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Unexpected Summertime Toppings for Your Oatmeal

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 06/16/14 -- (Family Features) If you think of oatmeal as old fashioned, it's time to think again. Whole grain oats are one of the most versatile breakfast staples and provide a perfect blank slate for this summer's seasonal ingredients. Most produce is at its best during the summer months; fruits like cherries, raspberries and nectarines or vegetables like corn, tomatoes and zucchini are great additions to turn oatmeal from a typical winter dish into a fresh, summer treat.
"It's amazing how toppings found at the grocery store or farmers market can transform a traditional bowl of oatmeal into a culinary delight," says Sam Stephens, owner of OatMeals, the world's first oatmeal bar, which opened its doors in New York City in 2012. "Ingredients like fresh figs and blueberries or even tomatoes and basil can help boost the dish's flavor to the next level and change the way we typically enjoy oatmeal."

As Creative Oatmeal Officer, Stephens has partnered with Quaker to help nourish families in New York City and across the country with creative tips and innovative recipes filled with delicious flavors. She discovered her love for all things oatmeal in college and since then has devoted her life to sharing her passion, creativity and appreciation of oatmeal with everyone. Two of her favorite summer recipes can be found below.

In fact, oatmeal shouldn't be limited to just the breakfast table. It can be a healthy, budget-friendly option for families also looking for delicious snack, lunch or dinner options. There are numerous ways to use simple ingredients to create both savory and sweet dishes for the whole family. Visit www.oatmealchefsam.com for more inspiration.

Red Fruit Trio Oatmeal
Servings: 1

1/2  cup Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned)
2    tablespoons diced strawberries
4-5  fresh raspberries
3    pitted and halved fresh cherries (or 1 tablespoon dried cherries)
     Drizzle of honey

Prepare oatmeal as directed. Top with fruit, drizzle with honey and enjoy. Also try adding 2 teaspoons of dried currants or dried cranberries to create a more flavorful red fruit experience.

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Sweet Corn, Tomato & Pancetta
Servings: 4

1    tablespoon olive oil
1/2  cup diced pancetta (or bacon, prosciutto or ham)
2    cups corn (approximately 3 ears, fresh or frozen and thawed)
1    cup halved cherry tomatoes
1    tablespoon butter
2    diced whole small shallots (optional)
2    diced whole garlic cloves (optional)
1    cup Quaker Steel Cut Oats
4    cup low sodium chicken stock
     Freshly ground black pepper to taste
     Grated Pecorino or Asiago cheese

In large saute pan, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add pancetta, corn and cherry tomatoes, and cook for five minutes. Remove mixture from pan and place in bowl; set aside.

In same pan, add butter, shallots and garlic, and cook for two minutes at medium heat. Add steel cut oats and stir continuously for two to three minutes, until lightly toasted, golden and fragrant. Add chicken stock and stir to combine.

Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are al dente. Add pancetta, corn and tomato mixture to the cooked oats and stir to combine. Season with black pepper to taste and top with grated Pecorino cheese.

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