Make Overnight Oatmeal for Thanksgiving Breakfast

Ask most Americans what they’re having for Thanksgiving dinner, and they'll recite the standard list of dishes: roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, pumpkin pie, etc.

But then ask what’s for Thanksgiving breakfast, and you’ll likely get blank stares.


Oh, no. Have you, too, overlooked the second most important meal of the year? Even worse, are you actually planning to skip breakfast on Thanksgiving, thinking you’ll save the calories for later? That would be a huge mistake. Why? Three reasons:

1.    The calories you save that morning will be made up later, and then some – because the hungrier you are, the faster you eat. And the consequences of eating too fast include the tendency to overeat, which can cause weight gain (duh!), indigestion, heartburn, bloating, and a painful gastroenterological condition called “contracted gut.” (Eewww!)

2.    Going without breakfast can affect your mood, making you cranky, impatient, and less resilient to mental and emotional stress, which can be very dangerous when you’re surrounded by family members who can get on your nerves even in the best circumstances.

3.    Skipping breakfast on Thanksgiving, or any other day, plays havoc with your metabolism which, over time, can lead to weight gain, inflammation, even diabetes. See why breakfast is the most important meal of the day?

Hopefully, you now understand the importance of eating a healthful, hearty breakfast this Thursday morning. But you may be understandably reluctant to add one more kitchen-related task to your to-do list.

Here’s the perfect solution: steel-cut Irish oatmeal prepared the night before, in a crockpot or slowcooker. With just 10 minutes of prep time right before you go to bed, you can have a steaming, nutritious breakfast ready to serve eight hours later. Here’s the recipe:

Slow-Cooked Irish Oatmeal from Eating Well

- 8 cups water
- 2 cups steel-cut oats (see Ingredient note, below)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Ingredient note:
Steel-cut oats, sometimes labeled "Irish oatmeal," look like small pebbles. They are toasted oat groats—the oat kernel, which has been removed from the husk and cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Do not substitute regular rolled oats, which have a shorter cooking time, in the slow-cooker oatmeal recipe.

Combine water, oats, dried cranberries, dried apricots and salt in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Turn heat to low. Put the lid on and cook until the oats are tender and the porridge is creamy, 7 to 8 hours.

Serve with whole milk or half and half, maple syrup, and slivered almonds and you won’t be hungry again until it’s time to carve the turkey.