It may sound bizarre but cereal really can be eaten at any time of the day.
We’re all guilty of filling our stomachs with cereal at times other than breakfast. It’s just like the jingle for Kellogg’s Sultana Bran which ran in the mid 2000’s. You know, the one where the mum arrives home and sings, to the tune of Creedence Clearwater’s Heard it Through the Grapevine, “Is my watch playing tricks on me? You’re eating breakfast and it’s half-past three!” (Said ad is actually a reworking of a 1980s campaign by California Raisins)
I hate packing my lunch for work and I often leave this job for the morning. The problem is I normally wake up dangerously late and don’t even pack anything. That’s when cereal steps in to save the day.
Cereal of the whole grain variety combined with nuts and dried fruit makes a healthy snack for any time of the day. You can even flavour your cereal mixes using a range of herbs and spices like chilli powder, dried parsley, chives or garam masala. These form the basis for the Indian snack Chiwda, and small bowlfuls make great beer snacks. Best of all, if you’re workplace is kind enough to stock a selection of cereal then you don’t even have to plan ahead.
I know what you’re thinking – ‘does he actually think we’re going to eat sweet cereal for dinner?’ Maybe not, and that’d make me sick of the sugar too. What I suggest is the humble oatmeal, but with a savoury twist. And no, I don’t mean the vegetable-flavoured cereal from Daddy Day Care.
A growing number of chefs have been adding savoury oatmeal recipes to their menus in recent times. Not unlike a risotto, oats cooked with stock and a bit of cream are served with a range of flavourings to produce a hearty and warming main meal. Try adding sautéed mushrooms and bacon, or spring vegetables with sliced spring onions.
So you’ve invited friends over and realised that you have nothing in your fridge besides some potatoes, pasta, cheese, cream and your trusty cereal. Fear not – you can have a meal ready in minutes.
Simply boil the potatoes, or pasta (or both) until cooked. Toss through some cream, season with salt and pepper and pour it all into a baking dish. Carefully pound an open bag of cereal with a rolling-pin until crumbly. Combine with grated cheese and sprinkle over the potato mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 180ºC oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and serve with a salad.
As you know, cereal is of course sweet, but when it comes to dessert it’s just not sweet enough. That’s where chocolate comes in and takes your standard cereal to a whole new world (sorry, I’m a Disney freak). Combine your favourite cereal with melted chocolate and set in greaseproof lined baking trays for a delicious bite-sized treat at any time of the day.
When the cereal’s all gone
It’s a sad feeling getting to the end of a cereal box, and sometimes the super hungry attempt to eat the cereal dust gathered at the bottom of the creamy plastic bag. Though delicious when mixed with milk (like the Cereal Milk from David Chang’s New York Momofuku Milk Bar) cereal crumbs are a great alternative to bread crumbs.
Scoop into a jar and when you have enough, you can use them to crumb practically anything from fish to chicken and even tofu. Simply dip the protein or vegetable of your choice first in flour, then beaten egg and finally into the cereal crumbs before baking or frying.
So cereal really cannot be that bad after all. It’s really a whole bunch of meals crammed into a one box, so why not have it for every meal?
So cereal really cannot be that bad after all. It’s really a whole bunch of meals crammed into a one box. At the end of the day I think that using up cereal in these ways is far better than what this YouTuber from the U.S. suggests you do with it:
Writer’s note: This post first appeared as a feature at HIJACKED on October 28, 2014. For more cereal ideas check out my Blueberry and Coconut Museli recipe and my sweet and sticky Semolina Pudding with Berries.