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Monday, September 14, 2009

Oatmeal Stuffing - Oatmeal, Not Just For Breakfast

Dear folks,

I'm been wanting savory oatmeal again! And stuffing, so of course I married the two and came up with a recipe that is good for you and simple to make.

Oatmeal "Stuffing"

Oatmeal is not just for breakfast!

I love stuffing! Some folks call the poultry seasoning, onion, bread mix, dressing. Whatever you call it, it tastes good and the sage and other herbs in the typical seasoning are digestive aids.

When I made some stuffing and roasted chicken the other day I decided to make another version of my Savory Oatmeal.

(See my blog for Pumpkin Oatmeal - it is at the end of the nutrient-density post there)

My mother before me, and my sister and I, like simple stuffing most of the time. Chopped onions and celery in butter and poultry seasoning, add dried bread cubes and chicken broth and we are good to go. Occasionally I will add some sausage to it.

*For you vegetarians, see notes for options - just as good tasting and good for you.

This came out so close to the regular stuffing taste, I'm going to make it often.

1/2 cup of sauteed celery and onion** see recipe for stuffing and chicken below
1 cup of oatmeal - not quick cook
1 3/4 cups of chicken broth* (substitute vegetable broth)
1/4 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
Optional: pinch of salt
*Vegetarians, you may wish to add about 1 cup of hot, precooked edamame to this oatmeal to make it a complete lunch or dinner item. Fold in after oatmeal is cooked and serve.

In a sauce pan stir poultry seasoning and salt into broth and start on flame. Stir in celery onion mixture and oats, bring to boil, reduce heat to gently bubbling, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve as a side dish to any lunch or dinner.

The leftovers, if any, make great patties for breakfast the next morning. (I like to use my tupperware hamburger press for these, spray lightly with oil, press in about a 1/2 cup more or less of savory oatmeal, refrigerate overnight - use up within 3-4 days.) When ready to eat, heat pan with a bit of spray or oil, and cook patties on medium heat flipping gently so each side gets 2 times on the pan - you are just heating through and gently crisping the outsides. Most of the time I try to serve 2 fruit and vegetables with each meal - that is sliced plum and cherry tomatoes with the English bacon and the oatmeal-stuffing patty.

**Stuffing is the one time I always throw fat concerns out the window, but you can make this with a 50/50 blend of butter and olive oil - just as tasty.
1 stick of unsalted butter (bread and broth usually provide all the salt you need, plus celery has properties which make food taste saltier)
2 cups of finely chopped celery
2 cups of finely chopped white or yellow onion
1- 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning
8 cups of bread, cubed and dried (I will sometimes do this the night before and lay them out on a cookie sheet in the cold oven to dry)
2 more tablespoons of poultry season.
Chicken or turkey stock - or Vegetable Broth*

Melt the butter, add the seasoning, stir to mix add celery and onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 20 minutes. Hold out the 1/2 cup of celery and onion for the oatmeal. In a large enough bowl to allow mixing, pour celery onion mixture over bread cubes, add about 1 cup of broth, all of the 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning and toss, adding more broth to completely moisten the bread. It should be well moistened, but not necessarily soggy unless your prefer and more pudding like stuffing.

A simple way to do a fast dinner of stuffing and chicken is to take a casserole dish, butter or spray the dish, layer in half of the stuffing, top with chicken pieces, with or without bone and skin, sprinkle chicken lightly with a bit more poultry seasoning and top with remaining stuffing - cook for about 1 hour at 325 to 350 degrees. Covering the chicken with the stuffing keeps it moist.

*A really great vegetarian stuffing is made with edamame as the protein addition and if you like a sweet stuffing, add the cranberries.

My Pumpkin Stuffing Recipe
(form "101+ Recipes from The Herb Lady")

To the basic stuffing recipe above, add
1 cup frozen green soybeans (shucked), thawed to room temperature
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 small apple diced (acidify diced apple in week lemon water for a few minutes to keep from browning before cooking.

You can either do this entire stuffing in a sprayed casserole dish or as a stuffing in a pumpkin or other squash. By itself, cook for 30 minutes at 350, or until the top is crusty brown, or stuff a squash or pumpkin and cook until the squash can be easily pierced with a knife.

A final thought about Savory Oatmeal - be creative - anything you can do with rice you can do with oatmeal or barley - both sooooo good for you. And the oatmeal old fashioned oats cook up quickly.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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