recipe_proscuitto Oatmeal
Food + Drink

3 Ohio Bed-and-Breakfast Oatmeal Recipes

Oatmeal has a tame reputation. Here’s how three B&Bs get creative with the morning standby.

Oatmeal is known for being either bland and dense or loaded with brown sugar. But oats themselves are healthy for us (they can lower bad cholesterol), and on a chilly winter morning, a hot bowl of cereal is a sure way to warm up. So we asked three Ohio bed-and-breakfast owners who make morning meals their business to show us flavorful ways to dress up these traditionally ho-hum grains. From luscious poached pears to savory prosciutto, lively ingredients give these three dishes the flavor their blank canvases have been waiting for.

Oatmeal with Prosciutto and Poached Egg
The Pines of Dresden, Dresden

Marin Starr and his wife, Allison Brown, restored their 1812 farmhouse in Muskingum County with a careful eye to the home’s history. Patchwork quilts and poster beds offer a homey charm and complement the exposed brick and original wood flooring. And, when it comes to dining, guests here are treated with equal care.

“We have a fairly extensive menu that changes with the seasons,” says Starr. It offers plenty of opportunities to experiment with indulgences such as bacon-wrapped meatloaf with a chili barbecue glaze. The satisfying and creative dishes continue at breakfast, including Starr’s oatmeal with prosciutto and poached egg.

“What makes oatmeal great is that, one, it’s healthy, but, two, you can do so much with it,” Starr says. “My foods tend to lean toward savory more than sweet. It’s kind of the way that I eat.”

Thick rolled oats serve as the base for Starr’s dish. Much like the bread of a breakfast sandwich, they soak in the yolk of the poached egg and are simple enough in flavor to allow for the pronounced indulgence of crumbled prosciutto and a heavy hand of sharp cheddar cheese, which is shredded and melted into the oats.

“It tastes like something that you would have before you went out hunting,” Starr says. “It definitely isn’t going to leave you hungry in a couple hours. It’s very nourishing, satisfying, and it’s very delicious.”

42 W. Dave Longaberger Ave., Dresden 43821, 740/754-4422,

RECIPE: Oatmeal with Prosciutto and Poached Egg
Courtesy of The Pines of Dresden

3 strips prosciutto (or bacon)
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
2 fresh eggs
Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

Place strips of prosciutto or bacon on a baking sheet and place in cold oven. Heat oven to 350 F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired doneness.

In a small saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups of water, salt and black pepper and bring to a boil. Add oats and reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until water is absorbed, then remove from heat. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Set aside.

While oats are simmering, poach two eggs in a separate saucepan. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the pan to a clean towel, letting the excess water drain off.
Divide the oatmeal into two bowls. Crumble one piece of prosciutto or bacon, then divide between the bowls, stirring to mix in with the oatmeal. Place the remaining pieces on each bowl of oatmeal, then top with one egg. Garnish with cheddar cheese and chopped parsley or chives. Serves 2

Wintertime Spiced Oatmeal
Wintertime Spiced Oatmeal
Mirabelle Bed & Breakfast, Wooster

Steve and Susie Ellis’ four bedroom home balances traditional furniture with brightly colored walls. Guests who stay here are often treated to cream cheese-filled French toast or sweet-and-spicy bacon encrusted with brown sugar, chili powder and pecans. But for some, the B&B’s spiced oatmeal has become a repeat request.

“Here is a way to make a good oatmeal that is really flavorful without really any sweetener,” says Steve Ellis. 

His creation is the perfect base for variations. He lays out bowls of crushed nuts, sliced bananas, heavy cream, brown sugar and hot maple syrup for guests to create their own versions. But the wintry spices that go into the base recipe, along with the sweet raisins and a dark rum waft of vanilla, deliver enough comfort on their own. Ellis says how you cook the oats is essential to yielding the perfect texture. Because oatmeal will firm up once it is removed from heat, make sure a little liquid is left in the saucepan when you pull it from the burner.

“When I serve it to my guests with the cinnamon, the nutmeg and all those spices and cook it right ... they always say, ‘This is the best oatmeal I have ever had,’ ” says Ellis. 

1626 Beall Ave., Wooster 44691, 330/264-6006,

Wintertime Spiced Oatmeal
Courtesy of Mirabelle Bed & Breakfast

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup (optional)

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients, and then stir into boiling water. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Remove from heat, then stir in the vanilla and divide into two bowls. Drizzle with warm maple syrup (optional). Serves 2

Additions: Add chopped bananas, chopped nuts, brown sugar or milk. For another wintry touch, grate orange zest on top. 

Bananas Foster Version: Warm 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of Kahlua in a skillet, then stir in one sliced banana. Top bowls of oatmeal with caramelized bananas.

Scottish Oats with Pears
Scottish Oats with Vanilla and Lemon Poached Pears
Arthur Morgan House, Yellow Springs

The Arthur Morgan House in Yellow Springs has been a bed-and-breakfast for more than 30 years. In November 2014, longtime local resident Stacey Wirrig purchased the six-bedroom home and began reinventing it.

“We try to be a little bit more between a small boutique hotel and what people think of as the traditional bed-and-breakfast,” says Wirrig’s husband, Steve, who can be found making breakfast for guests. With a focus on local, seasonal and organic ingredients, he cooks dishes crafted by the bed-and-breakfast’s head chef, Erin Campbell. The entree menu always includes a hot or cold cereal, and this winter, the B&B is treating guests to Scottish oats with vanilla and lemon poached pears.

“Poaching is great, as it will turn a hard, unripe pear into a tender, sweet and flavorful one,” Campbell explains.  

Spooned over earthy Scottish oats, the pears offer a contrast to the crunch and toasty notes of the porridge. To get the right consistency, Campbell adds a little more water at the end of cooking and taste-tests along the way. “When the oats go from hard and chalky centers to a nutty chew, they are ready.”

120 W. Limestone St., Yellow Springs 45387, 937/767-1761,

Scottish Oats with Vanilla and Lemon Poached Pears
Courtesy of the Arthur Morgan House

Vanilla and Lemon Poached Pears

4 firm pears
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
Peel of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups sweet white wine (optional)

Peel, halve and core pears. Place in a saucepan with the vanilla bean and seeds, spices, lemon juice and peel, sugar and wine. Add water to cover. (If omitting wine, add enough water to cover.) Stir gently, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are easily pierced with a knife. Remove pan from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a cutting board, reserving poaching liquid. Slice cooled pears into 1/2-inch wedges. Return to poaching liquid. Cover to keep warm.

Scottish Oats

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup Scottish oats
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup equal mix of dried currants and dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted pecans
2 tablespoons coconut flakes (toasted or plain)
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
Unsweetened almond or rice milk

Pour water into a saucepan, then add oats, salt and dried fruit. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for approximately 10 minutes. Oats are done when they turn into a chewy texture. Divide into two large bowls, top with a few warm poached pear slices and spoon a bit of poaching liquid over oats. Garnish with toasted pecans, coconut flakes and sesame seeds. Serve with unsweetened almond or rice milk. Serves 2