SLOW COOKER BREAKFAST

A warm and hearty start to the day is always good.  Not so appealing in the heat of summer but during these wet, chilly days of winter nothing beats a steaming bowl of Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat (Creamita, as my Nana called it) or Muesli.

 

To be honest, I’m a traditional European when it comes to breakfast: a hot cup of coffee and a pastry, is all I need and crave.  But there are days when my body talks to me and cravings for something more substantial is the order of the morning.  When that happens, I listen and take the time to prepare something that interest and satisfies what my body is lacking.  Usually protein.

 

Many of us don’t have a whole lot of time in the morning to prepare a healthy, hearty breakfast on weekdays, especially me.  When my sugary breakfasts need to be replaced midweek I go to my trusty Slow Cooker.  Here’s a recipe for a warm, rich and creamy that will sustain you for several hours and make you feel as though your mom, dad or whoever showed you food-love is still in your kitchen.

INGREDIENTS

— 2 cups steel cut oats (NOT quick cooking – they’ll too mushy)
— 3 cups almond milk
— 1 cup water
— ¼ cup barley
— ¼ cup wheat germ
— ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
— ¼ cup maple syrup
— 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
— 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
— 1 teaspoon cinnamon
— ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds
— ½ cup raisins
— ½ cup other dried fruit such as apples, apricots, currants or bananas
— ¼ cup slivered almonds
— 1 pinch of salt

PROCESS

— Gently add artichoke hearts to the large bowl of roasted vegetables. Stir in Italian seasoning then taste for additional salt and black pepper if needed.

 

In a small mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

 

To assemble: Spray a large loaf pan lightly, with non-stick spray. Then spoon bottom of pan with approximately 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Lay two lasagna noodles on top of sauce (you may need to cut them to size), top with 1/3 of the roasted vegetable mixture, top that with dollops of the ricotta cheese (1/3rd) 1/3 of the sliced mozzarella. Repeat this pattern until you’ve done it 3 times. You should be near the top of the loaf pan but not at the top. Finish with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.

 

Place loaf pan on a clean sheet pan, to catch any spill over. Tear a piece of foil large enough to loosely cover pan, spray one side lightly with non-stick spray and cover lasagna. Bake covered in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes then remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.

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Lasagna should be bubbling and lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes then garnish with remaining basil chiffonade.