This money-saving recipe comes from one of my great-grandmother’s many cookbooks, this particular cookbook focused on saving money on the grocery bill is from around 1940.
Oatmeal or cornmeal mush are two of the most inexpensive breakfasts you can make, and they also make some of the most unpleasant leftovers, unless you add them to quick breads or muffins. This recipe using up leftover oatmeal is really tasty- but it’s not for beginning muffin bakers. Oatmeal varies greatly in its moisture content- your leftover oatmeal may be thin gruel or it may be thick enough for a spoon to stand up straight in the center. It may be sticky sweet and full of raisins or it may be rich with butter, but not very sweet.
Therefore, the ingredients here are approximate. The batch in the photograph was made with a thicker, less sweet oatmeal, and when I first stirred it into the batter, it looked more like biscuit dough than muffin batter (In fact, I think it would have made delicious biscuits, maybe with pumpkin butter). So I added more milk- somewhere between 1/2 a cup more and a full additional cup- until the batter looked right. If you haven’t made enough muffins to judge between batter and dough, then try one of the other recipes here in our Kitchen. If you’re ready for it, well, then, here you go:
2 cups sifted flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 t. salt
Stir in 1 well beaten egg
2/3 cup cold, leftover oatmeal
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons melted butter or shortening
Stir only enough to moisten flour- lumps are fine. Spoon into greased muffin tins (2/3 full); bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. Makes 12.
Add cinnamon and chopped apple for variety, or, if you like your oatmeal unsweetened, add a bit of grated cheese to the batter.
You can have these for breakfast the day after you’ve had oatmeal, or you can make them for snacks or tea.
Another frugal snack my children used to love is melba toast- I sliced home-made bread into slices about three inches long and one or two inches tall, and then put them on a cookie sheet in the oven on low for a long time- bread was done when golden and fairly hard.
I’ve also made extra pancakes (you can use leftover oatmeal or rice in pancakes as well) for breakfast, and then the children spread leftover pancakes with peanut butter for snacking on later in the day.