Pretty much every morning after making my lunch at 5:25am (gotta love waking up for school :P ) I sit myself down to a hot bowl of oatmeal and a mug of tea. Until recently, like 2 days ago, I had really only used Quaker instant prepackaged oats. I haven't yet moved to steel cut (soon I hope) because I have to finish what lives in my cabinet, but I do have a huge container of quick-one minute oats screaming to be eaten. I plan to find as many great toppings and ways of preparing my morning pick me up as I can, hence the mission.
For one thing, when you make your own flavored you control what goes in it, there is no need for one pack of oats to have 11% of your daily sodium, and not be enough for a good sized breakfast (most important meal you know). Secondly, you can't get bored of what's always changing. Finally oats are good for you, and of you can keep them from tasting like paste (why I stuck with the packs for so long) using easy to find pantry items, why not??? With that I start my mission. Here is what I have found to be the best basic oatmeal prep. I do not like an unpleasant golly pasty oatmeal, so I adjust the directions on the back of the box. This is also, in my opinion, a perfect amount of oats, and more than what is in the packets, so you stay full for more than an hour.
Plain oatmeal using Quick-One min oats (if you like it plain, kudos to you, I think it tastes too bland and must be topped):
1/3 cup oats
Mug of water
(your morning tea ready to go)
Heat the mug in microwave for 2 min to get the water hot. Pour your oats into your bowl. (if using "heat in toppings" mix in now, or after water added) Take hot water and pour until just barely covering the oats. Put back in the microwave for 30-sec to 1-min (if you like your oatmeal runnnnny like my mom, no goop just slightly thickened, use a touch less water and let sit for a minute or so before eating and go crazy) Adjust heating time to change thickness of oats (short=runny. Long=thick)
-If you drink tea, this method is great because you just top off the mug add your tea bag and reheat. (mic. Steeping is faster)
1/3 cup dry oats= 100 cal
1/2 cup = 150 cal
Have fun with toppings! Be creative! And check back to see what I found works (and doesn't) together we can change breakfast.