I must admit if there is one packaged food I do not understand it is instant oatmeal. It is very expensive, a waste of packaging material and the flavored versions are very sweet with minimal amounts of real fruits. All oatmeal (except old-fashioned steel-cut oats) is pretty close to “instant” when you have a microwave oven.
In the winter we cook old-fashioned oats in the microwave with water, and add dried fruit or whatever fresh fruit is in season. In the summer we often roast them lightly in the oven or microwave, add dried nuts and fruit, and serve them cold with milk or yogurt (This is called muesli in Switzerland and our whole family loves it).
This is how I make apple cinnamon oatmeal which is a favorite fall breakfast:
I spoon the amount of dry oatmeal I want (about 1/3 cup) in a ceramic or glass bowl. I add some chopped almonds or pecans, and half of an apple which I have peeled, cored and chopped. I add about a Tablespoon of raisins if I want extra sweetness. Sometimes I also add some wheat germ or ground hemp seeds or flax seeds for extra protein and nutrients. I add about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (you can add a pinch of salt also) and enough water to almost cover the oats, about 1 cup or so.
This is how it looks in the bowl:
Now I put it in the microwave and zap it for 1 minute. I take it out, stir it, zap it for another minute and take it out of the oven. I stir it and let it sit on the counter for a minute. If you like it softer, add more water and cook it longer. I like texture…
Finally I top it with non-fat Greek yogurt, but you can also use milk, vanilla yogurt or anything else you might want to top it with, or nothing at all.
Nutrition tip: Oats and apples are both good sources of soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol levels. Almonds are also a good source of fiber and have some protein. Non-fat Greek yogurt has 3 times the protein of regular nonfat yogurt. All the fiber and protein makes this a very filling breakfast so it should hold you over until lunch.