Bonnie: Steel-cut oatmeal is my breakfast grain of choice. I love it plain, with just a smidgen of salt — no added sugar or sweetener, no dried or fresh fruit and no nuts. I like the nutty flavor of the grain that best comes through in steel-cut versions.
About five years ago, we recommended McCann’s quick cooking steel-cut oats, and still do. Those oats cook in only five minutes; its only disadvantage is the pot to wash!
But when you’re in a rush, we now recommend you try Good Food Made Simple (GFMS) Steel Cut Oatmeal found in the freezer aisle. It’s a bit pricey at $1.25 – $1.60 per portion, but worth it when time is short. Just open the package, pop the cooked oatmeal into a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 3 minutes. When you’re done, just toss the bowl into the dishwasher.
GFMS began last summer on the premise of “cleaning up the frozen food isle,” using only the ingredients in the product that are necessary. The steel-cut oatmeal contains only oats, water and salt. It’s one of the company’s many freezer-aisle products, and it’s the one we recommend you try.
For those who do like sweetness in oatmeal, consider GFMS’s three other versions: Brown Sugar, Fruit & Berries or Vermont Maple. Although those versions are too sweet for me, you might like one of these – each with a clean ingredient list.
Bryan: You’ve got to love any ingredient list that’s just a simple, graphic representation of three items. If you’re checking out GFMS’s website and navigate over to the page for steel-cut and organic rolled oats, you will see that three small pictures serve as your entire guidance on what you’re about to eat. Sometimes simplicity speaks volumes. A small pile of whole grain oats, a sack of sea salt and a pitcher of filtered water; that’s all. What could be simpler? What could be healthier? Breakfast is an important meal, and too oft abused with greasy shenanigans. Eat something real for the first meal of your day.
GFMS makes its oatmeal from 100% steel-cut oats and 100% organic rolled oats. If it’s so fresh, then why is it frozen, you ask? So you don’t to do the work! It’s a modern world, and who has time to make oatmeal? I’ve got access to a microwave at work, not a stove top. I don’t know about you, but I like that some products are instant. I’m not a fan of always nuking my food, but it has its place, so you might as well do it properly… do it “Good.” GFMS slowly simmers its oatmeal and then flash freezes it. Why? Because it properly preserves the nutrients and, as importantly, the flavor. Why else? Because they’ve made it easy for us, so all you have to do is enjoy.
Why steel cut then? Well, steel-cut and rolled oats both contain the same fiber, carbohydrates and nutritional value. The difference lies in their textures. Steel-cut oatmeals are made from the cut pieces of the inner part of an oat kernel. The resulting texture is nuttier, with slightly larger size. This gives the oatmeal more of a “chew,” in contrast to the fluffy texture of a rolled oatmeal, which has literally been rolled (think of those massive stone wheels used to crush wheat in olden times) and then roasted.
Three minutes — that’s all it takes to cook quality oatmeal in the morning. You can buy it in three flavors (Brown Sugar, Fruit & Berries and Vermont Maple) or you can just go with the Original unflavored and add to it as you see fit (I like strawberries). It takes 30 minutes (and a stovetop) to make this on your own. Progress is nice, sometimes.
Eric: On a cold winter morning, I would admit that I’m a fan of oatmeal. The hearty, stick to your bones texture warms me up, yet I seldom admit I am fan because the bland flavor leaves me desiring more. There is generally nothing simple about oatmeal aside from the ingredients. It’s not a labor-intensive dish; however, it requires time to make — something that most of us are in short supply of in the morning.
Good Food Made Simple has reevaluated the oatmeal equation of time + effort = taste. Rather than waiting 30 minutes for the stove top version, all your effort goes into finding a bowl and programming the microwave to 3-minutes. To counter the blandness part of the equation, they have incorporated three flavor varieties: Brown Sugar, Fruit & Berries and Vermont Maple Syrup.
Not to say that there aren’t a variety of companies out there vying for the same competitive spot in your freezer, but Good Food Made Simple has made it much easier to choose wisely.