Are you a breakfast person?
I’ve never been much of a morning person. That being said, I’ve had jobs that started at 7am and 7:30am, the latter being a one hour drive, so many times I’m rushing out the door before the sun rises.
Who’s got time to eat?
Who’s hungry that early in the morning anyway?
I’ve certainly made efforts to eat breakfast. When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Frosted Flakes. I barely touched any other cereal. When Tony the Tiger says “They’re great!” He nailed it!
Even though I’d still love to eat Frosted Flakes, my desire to lead a healthier life swung me over to Special K. Though that change mostly happened when Special K added different flavors. Vanilla almond pretty much gets the nod.
Thank goodness for Carnation Instant Breakfast. I’d rip open a pouch, pour into a glass, add milk, stir, and that would hold me for a few hours.
Carnation renamed the Instant Breakfast and it now goes by Breakfast Essentials. (Disclosure: if you click the link, you’ll be taken to Amazon. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
Over the years, Carnation evolved into selling them by the bottles, already mixed for you.
Ever since I was a teenager, Carnation has been my go to for breakfast in a hurry.
Check out my post on how I use Carnation Breakfast Essentials in my chocolate peanut banana smoothie.
Some people make breakfast casseroles. They don’t usually interest me, often because the recipes I see contain meat products.
What about a sweet breakfast casserole? Can it be done?
I think it’s already been overdone by way of French toast casserole. Sounds good, but when you’re working at cutting back on bread consumption, that good old French toast won’t work.
Now what about oatmeal? I’ve made oatmeal muffins for breakfast, sometimes jazzed up with chocolate chips. How about jazzing it up even more with peanut butter.
Yummy! Now we’re talking.
My recipe is very easy to put together, and is perfect for making on Sunday. I bake it in a casserole dish, cut it into 6 servings, cover with foil and put in the fridge. On Monday morning I’ll have one portion for breakfast.
Who’s doing the math?
That leaves me with 5 breakfasts. Now, I can either eat one slice every day for 6 days, or I can eat one or two for breakfast (the next day breakfast, not eat 2 at a time!), and then freeze the rest.
When I eat a chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bake, it’s almost like having a piece of cake for breakfast! Oh, and you don’t have to limit yourself to eating this for breakfast. It also makes a fine lunch!
OK, so let’s get started. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
Put 3 cups of oats into a large mixing bowl. What kind of oats you use is up to you. I like the old fashioned whole oats the best because they have a nutty taste. Originally I was just trying to use up the ones I had on hand, but I ended up buying another bag when I ran out. I’ve also used quick oats in this recipe. Either way works.
Next I add in about a tablespoon or so of chia seeds.
I put 2 to 3 tablespoons of brown sugar into the bowl. You can use a different type of sweetener if you prefer. I tried an artificial sweetener, Stevia, and it just didn’t do it for me. It was a not sweet at all breakfast. You might need to experiment a bit with sugar or honey to get this chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal bake at just the right sweetness for you.
Put in two teaspoons each of cinnamon and baking powder. Add a pinch of salt.
If you keep peanut butter powder on hand, you could add a tablespoon into the dry mix. I don’t do this step, but if it tastes good to you – go for it!
I think this chocolate peanut butter powder could be a good fit.
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
In another bowl, add one and a half cups of milk or whatever milk substitute you use. I use cashew milk, it has about 25 calories in a cup. Add half a cup of applesauce.
Next, add eggs, or egg substitute. I’ve tried various combos of this. Sometimes I use half a cup of egg substitute and it works really well. However, I do find it a bit of a pain keeping egg substitute on hand in my fridge. I don’t usually remember to put it on my shopping list! If you have it – great! I try to keep ground flax seed in my cupboard, because that substitutes as an egg. What I find to be a happy medium is one egg into the wet ingredients, plus two tablespoons of ground flax seed. That’s keeping it healthy!
I tried the recipe with no eggs, and used 4 tablespoons of flax seed with about 6 tablespoons of water. It set up well. It was still good, fine to eat, but a little flatter and denser than when putting at least one egg into the batter. If you’re vegan, that’s what you’ll have to do. It didn’t stop me from eating the whole batch!
Next I get a spoon and add two good sized dollops of peanut butter. Mix it as best as you can. The peanut butter doesn’t usually mix in all that well, but try to get it to spread out a bit.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir them. The peanut butter will probably start clinging to the dry ingredients here and won’t end up as a glob in the baking dish.
Stir in a heaping tablespoon of chocolate chips.
Here I caution you not to go overboard on the chocolate chips, no matter how much you love chocolate. I experimented and went as high as 4 tablespoons. The chocolate is just too overpowering.
Spray an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish or baking pan with non-stick spray.
Pour the mixture into the pan and use a spoon to smooth it out flat.
Now here is where you can add extra chocolate chips if you feel you really must have them. It doesn’t hurt to try different amounts the first couple of times you make the chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal bake. I sprinkle about 2 tablespoons on top. I can tell I’ll be getting a few chocolate chips in every section I’m eating.
Bake for about 35 minutes. The top will turn slightly golden and the casserole will spring back lightly when you press on it. You just want to make sure it’s cooked through.
When it cools, cut into 6 sections. You can keep in the fridge all week, or eat one or two sections over the next couple of days and then freeze the rest.
I use a freezer bag, but a plastic container would work well too.
To defrost, put in on a plate in the microwave for about 30 seconds on the defrost setting. Then I heat it up for about a minute and 44 seconds. I know weird time. 44 is my thing on the microwave!
I put a dollop of vanlla Greek yogurt when I eat a bar for breakfast. It’s like I’m eating cake and ice cream! I eat it around 6:15am and it’s close to 5 hours before I start feeling hungry again.
For a variation, I’ve omitted the peanut butter and added a cup of frozen raspberries to the oatmeal bake. And when I put it in the freezer bag, I named it chocolate chip raspberry oatmeal bake so I wouldn’t mix it up with the freezer bag holding the chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal bake. The chocolate chip raspberry oatmeal bake is amazing, but it doesn’t keep me feeling full as long as the chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal bake.