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National Oatmeal Month at a good time when most are resolving to make healthier food choices in the new year

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Eating a hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning is a very healthy way to start any day in any month. But National Oatmeal Month comes in a month where most of us are trying to eat better and take off pounds gained from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

More oatmeal is eaten in January than any other month of the year. According to Quaker Oats Co., Americans have bought enough oatmeal in January to make 470 million bowls.

Studies have revealed that people who eat oatmeal have healthy hearts, have lower cholesterol and reduced levels of high blood pressure. A bowl of oatmeal also has been known to keep people feeling full, which leads to less snacking between meals.

Oatmeal comes in many forms: rolled, quick, thick cut, Irish steel cut oats and instant. To top off bowls of oatmeal, people add milk, sugar, fruit or butter. Others take it to a different level by using toppings, such as cottage cheese, eggnog, peanut butter and more.

This healthy grain food is more than just cereal and cookies. It is often used to prepare a crust for chicken, used instead of breadcrumbs in meatloaf, in breads and various other dishes.

This breakfast dish is taken from "Quick Cooking:"

FRUITY OATMEAL

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon oat bran

1/3 cup chopped tart apple

1 medium firm banana, diced

1/4 cup halved seedless grapes

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon sliced almonds

Milk or yogurt, optional

In large bowl, toss first seven ingredients; divide between two small bowls. Serve with milk or yogurt, if desired.

This breakfast food is from "Simple and Delicious:"

BLUEBERRY OATMEAL PANCAKES

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 (1.51-ounce) packets instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal mix

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

BLUEBERRY SYRUP:

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

In large bowl, combine first five ingredients. In another bowl, whisk egg whites, egg, milk and sour cream. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle coated with cooking spray. Turn when bubbles form on top of pancake; cook until second side is golden brown. In microwave-safe bowl, combine syrup ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave 1-2 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Serve warm with pancakes.

Note: If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw before adding to batter.

This recipe is from "Taste of Home:"

OATMEAL COOKIES

3 cups quick-cooking oats

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup egg substitute

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large bowl, combine first seven ingredients. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks.

This prize-winning recipe is from Quaker Oats:

QUAKER OATMEAL PRIZE-WINNING MEAT LOAF

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey

3/4 cup oats

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup ketchup

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; mix lightly but thoroughly. Bake 50-55 minutes or until meatloaf is to medium doneness, until not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

This recipe is from "Paula Deen Favorites:"

OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN

MARINADE:

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup unflavored yogurt

2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard

2 teaspoons hot sauce

2 teaspoons dried tarragon or 1 teaspoon chopped, if fresh

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 (2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces or 4-6 breast halves

BREADING:

Cooking spray

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plain oatmeal

Marinade: In small bowl, mix together first seven ingredients. Put chicken in heavy resealable plastic bag or baking pan large enough to hold pieces in one layer; pour buttermilk over it. Seal bag or cover pan with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator about 8 hours.

Breading: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease baking pan large enough to hold chicken pieces in one layer. Place flour and oatmeal in brown paper bag. One piece at a time, place chicken in bag and shake until coated. Place pieces skin side down in prepared baking dish. Continue until all pieces are covered in flour mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes, turning once, until chicken is golden brown.

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