Sun Oven baked brown rice is good on its own but even better with a little sprucing up.
Sun Oven Baked Rice with Peas and Feta
Baked Brown Rice 1 1/2 cups rice and 3 cups water
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
When the rice come out of the Sun Oven fluff it with a fork and add the peas, mint, and lemon zest. Lay a clean kitchen towel over the pot. Place the lid over the towel and let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the feta cheese just before serving.
If you don’t have pots that fit side by side two stackable ones will work just as well. For easier balancing place the one with the broth on the bottom.
Sun Oven Asparagus Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil divided, plus extra for serving
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, tips removed and set aside
4 cups chicken broth
If you don’t have six matching teacups don’t let that stop you from baking these fun little cupcakes. They’re a cross between cake and shortcake and are best consumed warm – with lots of strawberries.
Sun Oven Strawberry Cupcakes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
generous 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
generous 3/4 cup self-rising white flour
1 pound fresh strawberries
Chicken will cook faster in the Sun Oven if it’s cut up into pieces, but for a more classic presentation nothing beats a whole, nicely browned bird. For best results, use a rack (toaster oven sized works great) to keep the chicken out of the cooking juices while it cooks.
Sun Oven Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic
1 (3 1/2 pound) whole chicken, washed and patted dry with paper towels
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled
You can cook the bacon by placing it on a rimmed baking sheet set on top of the pot with the potatoes. Just remember that it will be done a lot sooner than the soup and if left in the Sun Oven too long will burn.
Sun Oven Baked Potato Soup
6 russet potatoes (about 3 3/4 pounds) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Solar cooked brown rice comes out fine by simply mixing two parts water with one part rice in a pot and putting it in the Sun Oven. But with just a little extra effort you can give it a boost in flavor, and in my opinion, improve the texture by using the following method:
First, toss some chopped onion with a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a pot big enough to hold the amount of rice you want to make.
Place the covered pot in the Sun Oven. In a separate container, heat the water along side the onions.
When the onions are soft and the water is hot stir the rice into the pot and pour the water over it – don’t forget to use a potholder.
Cover and continue cooking until all the water is absorbed, 45 minutes to an hour. For even more flavor use chicken or vegetable broth in place of the water.
The two hour baking time (even in a conventional oven) makes this traditional Scottish fruit cake a perfect candidate for the Sun Oven.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almonds, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
Apples and shallots cook along with the roast creating a delicious, sweet and savory, sauce. It goes great with risotto or mashed potatoes.
Sun Oven Pork Roast with Apples
(adapted for the Sun Oven from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook)
1 (2 t0 2 1/2 pound) boneless pork loin roast, tied and patted dry with paper towels
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 shallots, peeled and quartered
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick wedges
Frittata is good warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for packed lunches. Mini frittatas, baked in metal or silicone molds, are cute, making them perfect for bento boxes.
Sun Oven Broccoli Mini Frittata
6 slices bacon
1 cup broccoli, steamed and chopped
1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Set Sun Oven out to preheat.
Arrange the bacon on a rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet. Cook it in the Sun Oven until crispy, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from Sun Oven. When cool enough to handle break the strips into pieces.
Spray 8 baking molds with cooking spray (or use the pan droppings from the bacon for extra bacon flavor). Divided the bacon pieces evenly among the molds.
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Stir in the broccoli and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the molds on a baking sheet and fill with the egg mixture.
Bake in the Sun Oven until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in molds for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and carefully remove frittatas from the molds. Serve warm or at room temperature
One drawback to solar cooking is timing.
A solar cooked dinner has to get started early in the day and a change of plans means you might find yourself with a fully cooked meal that you’re not going to be eating right away.
This happened to me last weekend. I had a batch of braised chicken with tomatoes and olives going in the Sun Oven when we decided to meet up with some friends on the other side of town for dinner.
Once again, just like with yesterday’s cookies, the freezer saved the day.
I divided the stew up into single serving sizes and put them in the freezer.
This morning I popped one in the Sun Oven about an hour before lunch time and I was able to enjoy a hot, solar cooked meal with no prep work and very little clean up.