WHAT'S FOR DINNER?

Breakfast on a hectic weekday morning has a lot to accomplish. It needs to be compellingly delicious, energizing, nourishing and convenient. This dish checks all those boxes, and then some.

Baked oatmeal of any variety turns basic rolled oats into a heavenly bread-pudding-like dish by marrying them with milk, egg, some leavening and sweet, fragrant seasonings such as cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup, and cooking it all in the oven.

The accompanying recipe's flavor inspiration comes from the iconic Morning Glory Muffin, which brings carrot-cake appeal to the picture with shredded carrots, coconut, pecans, raisins and apples.

This truly glorious combination of tastes and textures alone makes it a breakfast worth waking up for, but the ingredients also provide plenty of the nutrition you need to fuel your morning. And because this dish can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator, then reheated, it is incredibly convenient as well. (The baked oatmeal can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Cover with foil and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, or microwave individual portions on high for 1 minute.)

Whip it up in the evening or during the weekend, when you have a little extra time, for something to look forward to on those busy weekdays.

MORNING GLORY BAKED OATMEAL

Makes 8 servings (about 8 cups)

1 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking or instant)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups low-fat milk (1 percent)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 large egg

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 medium Golden Delicious apple (unpeeled), cored and cut into

1/2 -inch pieces (1 cup)

1 or 2 medium carrots, scrubbed well, then shredded (1 cup)

1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish or a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking oil spray.

Mix 1/2 cup of the pecans, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the brown sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.

Stir the oats, baking powder, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl.

Whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, oil and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.

Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture, stirring to combine, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans and the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut, plus the apple, carrots and raisins.

Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the pecan-coconut mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden at the edges and just set at the center. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories, 8g protein, 41g carbohydrates, 18g fat, 4g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 5 dietary fiber, 23g sugar

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