Simple & Easy – Emergency Preparedness
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Food Storage Tips: Oatmeal for dummies

I grew up eating Quaker maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal. I hate to buy convenience food, and I had plenty of quick oats in storage, so I tried to figure out how to make oatmeal quickly in the morning. I read recipes for instant oatmeal, but the recipes sounded like a lot of work. It involved a blender and measuring everything out into little baggies.

I did finally figure it out. Here is the amazing secret recipe (ahem):

“Instant” microwave oatmeal

1/2 cup quick oats (old fashioned oats come out tasting chewier and aren’t like instant oatmeal)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 to 3/4 cups water (we like our oatmeal thick. Use more water for thinner oatmeal)
pancake syrup or brown sugar

Place ingredients into a bowl. Stir thoroughly so the salt is dissolved. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour syrup or spoon brown sugar on top to taste, stir. Serve with milk.

The salt is critical, in my opinion. It tastes like a bland pasty mush without salt. If the salt is unevenly dissolved it will taste salty in places and bland in other places.

I store the measuring cup and spoon in the oats container so it’s quicker to prepare in the morning. I made a special mark on the water measuring cup so the kids would know how much water there should be. Starting at about age 4 my kids could prepare this for themselves if I measured the water for them and handled the hot oatmeal as it came out of the microwave. It’s a good way to teach introductory cooking skills like measuring ingredients.

This is probably a “no duh” kind of recipe for most people. This is basically the microwave instructions on the quick oats box, except for flavoring it with pancake syrup. But it must not be that obvious, since so many people use the instant oatmeal. It really does cook up about as quick as the real instant oatmeal. And it’s a lot better than measuring out oatmeal into little baggies.

Ideas for other flavors: For fruit flavors, stir in some jam or jelly, or mash in a banana or stir in some raisins. The kids went through a “chocolate oatmeal” kick a year or so ago. We were out of pancake syrup so they stirred in chocolate syrup instead. It sounded weird to me until I remembered all of the chocolate cereals on the breakfast aisle. I guess chocolate oatmeal is moderately more healthy than those.

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