If you like the start the day with a bowl of oatmeal, you’re familiar with the options: rip open a packet of artificial-tasting instant oats and toss the contents in the microwave, grab a cold jar of overnight oats you made the night before, or go the old-fashioned stovetop route and probably be late to work. Before you shake your fist at the sky and shout “IT’S HOPELESS” like a beleaguered woman in an infomercial, give this oatmeal trick a try. Make a big batch of oatmeal at night, then freeze mini-portions in a muffin tin, ready to be defrosted in the microwave at a moment’s notice.
In a medium saucepan, drop 4 cups rolled oats, 6 cups water and 2 cups of your preferred milk (you can you all water, but oatmeal flavor and creaminess gets significantly better when made with milk). Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. As the oatmeal simmers, add ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or allspice. If you like your oatmeal a tad sweet, toss in 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Cook until thick and creamy.
Grease 2 12-cup muffin tins with a bit of cooking spray. Spoon prepared oatmeal into the muffin cups and tap the tins lightly on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Cover the tins loosely with foil or plastic wrap and place the tins in the freezer so they lay flat. Let the oatmeal freeze completely (6-8 hours or overnight,) then pull the tray from the freezer.
Let the frozen oatmeal cups defrost slightly, then pop out each cup and store them in a freezer-safe container or bag.
When you’re ready to serve, drop 2 oat muffins in a microwave-safe bowl along with a few splashes of water. Cook the muffins for about 3 minutes, then top with fruit, chopped nuts, or a spoonful of nut butter.