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LindaY

Can't help you too much, Dani--I eat the packets, too. Didn't the oatmeal box tell you to put in a little salt? If you don't do that, it has no taste at all. Then it's what you add to it: fruit is healthiest.

Doing it in the microwave pretty much makes it mushy. I pour boiling water on the instant stuff instead, so you get whole grains rather than mush.

If you want firm oatmeal, steel cut oats are better.

Well, this is useless! Perhaps someone else can give you better instructions. :-)

LauraC

Well this will not be a great recipe but here's what I do: I use the micro instructions for the amount of oats. In a TALL container, I add to the oatmeal about 2/3 of the amount of liquid they call for (milk in my case) and mix. I microwave for a few minutes, stir, add more milk if getting too dry (will def need it if you haven't used full amount, maybe even if you have), and microwave a few more minutes. When it is quite thick, but no longer chewy, I add a little more milk and sugar to taste and eat. How's that for a precise recipe? Quick cooking oatmeal will be require a little less time.

Teresa

I have the same problem when I try to make oatmeal in the microwave, so I always make it on the stove. Takes a little more time, but it works so much better. I add a little fruit (usually raisins) and some sort of sweetener to it (honey or brown sugar). Pumpkin can also be nice to give it a little substance. And cinnamon and vanilla are good for flavor.

And then there's this great recipe for making it in the crock pot: http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/1465 I've made that and frozen single servings of it that I just put in the fridge to thaw overnight and then heat in the microwave in the morning.

Darlene

Sometimes I eat oatmeal twice a day, once in the morning during cold weather and then again in the evening for a snack before bed. It seems to me as though the recipe on the bag never calls for enough water, I don't like it to be too thick. So I pour one and a quarter cups of water into a small pot, add a few dashes of salt, and then a slightly heaped one third cup measure of oatmeal. Stir once it comes to a rolling boil for three minutes if it's quick oats, five or more for large flake. Oh yum! Good luck, Danielle!

Darlene

Oh, and if I have to work the early shift I simply put everything into the pot and put it on low while I shower. Saves time standing at the stove...okay, that's it!

catharina

I don't use a microwave, so this is made on the stove. Bring water, a pinch of salt and small hand of raisins to the boil, then add oatmeal and bring to the boil again. Now turn the fire down and add one teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Simmer with cover on the pot for a few minutes, it mustn't become mushy. Sweeten with honey or parts of sweetsour apple which you add to the water from the beginning.
(As for measures 40 grams of oatmeal to 4 deciliter water.) Hope this works out for you!

Audrey

Hi, Danielle:
I just learned how to make 'real' oatmeal last year, after years and years of those little packets... This is the recipe I use, which I got from Whole Foods.

Bring 1 cup milk and 1 cup water (though I'm sure you could do it with all water, if you don't like milk)to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are tender and as thick as you like, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch closely to make sure liquid doesn't boil over. Cover, remove from heat and let stand a few minutes before serving.

This makes two servings, about 200 calories each before you add any stuff to it, but I've found that you can keeo one of the portions for the next day and reheat it in the microwave. If it seems too thick then, just add a little bit of water before you put it in the microwave.)

Claire (The Captive Reader)

I love oatmeal! I go for 1/3 cup of oats and 1 to 1 and 1/3 cups of water and cook over low heat (on the stove) until done. Sometimes I add half a sliced banana in at the beginning, so that it cooks down, making the oatmeal both creamier and sweeter. Delicious!

Danielle

Not useless at all--trust me! :) It did say to add a dash of salt, but here's me thinking I am going to be extra healthy--well, it really does need that dash I would say. You're right--with nothing in it, it's not all that appetizing. I also pour boiling water in the instant--I wondered what it would be like microwaved--now I am glad I have not found out. I need to try steel cut oats eventually, but I think they cook even longer? Maybe for weekends or evening snacks?

Danielle

Yes, I need to invest in a bowl with high sides! I think this is a recipe that I am going to have to fiddle with. I like the idea of using half water and half milk--or I was thinking maybe almond milk which is what I drink lately--or skim milk (maybe that's too watery?). Getting the right amount of water is part of the trick I think as the texture is sort of a big deal to me. I didn't realize that there was really a difference between quick cooking oats and old-fashioned (I should really read the packaging in the store, eh?).

Danielle

I think for a 'beginner' like me a stove might be a good place to start so I can control the cooking. I take it you use water rather than milk? And do you add the fruit and sweeteners after the fact or while the oatmeal is cooking (the devil being in the details! :) ). Pumpkin sounds yummy--pumpkin puree or spice? I checked out the Hungry Girl recipe and that does indeed look and sound yummy (mine looked Nothing like that I must say!). I think part of the trick is getting the right add-ins to give it taste. Then I can mess with how much water to add for texture. I think in any case it is going to be a little sticky right?

Danielle

Yum--I think I could eat oatmeal twice a day, too. I love the instant, but from what I hear the real thing is So much better, so I have something good to look forward to. I don't like it too thick either, and I think half a cup is too much for me in the morning, so a third sounds more reasonable. Do you add anything to it or just eat it plain? I think I'm going to need something to sweeten it up just a little--natural sweetener preferably.

Danielle

I'm not sure I'm daring enough to begin with to leave it unattended while cooking (here's me cleaning it off the ceiling some morning--just kidding! ;) ), but if I get proficient enough, I bet I can eat it even on work mornings and not just weekends.

Danielle

I am going to try it again on the weekend so I will report back, but it's helpful to hear what others put into their oatmeal (as silly as that sounds...). Is sweetsour apple a natural sweetener? Or do you mean the real fruit (sorry-silly questions, I'm afraid). Cinnamon and nutmeg sounds yummy and I bet it makes your house smell good, too--like baked apple. I'm sure I'll get it--just need to experiment a little and I bet I'll be addicted to this even more than the instant!

Danielle

I'm so glad I am not the only one who has been eating those little packets. I was thinking I could substitute almond milk for the real thing--or maybe half that and half water. I don't like it overly thick, which is how it turned out in the microwave, but then I just set it as the package advised and I am sure that must have been too much time or not enough water. Does it reheat well? Somehow I don't imagine the oats keeping their consistency but getting sort of soggy and mushy?

Danielle

I have not heard of using a banana--I bet if you added some walnut and cinnamon it would taste like banana bread! :) And it would also be a natural sweetener--that sounds very yummy. I have heard of people using a little peanut butter too--sounds a little weird, but maybe no more so than adding a few nuts to the pot.

Gina

You should try soaking it over night in soy milk (or almond), then just heating it for a short minute or less in the microwave - or just leave it room temp. The texture is really nice and not gummy at all. I just put a little maple syrup and almonds on it and it is yummy!
I commend you for trying to eat well!

scriptorsenex

My recipe is similar to the second paragraph of Audrey's but we call it porridge over here. The packet even says porridge oats though it's exactly the same stuff inside. Microwaving I've tried but without success. So here's my recipe.

As a large serving for one person -
Put three quarters a cup of oats in the pan and add a cup of milk and half a cup of water. Add half a teaspoon of salt (essential - it alters the taste completely and you sure know if you've left it out). Stir continuously as you bring it to the boil and then turn down to simmer, stirring regularly as it does so for five to ten minutes. It will, at some stage, change consistency quite noticeably. At that stage it is ready. Add two teaspoons of sugar or a teaspoon of honey and stir around once or twice. Serve and, if forgetting the diet, add a generous helping of cream to the surface… Enjoy!

catharina

I was unclear: only the apple can be added from the beginning, honey must not, honey is not good to cook only to be added, heated it turns toxic, sorry about that. I mean the real apple, do you have Elstar?

michelle

You could try adding an egg in there to cook with the oats too, if you like some added texture. You'll get shredded egg mixed with oats. My mum does that, with a bit of sugar instead of salt. I quite like that. :)

Harriet

I can't say it better than Darlene, except to add that you need to experiment with the amount of oats -- I actually like it good and thick so I'd add more. Salt is essential -- the Scots would not eat it sweetened at all -- and anything you fancy adding like raisins, nuts, seeds, whatever. Please do not microwave it -- that's a really bad idea, and as you can see from Darlene's comment it takes hardly any time to cook in an ordinary pan on the stove. When it's cooked you can eat it as is, or with milk, or cream, or sugar, or honey, or maple syrup, or any combination of the above. Delicious and very good for you.
And how did you drop those two jeans sizes?

Harriet

Yes! banana porridge -- wonderful.

Caroline

I'm not an oatmeal expert at all, I'm not even sure I like it. I can't eat sweet things in the morning or else which, of course, is lucky as I've never had to battle weight or only being too skinny in the past.
It's great you managed to loose the weigth and if you were slim before it's not that likely you will gain it again. At work all the people who have weigth problems make the same mistake. The skip lunch and stuff themselves I the evening and almost all of them consume "hidden" calories. They drink a lof of juices, eat a lot of fruit and add tons of sauce to all of their meals.
Plus alcohol.
I think however the oatmeal needs a bit of milk. Try soy milk if you don't like the regular one.

Cornflower

Here's how we make it (in Scotland!): in a pan, mix the oats with cold water according to the proportions given on the packet (you can adjust this to suit according to your taste for thicker/thinner porridge). Leave it to sit overnight, then in the morning add salt - essential - and cook gently on the hob stirring all the time. Because you've softened the oats the coooking time will be minimal, but even without that preparation it takes just a minute or two.
I've eaten it with all sorts of accompaniments but at the moment I take it most often with natural yogurt and blueberries or other berries (fresh if I have them or frozen ones if not). I've never used a microwave so have no idea how that would work for porridge, but here's more information on the traditional Scottish way of making it: http://cornflower.typepad.com/domestic_arts_blog/2011/06/a-spurtle-it-is.html

Christine Harding

I'm not a great fan of milk either, but I make my porridge using half skimmed milk and half water - in a tall plastic jug, so it doesn't erupt (and it's easier to clean than a saucepan). Sometimes I add some boiling water when its done,and stir well, to make it a bit thinner, because I don't like it too gloopy. I add dried fruit before cooking, so it plumps up nicely (but it does need a bit more liquid at the end if you you do that, as the fruit soaks it up). I think fresh fruit is best added when the porridge is cooked, but things like stewed apples, or stewed plums (with cinnamon and no sugar) are fabulous - you can add sweetening if you like. Nuts are good added when the porridge is cooked because they add crunchiness.

Liz F

Who knew so many people had porridge in a morning?
I used to make 'proper' porridge when my children were young and I only worked part time but since they have grown up and I have to be out of the house really early, I have got into the way of using instant packets!
Having read all the comments though, I am off to the supermarket to get some original oats and I will just set my alarm that bit earlier in the morning (she says...)and have a civilised breakfast!

Love the ideas of adding bananas and almonds to it, but I will probably just go back to the way I was brought up to eat it - made with water and salt with a little milk and demerara sugar to taste.

Now hungry - drat!

Julie

If I'm making porridge in the microwave I start with a blast of full power to get it going then do the rest of the cooking on a lower setting to reduce the risk of eruptions. It's nice with raisins. Even nicer with golden syrup but that's not so good for you! I use skimmed milk.

ted

I use the regular old fashioned oats and water in the proportions it says on the container. Put them in a slightly larger microwavable bowl than the serving calls for and then put it in the microwave on cooking power 5 (half-strength) for 5 minutes. I believe these are the package instructions. This way it always comes out perfectly and I have never had it overboil the way it does when you cook it for less time on full power. Then I top it with a little real maple syrup. Mmmm.

Kathy

I'm an oatmeal fan, too. I was going to suggest soaking it overnight, as Gina said (sometimes that's called muesli, I think)--when I do that, I add chopped fruit and sometimes nuts. My other suggestion is chai oatmeal--if you like the spices in chai tea. Steep a chai tea bag with 1/2 cup of boiling water for three minutes. Add the tea and 1/2 cup of milk to the dry oatmeal and microwave as directed on the label. You might have to adjust the amounts of liquid to your taste. Add thawed frozen peaches, chopped pecans and a little bit of maple syrup and you've got a tasty and filling breakfast.

And if you get sick of oatmeal, I've seen loads of recipes for oatmeal breakfast cookies...

Stefanie

I love oatmeal on a cold morning! We go for a 2-1 ratio of water to oats and always cook them on the stove. Sometimes we mix in a little pumpkin and pumpkin spice and walnut pieces for a treat. Most of the time I put some peanut butter or almond butter in my oatmeal, cinnamon, a few chocolate chips if I am feeling naughty, raisins and a splash of soymilk.

Belle

I have not had any
trouble cooking up a
bowl of oatmeal goodness in
the microwave. I use
the ratio of liquid
to oats called for on the
box. I throw in some raisins
and nuke. Stir. Shake on plenty
of cinnamon and add some almonds
or walnuts. Yummy.

Margaret @ BooksPlease

I make my porridge in the microwave using less water than the packet says and it's fine. If I use the amount of water recommended it always overflows/erupts! When it's cooked I add apricots, cranberries, dates and walnuts (all small portions) and natural yoghurt (which I make in a yoghurt maker) with just a dash of skimmed milk. I love it - much better than the instant.

LauraC

You know, when microwaving, esp something like oatmeal, it is ok to stop every minute or so, stir, check if more liquid is needed and microwave on. Maybe once you have checked carefully like this a few times, you could gauge starting amounts, times, and maybe even power levels, and it could be left to go on it's own for a while. But maybe not-it might need to be babysat indefinitely. Oatmeal was not invented for the microwave. It is an art. ;)

Danielle

I have a feeling that microwaving on a lower power level would help immensely. The second time I tried making this I did stop and stir every 30 seconds or so but then I got tired and thought it was done enough--I hadn't added in anything--no salt or sugar and it tasted awful--which is when I thought it was time to ask for suggestions! :) I think it does take a little practice to see what works best taste-wise and so nothing overflows...

Danielle

Yes, I think salt is necessary--I tried it without thinking I was going to be so healthy and it wasn't very palatable! :) I'm going to practice on the weekend when I have time to experiment over the stove (you know what I'll be eating for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday!). When I have down my method I am sure I can do this quickly before work--especially if I can soak it overnight. I think I will definitely be adding in something extra as well. As for dropping jeans sizes--I had been going to the gym for ages without nothing ever giving and finally decided I needed to do something about my deplorable eating habits. For me it was dropping sweets and chips out of my diet (I had already given up soda) and then really watching my portions. I do keep a food diary (though not every day now since I have a good idea how much I eat during the work week) and keep to eating around 2,000 calories a day. Just making better food choices and combining with walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical has worked wonders. I still indulge but now I plan ahead and when I have a treat I cut out something else--or when I know I'll be eating out I eat very lightly during the day. I don't starve myself and I don't do anything faddish--just picking fruits and veggies over sugary stuff seems to have done the trick. Now I am just trying to maintain it all and hope I can stay at the weight I am at now--I feel SO much better than I did and was able to drop taking a blood pressure pill. Honestly I never thought I would ever be able to lose weight so even I am surprised it has worked--but so many people gain the weight back so I'm trying to just stay cautious! (Sorry, that was the long answer!).

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