Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bake

There are plenty of reasons why we make less than healthy meal choices in the morning. In the rush to get the day started, we might feed our families but not ourselves. Or we think a cup of coffee is all we need. Then the inevitable mid-morning crash occurs and we’re on the hunt for another cup of coffee or for a sugar-charged snack to give us some energy. If you’ve ever found yourself dragging after 10 am, it’s probably because you’ve not yet fueled your body in a way that gives it real energy. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! And it’s the best time to start off our bodies with the right kind of food to give us a boost that will put a little pep in our step.

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 banana, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 cup strawberries, sliced and divided
½ cup dark chocolate chips + extra for topping
2 cups milk
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, ¾ cup sliced strawberries, pecans (reserve 2 tablespoons for topping), and chocolate chips together in an bowl.
Add milk, melted butter, 1 egg (beaten), and vanilla to oatmeal mixture. Stir to combine.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Top with sliced bananas, reserved sliced strawberries, reserved pecans, and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, until top is slightly golden and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle top of bake with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar then return to oven to broil for 30 seconds.
Remove from oven to set and cool before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Baking ChocolaTess.