- Home cooked cereals are much more economical than ready to eat boxed cereals. They are easy to prepare and very nutritious.
- For cooking most cereals figure approximately 3 or 4 times as much water as cereal. Fine grains take a little more, and flaked cereals a little less. For longer cooking time, slightly more water is needed.
- Cooked cereal may be varied in a number of delicious ways. Use milk for cooking instead of water. The starch will swell slightly more when cooked in milk. Sweeten with brown sugar instead of white sugar, or use honey to sweeten. Add raisins, nuts, cinnamon, or chopped apples to cooked oatmeal.
- Leftover cooked cereal should not be wasted. It can be sliced when cold and fried in a little fat on a skillet. Serve with syrup. It can also be used in recipes that call for bread crumbs like meatloaf.
- Freeze any leftover pancakes or waffles. They can be popped into the toaster for another morning.
- Heat a waffle iron before pouring in batter to prevent sticking. A small amount of fat or spray may be needed to coat before putting on batch. Do not scrub iron with soap or abrasives. Use a damp cloth to clean it.
- Running late? Don’t buy a pack of donuts, keep self prepackaged homemade granola bags handy. You can also make some whole grain muffins and freeze them for those mornings you are running late. Remember the smoothie packs from unit 1? Put some of them together for running late mornings.
- Oatmeal is good for you. It’s rich in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, folate and potassium — and that’s before you add any fruit or flavorings. It can also help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. But when you’re standing in the cereal aisle, it quickly becomes clear that not all oatmeal is created equal. Here are the four oatmeal options:
Steel-cut oatmeal is the least processed of the bunch. A bowl of steel-cut oatmeal contains the most amount of fiber per serving, about 4g. It takes longer to cook than other types of oatmeal and the finished product is chewier than the oatmeal you may be most familiar with, which is made of rolled oats.
Old-fashioned oatmeal, or rolled oats, is often used in granola, muesli and oatmeal cookies. The oat flakes are thinner than steel-cut oats, which means they take less time to cook, but you sacrifice fiber for less prep time.
Quick-cooking oatmeal eliminates more prep time and the final bowl of oatmeal is smoother than steel-cut or old-fashioned — and again, each time you lose minutes off preparation, you lose fiber.
Instant oatmeal is convenient. It comes in pre-portioned packets, a variety of flavors, and you can make it with hot water from a kettle or in the microwave. If you prefer instant oatmeal, beware of the tradeoff, though — convenience equals added sodium and sugar.
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