. Experiment: Try making plain oatmeal and adding your favorite cheeses, condiments, vegetables, whatever. I’m not saying every combination will be a culinary masterpiece, but your creative oatmeal recipe will be quick and healthy.

Dessert recipes

Oatmeal is more than a cookie ingredient. Here are some other ways to sneak oatmeal into your desserts.

1. Make a sweet topping: Much like the savory topping above, mix oatmeal with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes. You have a tasty topping for yogurt or fruit. You can even pretend ice cream is healthy when it has oatmeal on top.

2. Use in dessert breads, muffins or coffee cakes: Here’s a recipe for persimmon bread using oatmeal. Other creative oatmeal recipes for bread are available all over the Internet.

3. Use in crumble toppings for pies, cobblers and more: Again, I have some favorite recipes, but I’m partial to less sweet desserts than most. Find your own by visiting one of these popular recipe websites.

Enjoy, and let me know what else you concoct. I’ll add it to this story.