Saturday, May 9, 2009

Solar Chicken and Rice in a Windshield Shade Cooker

Earlier this week, I was beginning to worry I was loosing the children's interest in solar cooking. We had a sunny morning, and as is now my custom, I started looking for what could quickly be popped into the solar oven. However, it was a little too windy to risk my glass mixing bowl, and I was out of turkey bags (they can be reused, but mine had grown brittle).

I suggested to my oldest, that he and his grandfather make a quick run to the store for the bags, so we could make some solar brownies.

"Not brownies," he cried. "Brownies are too good to waste. Let's make them in the oven."

I was pretty sure we could manage brownies, and would have liked to have demonstrated solar cooking to my in-laws, while they were here, but there was also an ominous looking cloud bank rolling over the mountains. Discouraged, I abandoned the idea to another day. It was not much later however, that I was reheartened by my daughters. They too had noticed the sunshine.
"Looks like a good day for the solar oven Mom. What will make today?" They asked almost in unison.

At least some of them are catching the bug. So today, when it dawned sunny and calm, we were ready - turkey bags in hand. Well, almost in hand, we actually had to run to the store to get them (remember, we had company in the house most of the week), but then we were ready.

We went with a chicken and rice casserole, that is a regular dish in our house. It contains:
  • Two cups of minute rice.

  • One can of broccoli cheese soup.

  • One cup of water.

  • One large size can of chicken, undrained.

  • Slices of cheddar cheese to top.

Since the spring form pans I've been using to cook with are not water tight, I mixed the ingredients together into a round cake pan, and then placed the cake pan into the black spring form pan. Then I covered it with the bottom of another spring form pan, and placed it into the turkey bag, onto the cooling rack, and into the windshield shade cooker (you can find instructions for making one of these in earlier posts on this blog).

My son, solar cooking skeptic that he is, agreed to help me set up the oven, and place the food into it. It can be done by one person alone, but it's easier with two.

After two hours of baking, we had a finished casserole. This follows the rule of thumb of solar cooking, that it takes about twice as long to cook the food, as it would in a conventional oven. While the food was cooking, I had a chance to read, Cooking With Sunshine by Lorraine Anderson and Rick Palkovic, which contains many such tips and advice. I would highly recommend this book for anyone just starting out as we are.

The casserole was declared edible by the children (the equivalent of a five star rating in our house). And for dessert, we had - solar brownies.

It's great to be a homeschooler!

1 comment:

solar panels said...

The only thing i dont like about the solar cooker is it takes longer to cook.