Baked Oatmeal Cups

or how I contaminated a previously healthy breakfast

A good, easy breakfast or mid morning snack can be hard to find.  It is easy to get lost in sea of pre-made options from the frozen foods section or burn yourself out on peanut butter toast.  And if you are in a state of pregnancy, such as myself, or just in the apparently rather healthy habit of eating 6 small meals a day in place of 3 large ones having something homemade that you can reach for at a whim is essential.  Now I am sucker for freezer meal options and cooking once to satisfy a multitude of meals so anything that results in a moderate bulk of food is right up my alley, so I went in search of breakfast options that reheat well and can last 3-4 days in the fridge before turning on you and attacking when you open the door.  There is a multitude of homemade breakfast sandwich options out there in freezer cooking world, but I haven't come to terms with the concept of freezing and reheating cooked eggs at home yet so those were out.  And there are a lot of bulk slow cooker breakfast casseroles out there, but they aren't all that great reheated in my opinion (sadly, I have tried).  So I went more towards a carb focused approach.

I found a fair amount of recipes out there for baked oatmeal and that seemed like something that was just crying out to be reheated since oatmeal is a pretty hearty substance to begin with so I thought that would be a great place to start.  Most of the recipes called for a single large baking dish method, not the best for my grab and go concept, so I continued to look around.  I found some single serving options on healthy eating blogs and settled on the one by Sugar Free Mom, diabetic friendly and focused on creating a healthier you.  That's all well and good, but since me and oatmeal are not long time friends I needed to sweeten up the deal.  I started by halving the recipe, then I added a bit more applesauce (I used homemade because I had it on hand), added a touch more milk, and infused it with refined sugar.  Frozen cherries were my filling of choice for a bit more sweetness, albeit natural this time.  The baking time is a bit longer, but that is probably from the extra liquids I used.  I was really happy with the texture at the end, though this is definitely  a spoon or fork dish and not one I would recommend picking up with your hands.

Here is my, much less healthy, take on the personal sized baked oatmeal recipe from Sugar Free Mom:

1 egg
1 cup applesauce
2 ½ cups rolled oats
1 ⅓ cups low fat milk (1-2%)
1 small banana smashed, or ½ of a large banana smashed
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup sugar (or 2 tbsp depending on preference, I like it sweet)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
24-36 frozen cherries
cinnamon sugar blend or dark chocolate chips for topping

Hardware: cupcake/muffin pan, cupcake liners
Makes 10-12 cupcake sized servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a medium bowl mix the egg, vanilla, applesauce, mashed banana and sugar until well blended.

2. Next add in the salt, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix well with wet ingredients.

3. Stir in the oats until well blended and then pour in milk and combine.

4. Place 10-12 cupcake liners in the muffin pan.

5. Pour some of the mixture into the liners, filling each a little less then half way. Add 2-3 frozen cherries per cup, pressing down so they are partly submerged, and then add more of the mixture to cover.

6. Sprinkle the tops with a cinnamon sugar blend or dark chocolate chips (because it was just a little too close to looking healthy, and it is a nice touch of flavor).

7. Bake 35-40 minutes or until they look set. Cool and enjoy, refrigerate, or freeze individuality and then combine them in gallon freezer bags.

I like them reheated as is, just remove the cupcake liners first. But if you mash up the muffins and add a couple tablespoons of cream or milk you can have a thick oatmeal texture for some variety.

Ready for reheating at work:
(not the best photo, but it gives you the idea)

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