I was never a fan of cooked oatmeal for breakfast. I've always loved oatmeal cookies and granola and things like that, but something about the texture of cooked oatmeal was very off-putting to me. But I knew how good oatmeal was for me, so I kept trying. And then one day, I discovered steel-cut oats (Irish oats). What a revelation.
If you've never had steel-cut oats (as opposed to rolled oats, the typical kind), the difference is in the processing of the grain, sort of like the difference between brown and white rice. They take longer to cook, but they have a nutty flavor and a much more appealing texture (to me). Because they take longer to cook, I find that baking them in the oven is more convenient. I can make this recipe on the weekend and have several servings left over for weekday breakfasts (it's easily reheated in the microwave).
This recipe is so customizable - you can add and subtract ingredients as you wish. What I've listed below is my favorite combination.
1 C. steel cut oats
3 C. milk
1 apple or pear, diced (I leave the peel on)
1/2 C. chopped dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, cherries, or dates - raisins seem kind of boring for this)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 C. chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, or pecans)
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Pour everything into a baking dish (I use a 9x9 pan), stir, and bake at 375 until liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes.
Serves 4-6. This recipe is easily doubled - just use a 9x13 pan.