I just had to try this new…wait, I’ve done that before.

I was so excited to cook the pasta and avocado sauce recipe that I had pinned awhile back.  It’s super-yummy, and ridiculously easy.  And, the only heat required is that to cook the pasta.  This is good, since I have been adverse to hot foods for about 4 weeks now.  Seriously.  It’s so hot outside, and even though I can solar cook anything, I don’t really want to eat hot foods.

Anyway, I cooked the pasta and started the sauce in the blender.  About 20 minutes later my family had a lovely meal that my kids devoured.  I was so excited to blog about it and share, but it turns out I had already posted it!  Oops!

So anyway, if you get a moment, check out the avocado pasta – it rocks!

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Broccoli and White Bean Penne

Yum… garlic. We love Italian-inspired dishes that are rich in sauces, pasta, and garlic! I feel like having a glass of red wine just thinking about it. Here’s a versatile dish that the kids love and adults will eat.

I originally found a similar recipe online (I can’t remember where) and changed it a bit to be able to solar cook it. The noodles I boiled on the stove indoors, but the beans and sauce I cooked in the solar oven.

Broccoli and White Bean Penne

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1 or 2 cups cooked white beans

16 oz cooked penne

Large jar red pasta sauce

1 or 2 crowns broccoli, chopped

Cook the garlic, onion, and beans in the solar cooker till soft ( about an hour). Then stir in the pasta sauce and return to the sun oven till heated through. Indoors, cook the penne. Add the broccoli to the cooking pasta for the last few minutes till it is tender. Drain pasta and broccoli. Stir in the sauce with the beans. Enjoy!

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Rating: easy and good. Very kid-friendly and reheats well. I always use gluten-free pasta, so it is a gluten-free meal.

I have to say, spaghetti dishes like this are some of my favorite dinners. You can hide anything in them (pureed spinach, lentils, broccoli, etc.) and kids love them! I think this will be our lunch for the next day or two.

Pasta Bake

I’ve been mentally muddling over how to make better solar pasta for awhile. Soaking noodles in solar heated water isn’t giving me the consistency that I want, but I am still afraid to put gluten-free noodles in water for any real period of time due to their general predisposition to turn to mush.

Today I experimented with a slow cooker version of pasta. It was one of the few recipes for cooking pasta that I could find that didn’t involve precooking the noodles so I thought I’d give it a try.

Solar Pasta Bake

Copious amounts of pasta sauce

1/2 cup red lentils

8 oz penne pasta (gluten-free)

Start by putting a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of your dish. Then put a layer of noodles sprinkled with lentils. Repeat. End with a layer of pasta sauce on top. Make sure all noodles are completely covered, otherwise they won’t soften or cook.

My layers:

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I cooked mine covered in the solar cooker for about 3 hours in the morning. I wasn’t careful enough with the top layer of sauce, so I had some uncooked noodles that needed disposed of. Otherwise, it turned out fine.

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Rating: a good first step. The kids ate it and there were plenty of leftovers for lunches. It’s a little bland. It would be better with some veggies mixed in next time! I wonder if this system would work for Mac and cheese?

Gluten-free Pasta, Here I Come!

I’ll admit it – I’ve been purposely avoiding pasta. We eat it all the time in our house, but it’s always gluten-free and it’s ridiculously easy to mess up on its own.  Honestly I usually don’t make it for company because it turns out awful. However, we needed to grocery shop and pasta was what we had left for dinner, so here goes solar cooked pasta.

I treated it as a one dish meal. I used the solar oven to heat the water, then I brought it inside and let the broccoli and pasta sit in the water to cook. Once it was tender, I drained it and served it with pasta sauce and beans.

It worked! The pasta was cooked correctly and good. The kida ate it and we got off to our evening activities in time! My one complaint is that there was a bit of a solar oven smell to the food. I think I probably need to clean my oven. But that will be another day and another post!

Rating: success! I fear pasta no more. Next time: Quinoa 🙂