Bean and Bacon Solar Soup

Bacon Bean Soup

I’ve recently started saving the rendered fat from my solar cooked bacon and am always on the look out for ways to use it. If you don’t have any on hand, double the amount of olive oil in this recipe. The soup will still be good; just a little less bacony. Any type of white bean will also work, but my favorite is the Mayocoba (also know as Peruano or Canario).

Bacon Bean Soup


1 pound dried Mayocoba beans (or other white bean), picked over, rinsed, and soaked overnight

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2-inch thick slice salt pork

8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Crumbled cooked bacon for serving (optional)


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, bacon fat, and rosemary. Add the salt pork, drained beans, and chicken broth. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beans are soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove and discard the salt pork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle crumbled bacon on each serving (if using).

Makes 12 servings.


Easiest Sun Oven Chili Ever

Sun Ovens in W.C.

Canned beans and prepared mole sauce eliminate almost all the prep work for this satisfying vegetarian chili.

Three-Bean Vegetarian Mole Chili

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Crock-Pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes)

1 can (15 1/2-ounces) chili beans in spicy sauce, undrained

1 can (15 1/2-ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 1/2-ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 1/2-ounces) Mexican style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup vegetables broth

1/4 cup prepared mole paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onion


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir to combine. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the peppers and onion are tender, about 1 hour.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

2 teaspoons ground coriander

Solar Huevos Rancheros

Squash Rancheros

Cooked spaghetti squash keeps well in the fridge and can be used to make all sorts of quick lunches.

Spaghetti Squash Huevos Rancheros


2 cups cooked spaghetti squash

1 can (14-ounce) vegetarian refried beans

6 eggs, at room temperature

red or green salsa

hot sauce


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray six custard cups or a muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside.

Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash, cut side down in a baking pan. Add 1/2 cup water and cook in the Sun Oven until soft. Remove the squash from the oven (leave the Sun Oven out) and when cool enough to handle scrape the pulp out into a large bowl. You will have more than needed for this recipe. Store leftover squash in the fridge in an airtight container for other uses.

Divide the squash evenly among the custard cups, pressing it up the sides like a pie crust, season with salt. Fill the squash lined cup with the beans, making a slight indentation in the center of each cup. Carefully crack an egg into cup. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cups in a baking pan. Use a second baking pan as a lid and bake the eggs in the Sun Oven until the whites are cooked, about 40 minutes. Top with salsa and hot sauce before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Super Simple Solar Vegetarian Chili

New Sun Oven

The cocoa powder gives this easy to prepare chili a depth of flavor that store bought brands lack. Previously cooked legumes can also be used in place of canned for some or all of the beans in this recipe.

Easy Vegetarian Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 can (14 1/2-ounce) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (14 1/2-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (14 1/2-ounce), drained and rinsed

1 can (14 1/2-ounce), stewed tomatoes

1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce

2 tablespoons New Mexican chili powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Sour cream and hot sauce for serving


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the flavors have blended, about 1 hour. Ladle in to bowls and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a dash of sour cream.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Black Bean Soup from the Sun Oven

BB Soup

Solar Black Bean Soup


4 cups previously cooked black beans, drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable broth

1 can (14-ounces) diced tomatoes with green peppers

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce

1 bay leaf

salt to taste

1 teaspoon lime juice

sour cream and chopped green onion for garnish


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Pulse 1 1/2 cups of the beans in a food processor until smooth adding a little water if needed; set aside. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic then stir in the broth, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, hot sauce, bay leaf, remaining beans, and mashed beans. Season to taste with salt. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the flavors have blended, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard bay leaf. Stir in the lime juice. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with sour cream and green onion.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Solar Baked Vegetarian Burgers

BB Burgers

Top these tasty, spicy, vegetarian burgers with your favorite toppings. Any extra patties can be frozen, unbaked, for up to 3 months.

Sun Oven Baked Black Bean Burgers


2 cups previously cooked black beans, drained

1/2 bell pepper, seeded and cut into pieces

1/2 onion, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce

1/2 cup bread crumbs


Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a baking rack or sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, lightly coat with cooking spray; set aside.

Put the beans in the a food processor and pulse until they resemble a coarse meal. Transfer the beans to a large bowl. Process the bell pepper, onion, and garlic on pulse until finely chopped. Mix the vegetable mixture into the beans. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, salt, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce. Mix the egg mixture into the beans. Stir in the bread crumbs, a little at a time, until the mixture holds together (you may not need to use all of them). Use your hands to form four patties and place them on the prepared baking rack. Bake in the Sun Oven, turning once, for approximately 40 minutes (20 minutes per side).


Spicy Sun Oven Black Beans and Rice

Curried Black Beans

The contrast of the black beans and orange squash make this appealing to both the palate and the eye.

Curried Solar Black Beans, Squash, and Rice


1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, an cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup brown rice

2 teaspoons hot curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups previously cooked black beans

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, thinly sliced


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Spay a baking pan with cooking spay. Spread the squash out in the pan in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt. Roast in the Sun Oven until tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from Sun Oven and set aside.

In a large pot, toss the remaining tablespoon oil with the onion, ginger, and garlic. Cover and sauté in the Sun Oven until the onions begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Heat the water along side the onions. Stir in the rice, curry powder, allspice, salt, beans, kale, and water. Cook, covered, until the water has all been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Remove pot from Sun Oven and stir in the roasted squash.

Makes 4 servings.


Solar Beans and Bacon

Bean and Bacon Stew

This stew is filling enough on its own but for a heartier meal add some grilled sausages. Either way, serve it with some good, crusty bread to soak up all the juices.

Sun Oven Bean and Bacon Stew


4 slices previously cooked bacon, chopped

3 cups previously cooked white beans, (Great Northern, Navy, Cannellini, or Mayocoba)

2 tablespoons bacon fat (or olive oil)

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup broth, (chicken, vegetable, or beef)

1/4 cup white wine

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the bacon fat in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bacon, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, wine, bay leaves, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the flavors have blended, about 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Green Beans Facts

Green BeansGreen Bean Info

  • Green beans are one of the few varieties of beans that can be eaten fresh. Since they are picked while the beans are immature, we are actually eating the seed pods.
  • They are a great source for many nutrients including vitamins C & K, manganese and fiber. They are also filled with colorful pigments, carotenoids – like carrots and tomatoes. We don’t see these colors because the chlorophyll concentration is so high, it masks them, but heir benefits are there.
  • 60% of all commercially grown green beans are available in the United States. You can grow them in your back yard. We planted 12 seeds of “Kentucky Wonder” bush bean variety this year and are harvesting enough beans to feed the two of us every five days. You keep picking, they keep blooming and creating new beans.
  • Early summer is the best time to obtain them at the least expense.
  • The highest food value is obtained from fresh beans, but you can still get valuable nutrients from green beans that are frozen or canned.
  • Frozen beans, when cooked retain about 90% of their B vitamins.  Canned ones lose more food value, but some is better than none when you are hungry.Green Bean Plants
  • Green beans have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the other members of the pea and bean families, with a diverse mixture of flavonoids and carotenoids, including lutein.
  • They also are a good source of the mineral silicon, which is important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissue.
  • Additional health benefits include cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
  • Known by their Latin name, Phaseolus vulgaris, beans derived from a common bean ancestor, originating in Peru. From there, they were spread to South & Central America by migrating Indian tribes. They were introduced into Europe by Spanish explorers.
  • Unwashed beans stored in a plastic bag will keep refrigerated for about seven days.
  • Wash before cooking and cut off both ends. Steam them for five minutes and season to taste.

Reference                                                       10 Tips on Growing Bush Beans


Billie Nicholson, Editor
June 2014

Alternative Protein Sources

What are your plans to provide alternative protein sources in an emergency situation?

As you collect canned goods don’t forget about this vital nutrient. The human body is nearly half protein, found in muscles, blood, antibodies and enzymes which make other body functions work. Often commercially processed meats are loaded with salt to enhance the flavor.  There are other sources. Here are some items to consider adding to your supplies.

  1. Nuts and Seeds – are high in protein and healthy fats. If you buy them prepackaged, they are ready to eat. They only last six months to a year, depending on the type of nut. Their high oil content reduces shelf life. Peanut butter is high in protein and available dried.
  2. Beans – are one of the longest cultivated plants, easy to digest and high in fiber. They also help maintain stable blood sugar levels by slowing the rate of carbohydrate absorption.1 Dried beans are economical and store well for an extended period of time. Store them in jars or mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. They will require water for presoaking before cooking, so plan ahead when preparing them. Cook with anise or coriander seeds to reduce flatulence as they’re digested by microbes in your intestine. There are lots of varieties for your culinary pleasure. Canned beans can be eaten right after opening, even cold in a power down situation.
  3. Chia Seeds – have double the amount of protein found in other seeds. Humans began eating chia seeds around 3500 BC. Aztecs and Mayans considered them magical because they increased stamina and energy over long periods. Chia seeds are high in fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, and antioxidants as well. Because they absorb 12 times their weight, their expansion in your stomach will curb your appetite.
  4. Protein Powders – are available in three common forms, whey, soy and casein. Whey is the most popular because it is a water-soluble milk protein. It contains all nine amino acids necessary to build proteins in the human body. Soy has been favored by vegans, but recently it has been associated with altering estrogen balance. Casein powder is used with cheese production.
  5. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) – is produced from soy flour after the oil has been extracted. It is cooked under pressure, extruded and dried. Soy flour has a long shelf life if kept in a cool, dry place. With varying flavors added, it can taste like sausage, beef, ham, bacon or chicken. Easily rehydrated, it is economical and an excellent meat substitute or meal extender. One ounce of TVP is the equivalent of three ounces of meat.
  6. Freeze-dried Meat – has the water removed through sublimation, which turns water molecules into vapor. Freeze-drying food affects meat’s texture more than other preservation techniques. They are extremely light and easy to carry but more expensive to purchase. While some fruits taste great freeze-dried, meat will need to be rehydrated.
  7. Powdered Eggs and Milk – made by spray drying, the process removes nearly all of the water prohibiting the growth of microorganisms. Non-fat dried milk is best for long term storage.  Eggs are available as whole, yolks and whites. Store cool and dry. Refrigerate when opened.

Billie Nicholson, Editor 2014





Additional Articles in the April 2014 Issue:

  • A reminder to review and rotate three types of items in your 72 hour emergency kit.
  • A discussion of the importance of “duck and cover” in surviving a nuclear attack
  • Are members of your family hearing impaired that might not hear a smoke alarm?
  • Our featured contributor this month is Tess Pennington of She shares an article about Bio Mass Briquettes. Now you’ll have an environmentally friendly use for those shredded documents.
  • Sun Ovens are a perfect partner for bio mass briquettes, here’s how …
  • Some of our friends have complained that their yards were so shady that they doubted they could grow anything in a garden. In answer to their questions, here are some plants that can be grown in shade. Don’t give up on your yard either. Read more …
  • Speaking of gardening, do you use Epsom salts? Here’s why.
  • We can all be prepared to take the initiative to save a life, should we be faced with a life or death situation. Here are three critical first aid procedures that can be accomplished with one dressing.
  • Our Solar Chef has included a wonderful recipe for Solar Stuffed Shells. Give it a try, these are yummy.

 Billie Nicholson, Editor
April 2014

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