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Queens Chronicle

The joys of oatmeal 101; more than just breakfast

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Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 12:00 am

It’s a new year and maybe time to look at oatmeal in a new way.

Everyone knows oatmeal is perfect to start the day at breakfast. It’s high in fiber, low in fat and helps to lower cholesterol. But there’s a lot more you can do with this grain than just serve it hot in the morning.

It can replace bread crumbs as a binder in meatloaf and other meat products, serve as a crust on chicken or as a flour replacement for cookie bar crusts.

You may be surprised to learn oatmeal has other non-cooking uses. It is a remedy for many skin ailments and can be used as a facial beauty treatment. Add 2 tablespoons to warm bathwater to treat a sunburn, acne, poison ivy or any dry skin condition.

Oatmeal also neutralizes smells. Put an open box in the refrigerator or if there’s a smoker around, sprinkle oatmeal in the bottom of an ash tray.

If you run out of modeling clay and your child is looking for something to do, combine 1 cup of oatmeal, 2/3 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Add food color if desired. Youngsters can play for hours with this mixture, but be warned, it will dry hard.

January is oatmeal month, a perfect excuse to make a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. You can find a recipe on most boxes of oatmeal. For something different, try one of these recipes:

Orange Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Topping:

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in center. In a separate bowl, stir together egg and next four ingredients. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just blended. Spoon into muffin pan coated with cooking spray, filling three-quarters full. For topping, stir together sugar, orange rind and cinnamon. Sprinkle over muffin tops. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Makes 10 muffins.

Spicy Oat Crusted Chicken With Salsa

From the makers of Quaker Oats comes this easy recipe to please the whole family.

Salsa:

3/4 cup prepared salsa

3/4 cup coarsely chopped orange sections

Combine and refrigerate, covered,

until serving time.

Chicken:

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon margarine, melted

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups quick oats, uncooked

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

4 boned and skinned chicken breast

halves (about 5 to 6 ounces each)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In shallow dish, stir together oil, margarine, chili and garlic powders, cumin and salt. Add oats stirring until evenly moistened. In another shallow dish, beat egg and water with fork until frothy. Dip chicken into it, then coat completely in seasoned oats. Place chicken on foil-lined baking sheet. Pat any extra oat mixture onto top of chicken. Bake 30 minutes. Serve with salsa.

Cappuccino Bars

3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder or

instant espresso coffee

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

Glaze:

2 tablespoons hot milk

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

(no granules)

1 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 15 by 10-inch jelly roll pan. In large bowl combine oats, flour, 1 cup walnuts, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer until creamy.

In smaller bowl, whisk eggs with coffee powder and vanilla until blended. Add to butter mixture and continue beating until light and fluffy. Stir in oat mixture; mix well.

Dough will be very thick. Reserve 2 cups for topping. Lightly flour your hands and press remaining oat mixture evenly on bottom of pan.

Spread caramel topping over crust to within 1/4-inch from edges. Drop spoonfuls of reserved dough over caramel topping; sprinkle with remaining nuts.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until center feels firm. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. For glaze, combine milk and coffee powder. Stir until coffee dissolves. Add powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over bars in pan. Let stand 15 minutes to set glaze.

Cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

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