Slow Cooker Apricot-Almond Oatmeal

Steel-cut oats are the best choice for this recipe. They’re coarsely cut, not rolled, so they can withstand the longer cooking time without becoming mushy. Use a small slow cooker; a large one won’t produce the same consistency. Serve the oatmeal with low-fat milk or low-fat plain yogurt, if desired.

8 cups water
2 cups steel-cut oats
2 cups chopped dried apricots
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired*

Combine water, oats, apricots, cinnamon and salt in 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 6 hours. Stir in brown sugar; let stand 5 minutes. Serve topped with almonds. (Oatmeal can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat in microwave until warm.)

9 (1-cup) servings

PER SERVING: 260 calories, 5 g total fat (.5 g saturated fat), 7 g protein, 49.5 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 6.5 g fiber

TIP *To toast almonds, place on baking sheet; bake at 375°F. for 4 to 6 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool.

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