The convenience of a healthy, pre-made breakfast cannot be understated, especially when one wants to stay in bed until the last possible moment. And while the overnight refrigerator oats recipes were great in the summer, they’re not nearly as appealing now that the temps have dipped. That’s where your trusty slow cooker comes in. Lots of folks never think about using their slow cooker for breakfast, but I implore you to consider it. Here are a few ideas that may convince you to give it a try….
Comfy, cozy overnight oatmeal and hot cereal
Yes, you could microwave some instant oatmeal for a quick, hot breakfast. However, when you wake up to a kitchen that smells like real pumpkin or apples, cinnamon, maple syrup, raisins, nutmeg and oats, you’ll know why I recommend slow cooker oatmeal in the fall and winter months. You can also use other grains instead if you like (amaranth, quinoa or millet, for example) for delicious, nutritious variations on the theme. The best part about overnight oatmeal in the slow cooker is that it cooks while you are sleeping, of course. Second best: it’s quick to put together the night before, and leftovers are easily reheated in the microwave. For best results, follow a recipe the first time you make it, then improvise to suit your tastes. Here is a recipe to try—Oct. 29 is National Oatmeal Day—commit to celebrate the easy way by slow cooking your bowl o’ goodness!
Savory egg casseroles and crustless quiches
Did you know that it’s possible to cook egg dishes in the slow cooker? It’s true, and these easy concoctions are a great choice for weekend breakfasts or for entertaining. Slow cooked egg dishes don’t take all day—many times just 2 1/2 hours on LOW is what’s needed, which makes them ideal for brunch (plus cooking them this way frees up oven and stove space). An average slow cooker egg dish using 6-8 eggs will serve about 6 people. If you don’t eat it all the first day, it’s easily reheated later in the week for another easy breakfast option. Check online for recipes.
Hearty, homemade granola
Making your own granola is a great idea: it gives you ultimate control over ingredients, it’s endlessly customizable, unlike oven-made granola it won’t burn, it’s easy to throw together and it’s economical. Homemade granola makes a nice gift when packaged in a pretty container, too. I’ve got a nice recipe for slow cooker granola with almonds, dates and coconut on my blog, Gluten-Free Slow Cooking.
Compotes and other cooked fruit
I’m one of those people that adores cooked fruit of any kind, so I use my slow cooker to make these types of dishes frequently—especially in the fall and winter, of course. There’s no need to tend these easy dishes because the slow cooker does all the work. These are recipes that don’t necessarily take all day to cook, so be sure to read recipes carefully and plan accordingly. Fruit that is a little under-ripe is ok to use since it is cooking in liquid for quite some time (also the reason that dried fruits are used in these recipes many times). A cozy weekend at home would be an ideal time to put together one of these recipes—your house will smell divine and the resulting dish will be perfect for breakfast over yogurt, hot or cold cereal or as a side-dish with eggs. Cooked fruit is also great as a dessert—top it with a little ice cream, whipped cream or vanilla yogurt. Look online for recipe ideas.