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The Porridge Diet Part 2 - How to use porridge to make your meals more healthy

Updated on May 28, 2011

The Porridge Diet Part 2 - How To Use Porridge In Recipes

How to make your meals more healthy using rolled oats

Ok, so porridge is not the most sexy, exciting food product in the world but I would go as far as saying it is under rated. What actually is Porridge? I eat it, and I like it but I really did not know what porridge was made from so I did a little research.

I had a rummage through my food cupboard and grabbed the Quakers porridge packet and had a look at the contents and guess what? It is made of oats. Yea of course, I know that but I don’t really know what an oat is. Well here goes.......It is a cereal grain grown from seed and mostly it is used to feed animals? Its posh name is Avena sativa. Ok so we know what an oat is but how does it become porridge

The Oat has to go through a few processes like flattening, chopping steaming and toasting before it can be called rolled oats and then ready to make porridge. Did you know oats are used to make baby foods, as a thickener, and are used in granola and muesli?

As things go rolled oats are really a cheap food to buy and the great thing is that eating oats is really good for the health. It helps to reduce cholesterol, it is a source of antioxidant and it is believed to help the circulatory system. It also can help people with type 2 diabetes as controls blood sugar levels.

So now we know a little bit more about porridge, or the rolled oats it is made from. One of the best things about Porridge or anything made with oats is that it fills you up for ages. So I started to think about trying to use it more in my meals. I had used porridge to kick start my diet, but bowl after bowl after bowl started to get a bit boring so I figured that if I could incorporate it into my cooking I could fill myself up for longer.

Now I am not a sophisticated cook by any means and although I love watching TV cooking programmes and get inspired I never have the right ingredients in my cupboard and cannot find them in them in the supermarket. The other thing that really winds me up is you only need two grains of something and you can only buy a ton of it, so it sits in the food cupboard and never gets used again.

I cook for a family most days and decided to make a casserole and throw a handful of rolled oats into the mix about 20 minutes before it was cooked. I usually do not measure anything out before cooking so here is my recipe for a lamb casserole.

Lamb Casserole with Rolled Oats

Cooking time: 2 hours if you use a joint, adjust cooking times to allow for size of meat pieces

A small joint of shoulder lamb or four large lamb chops or any other cut of lamb about the size of a small joint.

One large onion

Four carrots

Two parsnips

Small turnip

Half a small swede

Two large potatoes

1 cup of rolled oats

Stock about 1 pt or one stock cube, vegetable, dissolved in 1 pt of water

Instructions

Put meat into a large casserole dish

Chop all the vegetable into large chunks, about 1 inch in size.

Place vegetables, except potatoes, around the meat

Pour stock over all of the ingredients so as it is covering the meat, it does not matter if it is not completely submerged as long as there is enough stock to allow the vegetables to cook and the meat to stew. Either cover the dish with silver foil or put a lid on the dish and put in oven at a medium heat for 1hour 30 mins.

Remove casserole from oven and add the potatoes, return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Check the meat is cooked; it should easily fall off the bone and be tender and soft. If it is not, return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Check again and when it is as tender as you want it add the rolled oats. This will thicken the juices and will need about 10 minutes to do so. Check to see if the juices are thickened enough to your taste, if not add another half cup of rolled oats. Return to oven for further 5 to 10 minutes.

There has been no fat added in the preparation of this meal and the rolled oats will add bulk and thicken the stock, and the meal will make you feel fuller for longer. If you want to be extra healthy prepare the dish the day before you want to eat it. Leave to cook and when the fat from the meat has hardened on the top take it off and throw away. Now you have a low fat, extra filling, tasty and easy to prepare meal.

I did not stop with the casserole and stews, I then grabbed the box of oats and tried out a few other additions:

Other uses for rolled oats:

Roasting a joint – place some oats in the bottom of the roasting tin. Not only will they expand and soak up the meat juices, they can be served with the meat as a savoury extra.

Creamed potatoes with rolled oats

When making mashed potatoes, add a handful of rolled oats just before the potatoes have cooked, drain and mash. The oats will add a slight texture, hardly be noticed and again make you feel fuller for longer.

Rolled oats as a crumble topping for fruit

Put rolled oats, flour, sugar into blender with small amount of butter, give it a whirl, and then tip onto fruit. Pop in oven, wait till topping has browned and remove. Again, this will fill you and your family up and make you feel fuller for longer.

This is a naughty rolled oats recipe but it will make you feel fuller for longer, much more than a chocolate bar, biscuit or other sweet snack.

Flapjacks

2oz low fat spread or olive spread

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4/5 cups of rolled oats

Melt butter, syrup and sugar together in large saucepan. Add the rolled oat and make sure they are covered in the melted mixture. The consistency should be quite stiff, not runny.

Pour mixture into pre greased baking tray and press down hard. Score out with a knife the mixture into the shape and size you want your flap jack to be. Put into medium oven for about 20 minutes or until the mixture starts to brown. Do not overcook, removed from oven, leave to cool once turned out onto a wire cooling rack. Once cool break the flapjacks up into the pre marked squares.

If you wish you can add dried fuit, nuts, coconut, chocolate, anything that takes your fancy before putting into oven.

If you are interested in using rolled oats in your cooking and are looking for more recipes take a look at the large producers of rolled oats web sites. They all have recipes and health tips that you may help. I know Quakers because that is what I buy and use, but any brand will have information that can help you in your quest for health and weight loss.

All the best

The porridge lady

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