Morning Oats

Oats have a lot going for them--good flavor, high fiber, lots of nutrition. The following recipes capitalize on all these factors.

The weekend oatmeal with caramelized bananas is a spin on an old-fashioned favorite, topping creamy oatmeal with a swirl of sizzling bananas. The cinnamon-oatmeal muffins are moist and light although they have a low-fat content. Served with sausage or ham, the oatmeal hotcakes make a great meal. While these recipes are intended for the morning, they would work at other times as well.


Here, creamy oatmeal with golden raisins is topped with a warm caramelized layer of sliced bananas. This is a delicious combination. Freezing the bananas the night before gives you a head start in the morning.


2 large bananas, sliced thin

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar, packed

1 quart 1% milk

2 cups oatmeal


1 cup golden raisins

1/4 teaspoon salt

Invert cereal bowl on piece of foil to make 4 circles. Place foil on small baking sheet. Arrange banana slices, overlapping, in spiral pattern to fill circles. Freeze overnight or at least 1 hour.

Put 1/2 cup sugar in food processor fitted with metal blade. Process until finely ground. Let stand out, uncovered, overnight. Brown sugar should be thoroughly dried out.

When ready to cook, put rack in upper portion of oven. Set oven to broil.

Put milk, oatmeal, raisins, remaining sugar and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, until oatmeal is creamy, stirring often to avoid scorching, about 4 minutes. Keep warm.

Sprinkle each banana circle evenly with 1 tablespoon ground brown sugar.

Broil until sugar begins to caramelize and bubble, about 2 minutes, watching closely.


To serve, divide oatmeal between 4 warm cereal bowls. Use wide metal spatula to transfer bananas to each bowl. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

488 calories; 283 mg sodium; 10 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 99 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 1.25 grams fiber.


Pancakes topped with high-quality maple syrup and served warm continue to be one of my favorite breakfasts. These pancakes have the best texture when they are mixed the morning they are served. The batter can be made a day ahead, but the pancakes are more moist with less oatmeal texture.

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup cake flour

3/4 cup oatmeal


Warm maple syrup

Put buttermilk, eggs and butter in 1 1/2-quart bowl. Whisk until combined. Stir in flour and oatmeal until combined. Let stand 30 minutes before cooking. Can be made day ahead, covered tightly and refrigerated. Stir well before using.

Butter griddle and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Use 2 tablespoons batter to form 3-inch rounds. Cook over medium heat until bubbly on top and lightly brown on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn and lightly brown other side, about 3 minutes. Keep pancakes warm in 200-degree oven while remaining pancakes are cooked. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Makes 24 (3-inch) diameter pancakes, or 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

188 calories; 87 mg sodium; 83 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 24 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.15 gram fiber.


These muffins are moist-textured and lightly apple flavored, best served warm from the oven, slathered with apple butter.

1/2 cup oatmeal

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons safflower oil

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine oatmeal, buttermilk, applesauce and sugar in 3-quart bowl. Stir until combined. Let stand 15 minutes.

Add oil, egg, egg whites, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Spoon into 8 greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling 7/8 full.

Bake at 375 degrees until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 8 muffins.

Each muffin contains about:

178 calories; 224 mg sodium; 42 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.15 gram fiber.

* Background paper in photo from Fine Lines and Co. at the L.A. Mart.