Squash Fries

One again, I am attempting to find food that everyone in the house can eat. Hubby can’t have potatoes or sweet potatoes, so I wanted to try to find a French fry alternative for him. I had read that you can make baked fries by roasting butternut squash. So, around lunchtime I peeled and scooped out a butternut squash and then cut it into the best French fry shapes I could muster. Here’s my before picture:

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They took 3 hours to cook in the solar cooker, and they didn’t get crispy. I would say this was a fair way to get squash, but maybe it needs longer to be more like a French fry? Perhaps a bit of oil would have helped?

Squash Fries

Peel, seed, and cut one butternut squash into strips.

Optional: coat with oil and sprinkle with salt

Roast on parchment paper till crispy.

Rating: fair try. I will do this again, but probably with some better sun and a little oil. My kids and husband ate them like fries though, so it wasn’t a bad side dish for dinner!

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Chicken Pot Roast

I think all this solar cooking is making me lazy. I keep looking for more and more ways to avoid actually turning on my oven. My husband needed dinner today, and since he’s doing GAPS, that means some form of chicken and vegetables. Last week I cooked one in broth, so this week I thought I’d try adding in the vegetables too! 

Chicken Pot Roast

Preheat your solar oven with your cast iron pot and lid inside.

Place a whole chicken inside the preheated pot and add water till it comes half-way up the chicken. Add salt and any spices you like. (We are partial to rosemary around here.) Cover and cook in the solar oven for about 3 hours.

Then, cut up whatever veggies you like. Carrots, onion, squash, and potatoes (for non-GAPS folks) taste nice. Add them to the pot so they sit in the liquid around the chicken. Replace the lid, and cook for one more hour.

Voilà! Dinner is served!

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Of course, it is a whole chicken in there, so be sure to pick around any bones, etc.

Rating: success! My husband says I can make this anytime! Now I just have to figure out what to feed the rest of us…

Crispy Almonds

As I mentioned before, my husband is on the GAPS diet. And the thing about GAPS cooking is that everything requires preparation. EVERYTHING. Even seemingly whole foods like raw nuts. Usually I need to soak the nuts overnight in salt water, drain in the morning, and then spend all day dehydrating them in the oven on low. But, I now have a solar oven!

I still soaked the almonds overnight in water with a teaspoon of salt, but in the morning I drained them and placed them on a parchment-lined tray and popped them into the solar oven. 2 hours of sunshine later we had crunchy delicious nuts that even my husband could eat!

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Rating: crunchy success! This works well with any nuts, though if you do cachews, only soak them for a few hours, as they can get slimy.

 

Here comes the chicken!

I apologize in advance for the relatively unexciting food this week. We just got our cooker and we are still taking it out for a spin to see what it will do. Which leads me to yesterday’s masterpiece (drum roll): a whole chicken.

I think I mentioned that my husband is on the GAPS diet, which allows no grains but loads of meat. Love, by the way, is having your vegan wife cook you chicken. Anyway, most of his meat is to be boiler or baked on low heat for several hours. I thought this would make trying to solar cook it perfect!

Simple Solar Oven Chicken

1 chicken

Rosemary, salt, a bay leaf

Water

I preheated the cast iron pot in the solar oven so that we wouldn’t have any food safety issues. Then I put in the chicken, sprinkled it generously with rosemary, added the salt and bay leaf, and filled it half full of water. I covered it with the lid and cooked it for 6 hours in the Sun Oven.

I was rather nervous about this recipe for two reasons. First, my husband needed this food so messing it up would be bad, and second, it was overcast. It’s almost never overcast here, so I wasn’t expecting that. It definitely affected the temperature of the cooker. It only got up to 250°F once and spenyblots more time around 150°F. Thankfully, when we checked the chicken at the end, it had an internal temperature of 190°F and was moist and cooked!

Rating: I didn’t actually eat it, but my husband said it was good, and I’m excited to not have to cook meat indoors all summer. So I think that makes this a success all around!

Baked-ish apples

Wednesday is left over day at our house, and I didn’t want to just try reheating in the Sun Oven, so yesterday was my first dessert attempt. We had somewhere to be and would miss having dinner all together anyway, so I thought a nice hot baked apple each would be a good treat to come home and enjoy.

Plus, baked apples are one of the few foods we can all eat. You see, my husband is on the GAPS diet, I am vegan, and we have one kid who is gluten-free, so there’s no easy meals that fit all of us. Thus the need to be a bit creative.  Below is my twist on baked apples so that we could all enjoy them:

Baked Apples

4 apples cored

1 cup raisins

2 Tbsps coconut oil

Core and scoop out the insides of the apples and arrange them upright in an oven-safe dish. Fill the middle with raisins and top each with a half tablespoon of coconut oil. Then add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and put the lid on.IMG_20140312_170524262

I put the dessert out in the solar oven at 4 pm and retrieved it at 6 pm. I grossly underestimated the need for direct sunlight. It was so late that the cooker stayed at only about 100 degrees, so in the end we had warm apples instead of baked apples. They were still good, but they weren’t what I was trying to make.

Rating: leaning toward a success. Next time in some actual sunlight, I think it would make a tasty dessert.