How to Make Overnight Oats for Breakfast so You Can Actually Get Out the Door on Time

I SO needed this primer on how to make overnight oats! She goes through just how to do it, what kinds of oats you should or shouldn't use, how much milk or liquid, and how to make overnight oats in a jar. Then she includes 5 variation recipes to try at home. These are so helpful for quick breakfasts when I need to get out the door but still have a healthy breakfast that's a quick breakfast recipe, too. Very tasty and helpful post.

I SO needed this primer on how to make overnight oats! She goes through just how to do it, what kinds of oats you should or shouldn't use, how much milk or liquid, and how to make overnight oats in a jar. Then she includes 5 variation recipes to try at home. These are so helpful for quick breakfasts when I need to get out the door but still have a healthy breakfast that's a quick breakfast recipe, too. Very tasty and helpful post.

I SO needed this primer on how to make overnight oats! She goes through just how to do it, what kinds of oats you should or shouldn't use, how much milk or liquid, and how to make overnight oats in a jar. Then she includes 5 variation recipes to try at home. These are so helpful for quick breakfasts when I need to get out the door but still have a healthy breakfast that's a quick breakfast recipe, too. Very tasty and helpful post.

I SO needed this primer on how to make overnight oats! She goes through just how to do it, what kinds of oats you should or shouldn't use, how much milk or liquid, and how to make overnight oats in a jar. Then she includes 5 variation recipes to try at home. These are so helpful for quick breakfasts when I need to get out the door but still have a healthy breakfast that's a quick breakfast recipe, too. Very tasty and helpful post.

Today, my busy lovelies, I’m going to teach you how to make overnight oats for breakfast so you can actually get up, get out, and not be running late on an empty stomach for once.

You’ve probably heard some fuss about overnight oats and how they can save you time, money, and extra calories in the mornings. It’s true! Overnight oats are a fab option for busy people breakfasts since they are literally made while you sleep.

Overnight oats can save you a ridiculous amount of time in the mornings, and as a bonus, they are super customizable, easy to make, and a great make-ahead prep recipe!

Here’s why learning how to make overnight oats can save you morning time hassles.

I’ve long struggled with eating breakfast; I’m rarely hungry in the morning and would prefer just coffee.

But I know breakfast is important, and if I don’t eat it, I usually wind up a hangry, shouty mommy by like 9am.

Not good.

I kept hearing how amazing overnight oats were, but I was hesitant to try it out since, like, cold oatmeal? Um, no.

But my son loves oatmeal and I was sick of making it from scratch in the mornings, so I gave an overnight oats recipe a whirl.

They’re more filling than a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast, and I can create individual options for my kids based on their tastes. PBJ for one, brown sugar and walnuts for the other, fruit-topped for me.

Or we could all eat the same flavor instead. No one will die from the lack of variety. But that’s not nearly as Pinterest-y, now, is it? 😉

These little overnight oats in a jar are also a fab grab-and-go breakfast item. Kinda like this Overnight Chia Pudding, you can whip up a batch during a weekend Power Hour prep sesh and line them up in your fridge for the week.

Since they do all their ‘cooking’ while you sleep, it’s the ultimate in easy prep!

Does it matter which oats you use?

In a word, no.

Personally, I prefer steel-cut oats to rolled oats, since I like the chewy, hearty texture.

But rolled oats are the standard style of oats most “experts” (ahem, other foodies) recommend when teaching how to make overnight oats, so that’s the more “traditional” choice.

1-minute or quick oats are generally not recommended since they get super soggy overnight.

How do you store overnight oats?

I prefer to mix up overnight oats plain, with no seasoning other than some salt, and pop the mixture into small, 1-cup Pyrex glass containers since they will stack easier to stack in the fridge. But mason jars are a great place to store overnight oats as well, also.

And, of course, mason jars are way more Instagram-worthy. These are the important details, after all.

Here’s an easy formula to remember how to make overnight oats: 1 Part Oats + 1 Part Liquid + Sit Overnight, then add toppings. 

  • Take one part steel cut oats (which are better for overnight oats since they’re ‘sturdier’ than quick oats)
  • Combine with equal parts liquid (milk, water, even bone broth if you like your oats savory)
  • Shake
  • Sit, overnight if possible
  • Add toppings (nuts, peanut butter, coconut flakes, etc)
  • Enjoy!

Here are 5 easy variations on overnight oats:

 

Overnight Oats
Prep Time
5 mins
 
Some people like to add the flavorings and toppings beforehand, but I find a lot of toppings don't hold up well to overnight soaking and can get a little soggy. Experiment and find what you like best!
Servings: 2
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats (see note)
  • 2 cup milk (see note)
  • 1 pinch salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Instructions
  1. Combine oats, milk, and salt in a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid, seal, and shake to mix thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Top as desired and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

A note on oat types: Steel cut oats will give you a 'chewier' and heartier texture (they're my favorite!) Rolled oats are the standard style used in most overnight oats recipes and bring a more traditionally soft oatmeal texture Quick or 1-minute oats tend to get too soggy when left overnight; these are best used when you want "overnight" oats but forgot to make them the night before 🙂

A note on milk types: Feel free to use any kind of milk here, be it plant-based or animal based. You can also sub in water or even bone broth if you're going for a savory flavor!

3 Genius Ways to Uplevel Homemade Chicken Tenders

Upleveled Homemade Chicken Tenders

Homemade chicken tenders are like the holy grail of kid food, aren’t they?

Unless a kid is hard-core against meat, I’ve yet to meet a child (or any meat-eater, really) who doesn’t love a good homemade chicken tender.

The problem, though? Homemade chicken tenders can be dry, tasteless, and the bottoms get all gummy.

GROSS.

I mean, my kids would still eat it. With enough ketchup, they’ll eat anything, actually.

Lucky for you, I’ve made approximately 9 billion chicken tenders in my life.

And along the way, I’ve figured out a handful of sneaky hacks and tricks that will seriously uplevel a plain old chicken tender.

Are you ready to hear what they are?

I outlined them in this video I made with my kids on Facebook Live in my private Facebook group, Busy Mamas Cooking In Tiny Kitchens (I’d love for you to join the community, btw!)

Oh, and you’ve been warned: this video is REAL LIFE, DUDES. My son was teething and crabby and clingy. He wouldn’t let me put him down so I had to cook without the use of both hands. My daughter dumped like, 18 tons of Parmesan cheese into the breading mix (whoops). My son dropped chicken tender on my shirt and then ate it anyway (and I had to go change).

This is life when you’re cooking with kids in the kitchen, and I’m sure many of you can relate! Plus, my kitchen’s not the tidiest, there are toys littering the background, and the linoleum on my rental apartment floor is truly hideous.

Whatever.

We got dinner made, and that’s the important part!

And here’s the recipe! I don’t usually use a recipe when I make tenders – it’s more of a general thing.

1/2 pound of chicken + 1/2 cup white flour + 1 egg, whisked + 2 tablespoons mustard + 1 cup panko breadcrumbs + 1/2 cup parmesan.

Mix the egg and mustard together in a large bowl. Mix the panko and parmesan together in another large bowl. Dredge the chicken in flour, then the egg/mustard mix, then the parmesan/panko mix.

Fry until golden brown and crispy, and drain on a paper-towel lined plate

or

Bake in a 400*F preheated oven, on top of a cookie rack lining a sheet pan. This helps (facilitate airflow above and below the tenders)

 

YUM! Do your kids loovvveee chicken tenders as much as mine do!?

3 Ingredient Irish Homemade Chocolate Bark (with Tayto and Crunchie Bar!)

Ok, I know I’m going to get lambasted for this Irish homemade chocolate bark recipe. Seriously: chocolate and cheese & onion crisps and honeycomb crunchie bar!? The Irish people I know are rolling their eyes as we speak.

But to them, I say: wait! YOU NEED TO TRY THIS. I promise you; this is the homemade candy bar you have never known your life was missing.

This Irish Homemade Chocolate Bark is weird and wonderful and perfect for a Saint Patrick’s Day treat this March – or just to make, anytime!

There is something so satisfying about all the different textures and flavors going on in here.

Have you ever dumped a box of Milk Duds into your popcorn at the movies? A friend and I were just chatting about this very thing the other day as we pushed our kids on the swings; the unexpected deliciousness of it is a happy surprise amidst overpriced candy and sticky theater floors.

I made this Homemade Irish Chocolate Bark using just three ingredients: chocolate candy melts, Tayto Cheese & Onion Crisps, and Cadbury Crunchie Bars.

Tayto is a mainstay crisp/potato chip of Ireland; In all my years of both living in and traveling to Ireland (my husband is from Dublin; that’s where we met!), I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a pub that didn’t sell them. It’s a thin chip/crisp, coated in powdery cheese and onion flavor. The closest thing to it here in America would be a Lay’s sour cream and onion chip.

Cadbury Crunchie Bar is another thing altogether; it’s hard to describe to someone if they’ve never heard of honeycomb toffee before. You can often buy puffy honeycomb toffee in Amish markets if you’re close to one, and then dip it in chocolate – but the easiest way is to make it yourself. Buzzfeed has an easy link to a recipe and video. 

Of course, if you DON’T want to make it yourself, and wish for a speedier substitution (I’m all about quick workarounds here, after all) I would substitute chocolate coated toffee like a Heath bar.

Just make sure you cut the bar up super fine; you want the chocolate, toffee, and potato-y flavor to all meld in together on top of the chocolate candy melts.

What do you think? Would you eat chocolate, cheesy crisps, and toffee all together in a candy bar!? (After all, Tayto has done something similar in the past already!)

if it helps, I made the cute little video below showing you just how it’s done!

Let me know what you think in the comments- is this TOO weird? Is it actually genius!?  I want to hear your thoughts!

HEY! WANT TO GET DINNER DONE TONIGHT, SUPER QUICK!? 
DOWNLOAD THIS EASY CHEAT SHEET- 7 EASY HACKS TO GET DINNER ON THE TABLE, FAST!

Easiest Dinner Hack Ever – Naan Pizza Freezer ‘Kit’

This dinner hack has seriously been saving my life this week, since it has been so crazy around here! She's right about the naan pizzas tasting exactly like regular pizza dough, so no using raw or frzoen dough! And I love the tip she includes for how to make a freezer pack diy meal kit thing. Good idea!

Naan Pizza is the easiest dinner ‘hack’ you’ll ever use; baked naan makes a chewy crust without having to use raw dough, you can use whatever leftovers you have on hand, and as a bonus, naan pizza works great in a DIY Freezer Meal ‘Kit’!

I first wrote about naan pizzas on this site over a year ago, when the site was brand new, my photography was horrific, and I was still finding my feet in this space.

But now, a year later, I feel the need to touch on this incredibly simple dinner. Nann pizza are still my favorite last-minute, shit-has-hit-the-fan, crap-whats-for-dinner go-to standard.

Know why? It’s not just because this is an incredibly tasty dish (it is). Or its propensity for using up leftovers (something I love doing).

It’s because naan pizza makes the best DIY Freezer Meal Kits!

What’s a DIY Freezer Meal Kit? I like to describe this little timesaving approach to freezer cooking as ‘Make Ahead Meals Meets Blue Apron.”

How a DIY Freezer Meal Kit Works.

The beauty of a meal kit, such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or Sun Basket, is that they send you a box of prepared ingredients along with a clear-cut, easy-to-follow set of recipes. They take any sort of guesswork out of your dinnertime cooking, which can be a huge relief for busy people.

The popularity of meal kits lies in three things:

  • It solves ‘decision fatigue’ about what to make for dinner.
  • It brings new, fresh recipes to your family table.
  • The whole thing is packaged in a way that your ‘mise en place’ is more or less done for you already.  

But a make your own Freezer Meal Kit is better than a mail order option – because YOU choose the dish!

You control the budget, and you control what you make and when.

Not every recipe makes a perfect DIY freezer meal kit, but many do.

Naan pizza is one such recipe.

See, the beauty of a naan pizza lies in its simplicity.

I mean, that’ss what’s so great about pizza itself, right? It’s customizable and versitle, can be eaten hot or cold, and everyone loves it.

Naan pizzas take what’s great about regular pizza… and makes it even easier.

You literally couldn’t get pizza any easier unless you called for takeout.

Here’s the big, scary ingredients list:

naan bread

pizza sauce 

cheese 

topping 

THAT’S IT.

Naan Pizzas are a great recipe to get kids helping in the kitchen.

In fact, I made naan pizzas with my 2 kids in a Facebook Live earlier this week in my Facebook group, Busy Mamas Cooking.

I put the dish together with my two kids hanging off of me in my tiny little galley kitchen, and the results were sometimes funny (my son ate practically a whole naan bread while I faced the camera from the other direction, for starters. And my normally ‘shy’ daughter acted like she was on Star Search and this was her chance at a big break. But other than that, it went off without a hitch).

I edited the Live broadcast down for this post, but you can see the highlight reel right up above- where I put the pizzas together for a freezer kit:

DIY Freezer Meal Kits are so easy, you’d feel crazy for not thinking about them before! But yep- put everything that you need for one dish in a big plastic bag, and puot that plastuic bag in the freezer. When you want to make the dish, pul it, thaw it, and cook it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Naan pizza works wel here because it can all fit inside a platic bag and the components freeze fanulously. And then once thawed, you have dinner on the table in like, 10 minutes.

I mean, what can be better than that!?

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Here’s a list of my favorite naan pizza toppings: 

Spanish chorizo and manchego cheese

Fried egg, sausage, bacon, and cheddar cheese

Ricotta cheese, honey, and almond slivers

Monterey jack cheese, salsa, and pulled pork

The possibilities are literally endless! 

How about YOU!? Have you tried naan pizza? What about a freezer meal kit? I want to hear about it!

One-Pan 20-Minute Lemon Chicken Piccata

 

I get chicken piccata whenever we go to an Italian restaurant for dinner, and I never realized how easy it is to make it at home! She includes a really simple parmesan spinach orzo recipe to go on the side, too. My husband loved this recipe.

 

Something about chicken piccata feels so fancy to me, but surprise! This one-pan wonder only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

I’ve got a few ways for you to cook this easy lemon chicken piccata, and all of them are simple and perfect for a weeknight dinner. Chicken piccata is also one of those wonder dishes that tastes better a day or so after it’s made, so this recipe is also a banging idea for make-ahead lunches and meals!

Traditional chicken piccata, a dish that originated in Italy, is made with chicken or veal that has been pounded thin and then cooked quickly in a simple sauce of lemon and butter.

Over the years, cooks began jazzing the lemon sauce up with the addition of capers, whose briny bite rounds out the flavor and takes the dish to the next level in flavor.

I like to prepare my chicken piccata one of two ways: with chicken (or veal, if I’m lucky) cut into bite sized pieces and then floured and cooked, or with thinly pounded chicken cutlets. Both quick quickly and taste great, although each bersion brings a different benefit to the dish.

My recipe for chicken piccata starts with flouring the chicken pieces and then quickly drying them in oil until they’ve browned.

If you choose to cook this dish using bite-sized pieces of chicken, it will take a few more minutes to cook since you’ll need to turn each little bite-sized piece individually – but you’ll maximize the texture of the chicken, since each piece will have 4 full sides of chewy, fried, lemony yumminess (and yes, ‘yumminess’ is a technical term 😉)

A quicker version calls for flouring strips of chicken that have been pounded thin with a mallet. This way won’t offer the full surface-area-chewiness that cooking with smaller pieces will, but the strips will cook slightly faster, since there’s only one flip to make as the chicken browns.

It’s your call – but either way, you’re the real winner here with this tasty, easy, one-pan weeknight recipe!

Whichever way you toss it (fry it?), it’s still a great recipe to keep in your repertoire.

Chicken piccata feels ‘fancy’ enough for dinner parties (I won’t tell anyone how easy it is if you don’t tell anyone!) and like I said, it makes for banging leftovers; that lemon sauce only deepens in flavor as it sits. It’s so good, I may or may not have been known to eat this baby cold and straight out of the fridge #guilty.

Simple Chicken Piccata with Spinach and Parmesan Orzo
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • ½ cup white flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 cups uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2-3 shallots thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon zest
  • 2 tablespoons capers
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Alternatively, pound the chicken into thin cutlets. 

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour with salt and pepper. Add the cut chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Add the chicken pieces in an even layer and cook, turning once or twice until browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan once browned, and set aside. Do not wipe the pan.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, boil the orzo. Fill a medium pot with water halfway, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook, testing occasionally for doneness, about 5-8 minutes. The orzo is done when completely soft all the way through, but still retains a bit of chewy bite. Drain orzo and then return to the pot.
  5. Remove the pot from heat and add in parmesan, then season with salt and pepper. Stir the orzo to thoroughly combine the parmesan, then add the fresh spinach. Toss the spinach with the cheesy orzo until spinach has softened and wilted, then set aside until service.
  6. After the chicken has cooked and has been removed from the pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, 1-2 minutes, until cooked through and fragrant.
  8. Add the chicken stock to the pan, deglazing the onions, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add the lemon juice, zest, and capers, and stir to combine. Let the sauce come to a simmer, then add the chicken back to the pan.
  10. Cook until the chicken is heated through and fully cooked, about 3-5 minutes, then serve with the orzo.
Recipe Notes

You can use chicken cut into bite-sized pieces, or chicken that has been pounded into thin cutlets - your call. 

Instead of shallot, substitute one small white onion, thinly sliced

Chili-Lime Tuna Salad Pita Pockets (Low-Carb Make-Ahead Lunch Idea!)

My new year's resolution is to spend less money during the week, so I've been packing lunches to take to work. This chili lime tuna salad in a pita is a great lunch! It's literally four ingredients, counting the pita, and it travels really well, too. A++ pin.My new year's resolution is to spend less money during the week, so I've been packing lunches to take to work. This chili lime tuna salad in a pita is a great lunch! It's literally four ingredients, counting the pita, and it travels really well, too. A++ pin.

I was sent free product from Safe Catch, and I loved it, which is why I’m sharing it here. There was no other compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own. Affiliate links are included in this post below. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission in return. For more info on my disclosure policies, click here.

If you’re trying to find a low-carb make-ahead lunch idea, your options can sometimes seem pretty limited.

But you know what’s not a limiting low-carb make-ahead lunch idea? Tuna salad.

Yeah, you heard me right. Tuna freaking salad.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Tuna salad!? So boring. And I don’t need any more boring ideas. I need GOOD ideas.”

And hey, trust me, I get it. I was raised on a steady diet of canned tuna fish in any number of iterations. It was a Midwest staple in our home growing up.

But those flavorless gas-station/snack stop/homemade tuna salad sandwiches ain’t got nothing on a Chili Lime Tuna Salad Sandwich, stuffed into a pita and bursting with actual flavor.

It’s the perfect low-carb make-ahead lunch idea.

And it is anything but boring.

Thanks to that aforementioned Midwest canned tuna diet, I do have a natural affinity for the stuff. So when Safe Catch contacted me and offered to send some of their low-mercury high-quality tuna my way, I was intrigued.

You guys know I don’t review a lot of product on this website. That’s not for lack of offers! I get quite a few every day, in fact- but very few pass the test for me to actually spend time talking about.

But what I read about Safe Catch sounded different, so I agreed. And I was so impressed by what they sent!

 

First off, the thing I really liked about Safe Catch is that their tuna has the highest amount of omega-3’s than any other canned tuna brand.

How? Most tuna companies double-cook their tuna, losing a lot of the healthy natural oils in the process. Safe Catch, however, slow cooks their hand-cut tuna steaks, sealing in those oils.

That’s why they recommend not draining the oils from the can after opening; because the tuna is so well taken care of prior to packaging, it’s actually healthier to eat the tuna this way!

Plus, the tuna they sent came in an array of cool flavors; along with their plain tuna, they sent me Chili-Lime (used in the pictures and this recipe), Habanero-Mint, and Citrus-Pepper.

They also included a jar of Chosen Foods Avocado Mayonnaise, which makes this sandwich even lower in carbs, full of healthy fats, and bursting with flavor.

It means I made this chili-lime tuna salad with only three ingredients: their flavored tuna, celery, and the avo mayo. But, if you can only get your hands on plain ole’ albacore tuna and you want to jazz it up to be chili-lime, that totally works as well – I’ve included the measurements to do so in the recipe below.

So you see? Tuna Salad as a low-carb make-ahead lunch idea.

It’s a thing.

You’re gonna love it.


Where you can find Safe Catch Tuna: 

Safe Catch website (and sign up for a 10% off coupon!) 

Amazon 

Thrive Market

Chili-Lime Tuna Salad Pita Pockets
If you'd like to make the chili-lime tuna salad from scratch, substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes and 1 tablespoon lime juice to plain tuna, celery, and mayonnaise, then mix well.
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 5 ounce can Safe Catch Chili-Lime Albacore Tuna
  • 2 celery stalks rinsed and trimmed on either end
  • 1/4 cup Chosen Foods Avocado Mayonnaise
  • 1 pita bread sliced in half
Instructions
  1. Finely dice the celery and place in a large bowl.
  2. Open the tuna and add to the bowl, then add the mayonnaise.
  3. Stir to combine well
  4. Slice open the insides of each pita, and stuff with the tuna mixture.