I’ve spent an absurd amount of time recently thinking about oatmeal.

A lot of things have consipired to make this happen:

  • My sister put me onto the joys of real oatmeal. Not “minute oats”, not instant; the real-deal squished oats.
  • Andrea wrote a post about steel-cut oatmeal. I’m so glad I’m not the only person who thinks – and blogs – about these things.
  • Deb signed off Twitter one night with the pièce de resistance:

Bingo! Steel-cut oats are yummy, but they take too long. The slow cooker is a perfect fit. So I ran out and bought a little crock. You know, so our little batch wouldn’t burn to the sides of the big crock.

Instead, it burned to the sides of the little crock.

But all is not lost. The stoneware in the new crock fits perfectly inside my 5qt, and the results have been FANTASTIC! No burning. No scrubbing. Barely any sticking. Even with a little batch. Even without oiling the stoneware.

Oh, and it’s waaay easier to fish it out of a crock full of hot water than a regular casserole dish.

[What you see in the photo is actually a batch of Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal, but I played with the recipe and didn’t like the result. I’ll post it when I get it just right :).]

Want to try? Here’s what you do:

  1. Find a dish that fits inside your stoneware. Not too hard if you have a 6qt, but tricky for anything smaller. But the little slow cooker only cost $10, fit in my 5qt, and of course gives me another slow cooker to work with 🙂
  2. Put the the dish in the stoneware, and add steel cut oats, water, and salt, as per package directions.
  3. Fill the outer stoneware with water to about the same level as the water/oats mix.
  4. Cook for 8 hours on low.

We now do this nightly, and wake up every morning to oatmeal that’s quicker than instant – and way yummier too.

Oh, and a hint: as soon as you’re done serving, dump the water from the big crock into the little one: cleanup is a breeze, and you’re conserving water too.

And finally, a shout-out to Stephanie O’Dea, whose Chocolate Pot de Creme with Ganache was what gave me the idea to try bain-marie in the crock. Of course, that recipe was also what made me buy a second, bigger crock, plus a dish to fit inside it. And now I have three crocks.

It’s a slippery slope. Coated in oatmeal.

I’m loving this wake-up-to-a-hot-breakfast thing. Do you have any crock-pot breakfasts to share?