Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

Healthy, filling, make-ahead breakfast for the entire week!

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Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal | A Nerd Cooks

I have good intentions. I really do.

Like, every weekday I intend to get up early enough to make myself a healthy breakfast before running out the door. Does this always happen? Definitely not.

Meal prepping really helps with this issue. I make a big batch of something on Sunday afternoons (like these Make-Ahead Omelet Muffins), portion it out, and then all I have to do is grab something from the fridge on my way out the door.

This winter, slow cooker oatmeal has been my go-to. Mix some ingredients up in the slow cooker, set it, and forget it. And you can change up the flavors however you see fit, which helps to prevent breakfast boredom. Plus, it’s healthy. Win-win-win. Just heat the oatmeal up in the microwave and you’re off and running.

Before making this for the first time, I had concerns about how the consistency of the oatmeal would hold up over the course of a work week. No need to worry, though! Because the steel cut oats retain their slightly chewy texture, rather than just turning to mush.
Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal | A Nerd Cooks

To make the most basic form of slow cooker steel cut oatmeal, you’ll need (yields 6 servings):

  • 1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 cups milk and/or water (cow’s milk, almond milk, water, and a combination of any of those 3 work well*)

Optional add-ins:

  • Spices: cinnamon, pumpkin spice, etc.
  • Sweeteners: maple syrup (the real stuff, please!), agave nectar, honey, brown sugar
  • Toppings: nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit

For the basic version, place the steel cut oats, salt, and milk/water in a greased (either butter or cooking spray) slow cooker and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low. Stir everything around once or twice during the cooking process.

If you’d like to dress this oatmeal up a bit, feel free to add spices and/or sweeteners of your choice along with all of the other ingredients. I generally don’t add any of the suggested toppings until I’m ready to eat.

*Other non-dairy milks–such as coconut–may also work, though I haven’t tried using them

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal | A Nerd Cooks

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal | A Nerd Cooks
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Chai Spice Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Sweet, spicy, and studded with dark chocolate: these muffins are perfect for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or tea.Chai Spiced Chocolate Chunk Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

So, there have been a lot of muffins (see Apple Oat Streusel and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip) with big Fall flavors  ’round these parts lately.  For this I will not apologize.  Also can we talk about how my computer does not recognize “streusel” as being an actual word?

Continuing on the Fall flavor train, these muffins are pretty aggressively spiced, resulting in prominent chai spice flavor.  I feel like pumpkin spice gets all the action, but we shouldn’t forget about chai.  It’s spicy and warm, and perfect for this time of year.Chai Spiced Chocolate Chunk Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe is based on the one from these Bakery Style Double Chocolate Muffins.

You’ll need (makes 16-18 muffins):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for a couple of minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix well.

With the mixer on low speed, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and yogurt.

Fold in the the chopped chocolate.

Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them all the way to the top. Bake the muffins at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.  This step is crucial to getting those high-domed, bakery style muffin tops.

Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 15 more minutes, or until slightly browned on top and a toothpick/knife, when inserted in the center of each muffin, comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chai Spiced Chocolate Chunk Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Chai Spiced Chocolate Chunk Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Apple Oat Streusel Muffins

These muffins are moist, tender, and full of apples and fall flavors.Apple Oat Streusel Muffins | A Nerd CooksYes, it’s muffins again.  If you’ll recall, I shared these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with you all a couple of weeks ago.

But now we’re back with another really great fall flavor combination: apples and cinnamon.  They’re really tender, and an unrealistic part of me likes to think that they’re sort of healthy because they’re full of apples, coconut oil, and oats. See other apple and cinnamon-related goodness here: Apple Crisp.

This recipe comes from Celebrating Sweets.

You’ll need (makes 12 muffins):

For the muffins – 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup cooked plain oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped apple (I used Gala and left the skin on)

For the streusel –

  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, brown sugar, eggs, oatmeal, and applesauce.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.  Add the apple and stir until combined.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups.

Make the streusel – In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles wet sand.

Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean.  Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Apple Oat Streusel Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins are moist and tender, full of pumpkin flavor, and studded with mini chocolate chips.Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | A Nerd CooksThough I generally use pumpkin in my cooking and baking year-round, it’s now officially Fall.  It’s that time of year where we all turn into basic bitches.  Pumpkin recipes are fully acceptable.  Prepare yourselves.

Actually, I take that back.  Sort of.  I’m going to try to exercise some amount of restraint this year.  If I can’t limit the overall quantity, I’ll at least make an effort to scatter non pumpkin recipes throughout the coming months.Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Pumpkin and chocolate really do play well together, though, and are perfect in these muffins.

See this pumpkin cheesecake (with an Oreo crust and chocolate bourbon sauce!) and these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for more examples.  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe is slightly adapted from Sweet and Savoury Pursuits.

You’ll need (makes 12 muffins):

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil (or apple sauce)
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for on top of muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together .  Set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, combine the sugars, eggs, oil, and pumpkin puree until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.  Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups (they will be pretty full).  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | A Nerd CooksPumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Coconut Zucchini Bread

Sweet and moist, with a slightly chewy texture from the coconut, this quick bread is perfect for breakfast or a snack.Coconut Zucchini Bread | A Nerd Cooks

This bread is great for anyone who isn’t quite willing to let go of summer produce just yet.  It has everything you’d expect from zucchini bread, plus some chewiness and additional sweetness from the coconut.  It makes an excellent snack or breakfast.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Crumb Kitchen.

You’ll need (makes 1 loaf):

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (~1 medium zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbs turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top of bread (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×15-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, combine the shredded zucchini, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt, egg, and vanilla, mixing well.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until things are just combined.  Add the coconut and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula as needed.  Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the batter in an even layer, if desired.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing it to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Coconut Zucchini Bread | A Nerd Cooks

Sweet Potato Waffles with Candied Pecans

These subtly sweet and spicy Sweet Potato Waffles are brought to you as a part of #WaffleWeek2016. Sweet Potato Waffles with Candied Pecans | A Nerd CooksI’m really struggling with not rushing into the next season.  On the one hand, I’m beyond excited for cooler weather, and really enjoy the foods and flavors of Fall.  Plus I love all of the things that this time of year signals the start of: lazy Saturdays spent watching college football (i.e., Sean watching and me just being lazy with the dog), hockey season, deer hunting, and pumpkin everything (#noshame).

On the other hand, early and mid-September are not technically Fall.  It’s still hot out, and the summer produce is still abundant.  Plus, what’s the rush?

Suffice it to say, you’re likely going to see an interesting mix of posts from me this month.  With warm, spicy flavors one day and things like fresh, grilled seafood the next.

Is anyone else out there struggling with this?Sweet Potato Waffles with Candied Pecans | A Nerd CooksToday we’re leaning toward the warm, spicy end of the spectrum.  These waffles are tender and flavorful.  The spices complement the subtle sweetness of the sweet potato, while the candied pecans add crunch and make these waffles really special.Sweet Potato Waffles with Candied Pecans | A Nerd Cooks

You’ll need:

For the candied pecans –

  • 1 cup pecan pieces (or whatever nut you’d like)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs butter

For the waffles (makes 4 large waffles)-

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree (canned or 1 medium sweet potato, roasted and mashed)
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tbs butter, melted

To make the candied pecans – Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.  Add the pecan pieces, sugar, and butter to a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Stir frequently.  Once the sugar starts to melt, stir constantly until all of the nuts are coated and all of the sugar has melted.

Spread the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, quickly separating them with two spatulas.  Allow them to cool completely before breaking them apart.  Set aside.

To make the waffles – In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.  Set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the milk, pureed sweet potato, egg yolks, and melted butter.  Whisk together until everything is combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until things are just combined.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  You can do this by hand, but I recommend using an electric hand mixer.  Fold the stiff egg whites into the batter.

Prepare the waffles according to your waffle maker’s directions.

Top the waffles with candied pecans, butter, and maple syrup.

If you’re looking for more waffle recipes from A Nerd Cooks, check out these Pumpkin Waffles and Churro Waffles!

Keep scrolling for some tasty waffle recipes from other talented food bloggers.

Sweet Potato Waffles with Candied Pecans | A Nerd Cooks

Now, let’s talk Waffle Week!  I partnered with a handful of other talented food bloggers to bring you an assortment of tasty recipes for your Waffle Week enjoyment.

  1. Coffee and Bacon Wakeup Waffles – Baking in a Tornado Baking in a Tornado
  2. Pumpkin Spice Waffles – Fuchsia Freezer Fusshia Freezer
  3. Buttermilk Cornmeal Waffles with Blackberry Syrup – Sew You Think You Can Cook Sew You Think You Can Cook
  4. Waffles Gone Wild – Our Good Life Our Good Life
img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-6193″ src=”https://anerdcooks.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/waffle-collage-pinterest.jpg” alt=”Waffle Collage – Pinterest” width=”1335″ height=”2000″ />

Berry and Ricotta Toast

This toast is healthy, tasty, and couldn’t be simpler to throw together.Berry and Ricotta Toast | A Nerd CooksToast a little bread, smear on some ricotta, top with berries, and drizzle it all with some honey.  Done and done.Berry and Ricotta Toast | A Nerd CooksWe’ve done this routine before.  Check this out Strawberry Ricotta Toast for yourself.

This time, however, it’s a little bit patriotic.Berry and Ricotta Toast | A Nerd Cooks

You’ll need:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • small handful of blueberries
  • honey

Toast the bread and slather on some ricotta cheese. Top with berries and a drizzle of honey.