Cheap “Fast Food” Breakfast- Overnight Oatmeal

In the spring, I made an attempt at chia seed pudding. It didn’t go very well and I wrote it off as a failure. It isn’t to say that it doesn’t work, just doesn’t work for me.

Then about a month ago, a girlfriend of mine gave me her recipe for overnight oatmeal. She raved about how simple it was to make, how healthy it was, and how filling a breakfast it was to just grab in the morning. She used this recipe.

I have since made it my own and it has become my latest obsession!

Here is the base recipe:

  • 1/2 cup oats (both instant and rolled have worked well for me- instant is a little more subtle than rolled though)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (I get mine from Aldi’s)
  • 2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 tbsp protein powder, if desired (see Tips
  • Honey, agave, or other sweetener, as needed

The wonderful part of this recipe is that the base is bland so you can add virtually any flavor combos you want to change it up!

The base recipe is different than the original, as I found the original to be more snack like and didn’t really tide me over until lunch. My version is a little more meal hearty, but could still be a snack if you wanted it to be.

How To Prepare

To prepare, you just have to mix the ingredients together and let it “cook” in the fridge overnight.

Here is how I did my meal prep for the week:

I started by gathering the containers. I use mainly the plastic Maxwell House creamer containers (they are roughly 8 ounces) and they are great because of their size and they can totally stack.

oatmeal-prep-jars

A girlfriend of mine recently gave me the three Mason jar you see also.

The Mason jars work well when you’re adding things like fruit that add to the total volume.

Next I gather my ingredients.

oatmeal-prep-base-ingrediants
Here are the base ingredients I use.

oatmeal-prep-extras

oatmeal-prep-extras2

 

Next I start adding the dry ingredients to my containers.

oatmeal-prep-dry-ingredients
Dry ingredients and fruit added.

 

Here is when I chop and add my fresh fruit.

oatmeal-prep-kiwi
I was pretty damn happy to see that kiwis were on sale this week!
oatmeal-prep-apple
And so were apples!

The Mason jars are big enough to shake or stir, but the Maxwell House containers just barely fit everything, making mixing it together a real mess.

stiring-oatmeal
Yogurt, milk, vanilla, and agave added.

I fixed it by pouring the dry ingredients in the container, then dump it in a bowl, add the wet ingredients, and stir.

bubbles
BUBBLES!!!

 

oatmeal-stirred
All stirred up. It takes about 30 seconds to do.

I do, however, have to rinse the bowl and spoon after strong flavors, like mint and coffee.

But it’s worth it.

 

oatmeal-done

Flavor Combos

Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Base recipe
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp peanut butter or powdered peanut butter
(Note: Powdered peanut butter will be better for you, but it does add a grittyness to it that is missing with real PB. Also I found the flavor of PB to be almost gone with powdered.)

Chocolate Mocha
Base recipe
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee
(Note: You may want to increase sweetener with this, since both the cocoa and coffee are bitter)

chocolate-coffee-oatmeal
Cocoa and coffee- YUM!

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Base recipe
1 tbsp peanut butter or powdered peanut butter
1 tbsp jelly or jam of choice
(Note: You may want to decrease sweetener if the jam or jelly is particularly sweet.)

Oatmeal Prep Raspberry Jam.jpg
This one is the last of the raspberry jam my MIL gave me and almond butter. That jam looks like blood!

Peaches and Cream
Base recipe, subbing real maple syrup for the sweetener
Half of a fresh peach, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp half and half

Strawberry Chocolate
Base recipe
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, cup into bite sized pieces
OR 1/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries
and 1 tbsp strawberry jam

strawberry-chocolate-oatmeal
Before the wet ingredients were added. Here I have cocoa powder, freeze-dried strawberries, and strawberry jam on the top. Yummy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Base recipe, omitting yogurt
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp cream cheese, softened
Dash of pumpkin pie spice

Strawberry Banana
Base recipe
Half a ripe banana, smushed
1/4 cup fresh strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces

Lemon Blueberry
Base recipe
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 tbsp lemon jam
Splash of lemon juice

Apple Cinnamon
Base recipe
1/4 large apple or 1/2 small apple, cut into bite sized pieces
Cinnamon to taste

apple-cinnamon-oatmeal
Is there a better Fall combo than apple and cinnamon?

Almond Joy
Base recipe
1 tbsp chopped almonds
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp coconut

Pumpkin Cranberry
Base recipe, omitting yogurt
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
Dash of pumpkin pie spice, to taste

Strawberry Kiwi
Base Recipe, omitting or using less sweetener
1 kiwi, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 fresh strawberries OR freeze dried strawberries
1 tbsp strawberry jam

oatmeal-prep-strawberry-kiwi-side-dry

Okay, I think eleven are enough for now. These combos are just a sampling of what you can do with oatmeal!

Tips

  • When adding everything in, I suggest saving the yogurt and milk for last. If you do the base recipe then add your flavors, it will give the milk time to soak into the oatmeal and the consistency just isn’t the same.
  • That being said, a girlfriend of mine suggested that if you are just shaking without any stirring, to add the chia seeds last, otherwise they will sit at the bottom. I agree with this, but I gave up on just shaking a while back.
  • Protein Powder- This is obviously optional, but I really like the added protein I get from just a tablespoon. I really like Bob’s Red Mill Pea Protein Powder. It has a nice consistency, flavorless, and adds 5 g of protein for tablespoon. You can add what ever you’d like, if you choose to add it.
  • Overnight oatmeal is perfect to meal prep! I typically will do around ten for the week. I will grab one for a dessert if I’m still hungry (anything with chocolate is a hit), or need a snack during the day. I timed it once- from walking into the kitchen to walking out (including clean up), it took me 40 minutes to make 7 of them.
  • I’ve tried using frozen fruit in these recipes, but I didn’t like the outcome. I found the fruit to be a little tough. Blueberries were hard to eat, strawberries and peaches were bigger than bit sized, so I would spend the next morning using my spoon to cut them down.
  • Even a little instant coffee is too much in non-coffee flavored items. The coffee will just overpower it and make it taste icky. Learn from my mistakes.
  • This is fantastic hot or cold, so it can work year around.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  • I tried using water in place of milk and it gave it a bland taste. It wasn’t awful and I still ate it, but the milk and yogurt give it a pudding like consistency.
  • Omit sweetener if you use one of those coffee flavorings, that you see at a coffee shop.
  • Try using extracts, like vanilla, almond, rum, and orange (just to name a few) to experiment!

Cost

How much does this cost? Very little in fact! I was surprised when I did the cost analysis to find out how little it actually costs.

The base ingredients (oatmeal, protein powder, chia seeds, agave nectar, Greek yogurt, and milk) cost $1.30 per serving.  That’s just over $9 per week.

Because the extra ingredients you can add vary so much on location and taste, I didn’t add them in. But a little goes a long ways in these recipes.

The most expensive accoutrements I used today were by far the freeze dried strawberries. Because the bag was only 1.2 ounces it did make the price per serving quite high. So buying in bulk is a necessity!

So there you have it! My favorite breakfast that is quick, easy, and cheap to make. And oh so delicious!