For those who are sick of “plain old oatmeal,” take heart. Many other types of hot cereals may be tried instead. These can be found abundantly at the grocery store or natural foods store and can offer exceptional variety. In addition to oatmeal, some may already be familiar with certain types of cereal like grits or cornmeal mush, cream of wheat, and cream of rice. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however.
Cornmeal mush is a nice change, though it generally requires greater cooking time than quick oats, wheat, or rice cereal. Many people in the Southern US serve grits, which is essentially cornmeal mush that may be fried and given savory toppings like gravy. It’s also excellent as a sweeter cereal topped with molasses.
Cream of wheat and rice are finely ground hot cereals. Often, babies begin eating cereal with cream of rice. Both are almost white when cooked and have a relatively bland taste. This makes them an excellent base for numerous toppings. Fruit, syrups, nuts or sugar can all top either cereal without establishing a taste conflict.
Many people prefer to eat types of hot cereals with a bit more fiber. While oatmeal is a good choice, cereals with mixed grains are also excellent. One may find three grain, seven grain, or nine grain types of cereal. What grains are used tends to differ by brand. Some grains used include flax, millet, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, and amaranth.
These grains tend to take longer to cook because they go through less processing. When one cooks quick oatmeal or cream of wheat, one is cooking tiny flakes of the two grains. The less finely ground or chopped, the longer the cooking time. However, many of these hot cereals cook in about 10 to 15 minutes.
Many enjoy these mixed grain hot cereals because they have a sweet, nutty taste. They are generally an excellent source of dietary fiber, like oatmeal. Because they are packed with complex carbohydrates, they tend to be filling for longer periods of time, which keeps people from feeling the need to snack before lunchtime.
Other types of hot cereals one might not think of include the Moroccan pasta, couscous, and simply brown rice either cooked before and reheated, or cooked at breakfast. Couscous can be delicious paired with raisins and cinnamon. Leftover rice can be simmered in milk, providing protein and fiber. These cereals provide an excellent means for making use of leftovers.
Many cold cereals can also become hot meals. For example, one can add milk to granola and heat it either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Flake cereals may not respond particularly well to reheating, as they tend to get very soggy. Cereal like Grape Nuts® has been traditionally enjoyed either hot or cold.
Further, don’t forget those multi-grain cereal mixes when baking. A little multi-grain cereal added to muffins, pancakes or waffles could make these breakfast foods heartier and healthier.