Flashback Friday – Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 2/16/09 at Exit 51.

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

My introduction to the Food Network came courtesy of Alton Brown and Good Eats.  In thirty minutes, he not only presents multiple recipes, but he explains the “why” of it all.  I guess I’m not the only person who wants to understand the how and why of the kitchen.  Did I mention he makes it entertaining?  Props and skits illustrate concepts or give brief history lessons.  At the end of a show, I feel like I’ve really learned something and I get new recipes too.  Five years of college and all I can show you is  an unframed degree and student loan payment coupons….I definitely think I’m getting a better value from Mr. Brown.

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Since those early days with AB, I’ve branched out to other FN personalities, but Alton remains a favorite.  One recipe that I go back to over and over is his Overnight Oatmeal.  I’ve made this so many times, and it’s so simple, that I no longer pull out the recipe.  With only a few minutes of active prep and a crock pot set to low, I can have a week’s worth of breakfast at the ready. For a non-morning person such as myself, this is gold.

In a different life, maybe I would have the time, or inclination, or personal chef to make a full on breakfast each and every day.  But as it is, I’m lucky to get out of the house dressed and fed each morning.  So anything that saves me time is welcome.  And unlike packaged cereals, I know EXACTLY what is in the food.  No trans fat this, or high fructose corn syrup that.  No guessing needed.

Really, what’s not to love about this recipe?  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  It’s open to countless interpretations.  It may not be the most glamorous dish to hit your table, but not every meal has to look like it came from the five star kitchen of the celebrity chef du jour.

AB’s recipe is below.  I use whatever dried fruit I happen to have on hand – dried apples or dried peaches work very well.  You use what you like.  I also add about one half cup of unsweetened applesauce to the crock pot to give a little more moisture. If you have a cinnamon stick, throw it in crock pot.  Just be sure to remove it before serving.  Serve with a bit of brown sugar, preserves,  jam, or syrup for a hint of sweetness.  Leftovers keep in the fridge for about a week.  To reheat, thin with a bit of milk, stir to combine, and microwave for about 90 seconds.

AB's Overnight Oatmeal

Alton Brown’s Overnight Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours.

Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning.

Super Quick Curry

Without meaning to, I find myself coming back to this recipe time and again for quick, satisfying weeknight dinners.  Every few weeks it ends up on the menu but  I can’t say that I’m especially sad about that.  The Mistah and I both like it.  It’s ridiculously easy.  And it’s quite adaptable to whatever protein you happen to pick up at the store or have stashed in your freezer.

There’s only one word of caution that I will offer.  If you are using bagged frozen seafood, be sure to put the bag in a bowl while it defrosts in the refrigerator.  I don’t know why, but the last few times I’ve made this, my bag of frozen seafood has leaked.  And there is nothing I like less than cleaning up shrimp or scallop juices from the glass shelf of the Fridigaire.

Super Quick Curry

Adapted from Jaden Hair’s 10 Minute Shrimp Curry

BAH Note:  I most often use shrimp or bay scallops when I make this but don’t think that’s all you can use.  Chicken, pork, or tofu would work well in this dish.  I have also been known to throw a tablespoon or so of smooth peanut butter into the pot to give the sauce a little something unexpected.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 to 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled) or bay scallops
  • juice of 1 lime (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the curry paste and chili sauce, stir, and cook for about 30 seconds until the spices become fragrant.  Add the shrimp or scallops and cook until they are mostly cooked through.  Add the coconut milk and stir to combine.  Cook for another 5 minutes until your shrimp or scallops are just cooked through.  Taste for seasoning and add fish sauce and lime juice if using.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy.

{printable recipe}

Kerrygold Mac and Cheese

No, I haven’t gotten back together with ATK.  But I still have some of their recipes floating around my kitchen which need to make their way to the blog.  Like this stovetop mac and cheese.  I’ve had it in my life for almost four years and yet I haven’t yet shared it with you.

And that’s just wrong.  Because in the world of quick and easy cooking, it doesn’t get much better than this.  In the time it takes to get your water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, the sauce is ready to receive the macaroni and coat it in its luscious, creamy goodness.  I think that should be enough motivation to put this on your menu soon.

Confidential to Jenna…I know you didn’t exactly hit it off with the last stovetop mac and cheese I raved about.  I hope you’ll have a better experience with this.

Kerrygold Mac and Cheese

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

BAH Note: The recipe I worked from was actually a “lighter” mac and cheese that used low fat this and light that.  I personally don’t eat pasta often.  So when I do, it’s a big deal and I go all out.  If you find you’re making this on a regular basis, you may want to consider using the reduced fat versions of milk, evaporated milk, and cheese.  Also, ATK didn’t name the recipe Kerrygold Mac and Cheese….that was all my doing.  Do yourself a huge favor and try it at least once with Kerrygold Cheddar…and you’ll see why.  But note that the blocks of Kerrygold are only 7 ounces.  That missing ounce didn’t make any difference in my sauce.

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • kosher salt
  • cayenne pepper or chili powder (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package directions until it is al dente.  If your pasta is done before the cheese sauce is ready, drain the pasta and leave it in the colander while the sauce finishes.

Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the milk or half and half in a small bowl until dissolved and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk together the evaporated milk, the remaining 1/2 cup milk or half and half, and dry mustard in a pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Continue to simmer, whisking often, until the sauce thickens and is smooth, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and add the grated cheese.  Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.  Stir in the pasta, taste for seasoning, and add kosher salt as desired.

Let the macaroni and cheese sit for about 5 minutes before serving, garnished with a very light sprinkle of cayenne pepper or chili powder.

{printable recipe}

Fish Piccata

I love gummi fish..but not gummy fish piccata.

If you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while, you’ve seen the name Melissa d’Arabian once or twice before.  She was the winner of The Next Food Network Star a few seasons back who now has her own TFN show.  I was pretty much in her corner from the beginning.  I loved that she was a home cook competing with professionals and that she carried herself with confidence.  It was very much a Rocky moment for me when she won.

So I’ve been watching her show, Ten Dollar Dinners.  To be honest, I don’t manage to keep my food expenditures down to $2.50 per person.  Not even by shopping sales, cutting coupons, and using my store “loyalty” cards.  It’s a lofty goal and I give her mad props for showing that it can be done without sacrificing quality and that weeknight meals don’t have to involve canned this or microwaved that.

This is not to say that all of her recipes speak to me.  Black bean brownies?  Thank you, no.  But the ones that I have gone online and printed out have won me over.  Pot Roast CarbonnadeCrispy Skinned Orange ChickenBraised Pork?  All her recipes.  And now it looks as though Fish Piccata has earned a spot on that list.  This could quite easily become a regular weeknight meal at our house.

Fish Piccata

Adapted from Melissa d’Arabian

BAH Note:  This is a quick cooking dish.  Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking.  Don’t be tempted to dredge the fish in the flour and then let it sit on a plate while the oil heats.  You’ll end up with gummy fish.  While I personally enjoy gummi or swedish fish, you want to avoid gummy fish piccata.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small fillets of tilapia or sole
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed if you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  While the oil heats, dry the fish with paper towels and season with salt.  Once you are ready to cook, dredge a fillet in the flour, shake off the excess, and place in the pan.  Repeat with remaining fish fillets until all are in the pan

Cook about 4 minutes on each side, until the fish is browned and just cooked through.  Transfer the fish to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Use the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  After about a minute, add the lemon juice and capers and whisk to combine.  Whisk in the butter.

Serve the fillets topped with the sauce.

{printable recipe}

Chocolate Double Spice Cookies

Chocolate Double Spice

Don’t you just want to reach out and grab one of those cookies up there?  I really wish you could because they are freaking fantabulous.  Chocolaty, but not overly sweet, with a nice hit of spicy heat.  In a moment of either sheer genius or outright madness, I dug into the spice cabinet and pulled out a secret weapon to really turn up the heat because I’m a sweet/spicy freak.  How else would you explain that I used a Chili Spice Rub in cookie dough? Continue reading “Chocolate Double Spice Cookies”

That Was Easy

One thing I left off my “Perfect World” list was an Easy Button.  Or maybe I just assumed that because it was a Perfect World, that it would automatically come with both an Easy Button and an Undo Button.  How great would that be?  Like that time when I was 17 and I asked the wife of my brother’s friend when her baby was due?  I totally could have used an Undo Button right then.  Or the earth could have opened up and swallowed me whole.  Either one would have been preferable to my size 7 Sebago firmly lodged in my big, fat, stupid mouth. Continue reading “That Was Easy”

Super Charged

With summer’s heat ready to breathe down our necks any minute now, I’ve got a quick and easy alternative to gazpacho.  It also gives you another tasty weapon in your arsenal to combat the pending zucchini onslaught.  You can thank me later.

Curried Zucchini Soup

Adapted From South Beach Quick and Easy

BAH Note:  I found this soup to be equally good hot or chilled.  If you use a stick blender, your soup won’t be silky smooth.  For velvety smoothness, process the soup in a blender or food processor.  Either way is fine to enjoy zucchini with hints of ginger and super charged with sweet curry and garam masala heat.

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • kosher salt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini, ginger, curry powder, and garam masala (if using) and cook until the zucchini softens.

Add the broth and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt to taste.

Working in batches, carefully process the soup in a blender until smooth.

Serve plain or garnish with a dollop of sour cream, greek yogurt, or plain yogurt.

{printable recipe}

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