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Now You’re Cooking: Easy Recipes for Back-to-School

Now that school is back in session, make-ahead recipes are essential. Overnight oats are the perfect breakfast if you love oatmeal but don’t have time to cook it before you rush out the door. This base recipe pairs oats with precooked quinoa. Both are soaked together in almond milk overnight with a splash of maple syrup, Greek yogurt, chia seeds and a touch of cinnamon. In the morning, the oats are soft and easy to digest, and the mixture has a thick, porridge-like consistency.

Make this recipe your own by customizing it with different mix-ins and toppings. Quinoa is a staple in our home, so I usually have a batch prepared and in the fridge for use throughout the week. It makes an excellent addition to overnight oats, but if you aren’t a fan, just sub with additional oats and increase the almond milk to 1 cup.

This recipe makes 1 serving, so make as many servings (each in a separate jar) as you’d like. Overnight oats will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Overnight Quinoa Oats

(Makes 1 serving)

¼ cup cooked and cooled ivory quinoa

¼ cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)

¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or milk of choice, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt or natural almond, cashew or peanut butter

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, honey or sweetener of choice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

Optional toppings: Diced fresh seasonal fruit and/or berries, seeds and/or chopped nuts, drizzling of nut butter

Combine quinoa, oats, almond milk, yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in a small wide-mouth mason jar; stir. Cover and chill overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Stir the mixture, adding a little more almond milk or sweetener, if desired. Top with fruit/berries or any other topping.

These easy No-Bake Energy Bites remind me so much of peanut butter cookie dough, and they take only minutes to make. Perfect for a pre-workout boost or afternoon pick-me-up! Start with this simple base recipe, then customize it to your liking with different mix-ins. I rolled some of the energy bites in shelled hemp seeds and cacao nibs, but this is completely optional.

No-Bake Energy Bites

(Makes 16 balls)

1 cup old-fashioned oats

½ cup natural drippy peanut butter, almond butter or nut butter of choice

¼ cup honey or pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Optional mix-ins: 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped dried cherries, raisins, mini-chocolate chips or cacao nibs

Combine oats, peanut butter, honey, flaxseed, vanilla and salt in a bowl, and stir well to combine. This can also be done in a food processor for more-compact balls. Stir in mix-ins, if using.

Use a measuring tablespoon or small cookie scoop to portion out the dough and then roll it into balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Chris Garboski managed the HQ test kitchen at Nestle and produced more than a thousand recipes in her 25 years with the company. Her proudest accomplishment has been raising triplets.

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