At school we do an entire unit on breakfast. Why? Because breakfast is that important. To start the unit we chat about the reasons someone might skip breakfast. The most common answer is that there’s not enough time. Getting out of the house, especially with kids, can be quite the process. Here’s a trick to make your life a little easier: Break out the trusty ol’ Crock Pot. Yes—even for breakfast.
The “prep” portion of this recipe is under five minutes and is simple enough to involve even your youngest children. (Fun fact: involving kids in the cooking process can decrease the likelihood of wrinkled-nose meal refusals). I would recommend turning on your Crock Pot after 9 p.m. (the later the better), and it will be perfectly ready-to-eat in the morning.
A word of caution: My Crock Pot was purchased within the last several years and can be set to low or high. If yours is older and has number settings, set it to the very lowest number for the full eight hours. If you find the porridge to be runny, simply turn up the heat until it has thickened. If it’s too thick, just add more liquid.
This porridge has no sweetener so it will likely taste bland as-is. Add half a cup of packed brown sugar to the mixture if you’d like it sweet, or mix a sweetener of choice into the individual cooked servings. This recipe is so easy to customize: try quinoa instead of the rice, or use all steel-cut oats. Just make sure to keep the total amount of grains and liquids the same as specified below.
Cooking for one? The porridge will stay fresh in a sealed container in your fridge for five days. It can also be frozen in individual containers. By starting your day with this mixture of fiber, protein and nutrients, you’ll be sure to stay full and energized until your lunchtime.
Hearty Crock Pot Porridge
1 c. bulgar wheat
1 ½ c. steel cut oats
½ c. brown rice
¼ c. wheat germ
3 c. water
3 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk, skim or any other milk substitute
½ c. unsweetened or natural applesauce
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
1. Before going to sleep, spray the inside of the Crock Pot lightly with nonstick spray.
2. Add all ingredients to Crock Pot and stir to combine.
3. Set Crock Pot on low for two hours. It should automatically switch to warm after two hours.
4. In the morning, if you find that the porridge is too runny, switch to “low” until thickened.
5. Serve with brown sugar, maple syrup and dried or fresh fruit as desired (other suggestions below).
>> Maple syrup and fresh blueberries
>> Banana and brown sugar
>> Apple chunks and brown sugar
Per one-cup serving (using skim milk and not counting mix-ins): 233 calories, 2.1 grams of fat, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 171 milligrams sodium, 45 grams carbs, 3.3 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams sugar, 8.6 grams protein.
Becca Boyd is a wife and new mom who teaches culinary courses to students at Radnor High School. She creates healthy and delicious recipes in her West Chester kitchen and blogs about them on her website, Home Beccanomics.