Oatmeal Extenders

You know how it goes. Sometimes you want a bigger breakfast than your oatmeal regime calls for. You want something more, but still healthy. What you don’t want is more oatmeal. That would be like wanting more dwarf bread. So the question arises, what kind of extender would work with oatmeal? Sort of a hamberger helper without the hamburger. Before I answer that question, you have to tell me, are you feeling foreign and exotic, or do you want your breakfast to be as bland as any other suburban meal?

Bland? Bland it is. And to my mind there’s nothing more bland than the kind of Ozzie & Harriet lettuce salad your mother used to make, to help fill you up before the hamburger helper. If you happened to have a bunch of chopped up lettuce and tomato from the previous night’s taco feast, so much the better.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of chicken broth, a quarter cup or so finely chopped lettuce and tomato, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the lettuce and tomato about a minute before the end and potato when you take it off the stove. You could even top it with a squirt of taco sauce, for that festive look.

Results: Not bad. The oatmeal and the wilted lettuce blend nicely. Using chicken stock ensures that things won’t be overly bland. This will be in my long rotation, assuming I can arrange for leftovers on taco night.

Rating: *****

Exotic? There’s nothing more exotic than shiratake noodles, made from the devils own tongue. If you remember from an earlier, non-oatmeal, entry, shiratake noodles are translucent wormlike things made of konnyaku starch. No calories to speak of, no carbs, in fact no flavor. They pick up the flavor of whatever they’re cooked in, like chicken stock. There’s a bit of prep work here, because they need to be heavily rinsed, and heated in a dry frying pan until they hiss when poked, to drive off the chemical flavors. As with the lettuce, you could arrange for some leftovers from last night’s oden. Since you want to give them time to absorb the local flavors, you should chop them up and add them to the broth even before you add the oatmeal.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of chicken broth, quarter cup or so of chopped shiratake noodles, salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the noodles when you start, and the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Once again, not bad. The noodles pick up the chicken stock flavor, and give your mouth the feeling you are eating thin, but tasty, rubber bands. This is another entrant in the long rotation.

Rating: *****

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