It seems that every time you are required to stay indoors like a snowstorm or a virus, we begin to think of all the things we need to have at home to make it. And many times that is food.

Eggs, flour, sugar, bacon, sausage, ground meat, oatmeal, apples, oranges, cereal, milk and bottled water were on my first list. Your list may have been different.

My family loves breakfast food so many of these can be combined and make a few extra meals with these supplies and come out with a lovely breakfast at lunch or dinner.  

One of the most versatile foods on the list is oatmeal. You can add it for texture. You can blend it in the blender and make oat flour.   

Oats are incredibly nutritious. Whole oats are rich in antioxidants. Oats contain a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan and can lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.

Oatmeal is very filling and may help you lose weight. With all those health benefits, consider oatmeal a go-to pantry staple.  

Finally, oatmeal can help you pinch a few pennies. It is the cheapest breakfast cereal.

Oats can also be added to ground beef to stretch it for many uses, and no one will be able to tell it’s been added. Take 2-1/2 pounds of ground beef and add 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1/2 cup chopped onions. Brown the ground beef mixture, then cool. 

Package as you would for a variety of meals. I use zipper-type freezer bags and store until I am ready to make spaghetti, meatloaf, chili or a variety of hamburger-type casseroles. 

Crunchy Apple Crisp  

6 cups peeled and sliced apples

1/8 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon divided lemon zest

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup golden raisins

3/4 sticks butter

5/8 cup all purpose flour

5/8 cup light brown sugar

5/8 cup oats

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cooking spray or vegetable oil


Combine apples, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon zest, sugar and golden raisins in a bowl.

In another bowl, cut the butter into the flour and stir in the light brown sugar, oats, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Spray interior of 9-by-13-inch glass casserole dish with cooking spray or wipe with vegetable oil.

Spread apple mixture in bottom of camp oven. Top with topping mixture. Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until  topping is brown.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. The oatmeal topping makes a nice crunchy flavor and no nuts for those who are allergic.  

Tasty Oatmeal Pancakes 


1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

1-1/4 cups fat-free milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Stir-ins (optional)

    Blueberry pancakes:

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw).

    Banana pancakes:

1 medium-size ripe banana, mashed

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Apple cinnamon pancakes:

3/4 cup finely chopped apple

1/4 cup chopped nuts

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Chocolate chip pancakes:

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt; mix well.

In separate medium bowl, combine milk, egg and oil; blend well. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (do not over mix). Add one of the stir-in options, if desired; mix gently.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat (or preheat electric skillet or griddle to 375°F). Lightly grease skillet. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter into hot skillet. Turn when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Turn only once.

Serve and enjoy.


MARY KATE RIDGEWAY, a retired Extension leader, is a freelance home economist and educator.

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