Sun Oven Lunch in No Time

Tortellini

A solar cooked lunch doesn’t get any easier than this. Just combine equal parts water and packaged dry tortellini in a pot. Cover, preferably with a glass lid, and cook in a preheated Sun Oven. Heat your favorite sauce in a separate pot next to or under the pot with the pasta. When the pasta has absorbed the water, usually after about 40 minutes,  it’s ready. Toss it with the sauce and enjoy. Dried tortellini can be found in the same aisle as regular pasta. I haven’t tried this with the refrigerated types of tortellini. I’m sure it would work, but imagine you’d need to use less water.

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Solar Snack

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Yesterday’s Curried Solar Black Beans, Squash, and Rice left me with half a bunch of  kale. All to often in these cases the odd amount of unused vegetables will go to waste. Luckily, kale can easily be transformed into a tasty, healthy, solar snack.

Sun Oven Kale Crisps

(adapted for the Sun Oven from “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook”)

Ingredients

1/2 bunch kale

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

salt to taste

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a baking rack or pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Using a sharp knive, remove the tough rib of each kale leaf. Wash the leaves and dry thoroughly, use a salad spinner if you have one. Cut the leaves into pieces.

Put the leaves in a medium sized bowl.

Add the olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Use your hands to mix until all the leaves are coated with oil.

Arrange the kale in single layers on the prepared baking rack or pan. Bake in the Sun Oven 10 to 12 minutes or until the kale is crisp.

 

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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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.

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Late Summer Solar Lunch

Couscous Squash

It’s that time of year when all sorts of squash start showing up at the market. And that means it’s the time of year to enjoy one of my favorite solar lunches – stuffed squash. I don’t really use a recipe. I just use whatever I have on hand, so it comes out different, yet  delicious, every time. Any leftovers can be used as a side dish for dinner. Here’s how I made mine today.

Solar Baked Stuffed Squash

Ingredients

4 unsulfered sun dried tomatoes

2/3 cup hot water

1 medium sized winter squash

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup dry couscous

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. In a small bowl, let the sun dried tomatoes soak in the hot water for about 10 minutes.

Cut the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Place the squash halves, cut side up in a large, lidded roasting pan. Brush the inside each half with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil (1 teaspoon per half); set aside. Drain the tomatoes reserving the soaking water. Chop the softened tomatoes. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, feta, chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Add the couscous, stirring gently to combine. Carefully spoon the couscous mixture into the hollows of the prepared squash. Pour 1/3 cup of the reserved tomato water over the couscous in each half. Cover and bake in the Sun Oven until the squash is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil just before serving.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

 

Skinny Solar Mac and Cheese

Skinny Mac

A few years ago I was having dinner with a group of friends when the topic of disliked foods came up. Most of us were rather adventurous eaters so when we went around the table each naming the foods we did not enjoy the lists were rather short. I was the last to speak and mine were tofu and okra. And just about everyone agreed with me, quickly adding them to their own lists. I’m still working on finding a way to enjoy okra, but I have since learned that when tofu is used as an ingredient instead of the main attraction it’s not all that bad.

Sun Oven Mac’n’Cheese Surprise

Ingredients

1 pound shell or elbow whole wheat pasta

1 box (1 pound) silken tofu, drained

2 cups milk, (whole, 2%, or 1%)

2 tablespoons mustard

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions to al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, use an immersion blender to combine the tofu, milk, mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper until smooth. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring often. When it starts to simmer, whisk in the cornstarch and then the Cheddar cheese. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Spread the pasta out in the prepared baking pan. Pour the sauce over the pasta. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the breadcrumbs and parsley. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta. Top with a generous dusting of Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake in the Sun Oven until browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Solar Baked Lentils

Lentil Nut Loaf

For a heartier meal serve this lentil loaf with whole wheat pasta and extra tomato sauce.

Sun Oven Lentil and Nut Bake

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 onion, finely chopped

4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped

1/2 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or green), finely chopped

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw cashews

3 tablespoons plain bread crumbs

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

For serving

Your favorite tomato sauce, purchased or homemade

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Put the lentils in a large pot with 3 cups water. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the lentils are soft, about 1 hour. Drain the lentils and transfer to a large bowl. Add the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, nuts, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover the loaf pan with an inverted rectangular baking dish. Bake in the Sun Oven until lightly browned, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from Sun Oven and let rest 15 minutes. Leave in pan and slice. Serve with sauce.

Spicy Solar Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Serve sun roasted vegetables make a delicious side dish to just about any main course.

Spicy Sun Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 cauliflower, cored and cut into florets

2 cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 t0 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a baking pan, toss the florets and garlic with the oil and pepper flakes. Season with salt. Cook in the Sun Oven, uncovered, until soft and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Solar Breakfast Bake

Oat Banana Bake

Great for a weekend brunch or to make ahead for a ready-made weekday breakfast. Or pair it with vanilla ice-cream for dessert.

Solar Banana and Oatmeal Breakfast Bake

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped

1/4 teaspoons salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

3 bananas, 1 mashed, 2 sliced

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combing the oats, baking powder, almonds, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the egg, milk, and mashed banana. Stir the wet ingredients into the oat mixture. Arrange 1/2 of the sliced bananas on the parchment paper. Spread the oatmeal mixture evenly over the bananas. Top with the remaining banana slices. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the top. Bake in the Sun Oven until set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Slow Solar Stewed Onions

Stewed Onions

Never let a sunny day go to waste. When nothing else is going on in your Sun Oven whip up a batch of slow cooked onions. They’ll come in handy for all sorts of things: a base for soups, a topping for burgers, or a sauce for pasta, just to name a few.

Solar Stewed Onions

Ingredients

3 onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a medium to large pot, toss the onions with the oil. Pour the wine over the onions and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook in Sun Oven until the onions are golden, 2 to 3 hours. Let cool then store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days.

Solar Roasted Veggies

Roast Veggies

Roast the vegetables during the day then combine with them pasta later for a lovely, solar-cooked dinner.

Sun Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Garlic Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

1 eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

salt

1 pound farfalle, rigatoni, or other pasta

1/2 cups fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line 3 baking racks or rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on two of the racks. Brush both sides with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic on the remaining rack. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil over the tomatoes and garlic; season with salt. Stack the racks in the Sun Oven and cook until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, top racks will cook faster. Remove vegetables from the Sun Oven and cut the eggplant into pieces. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pulp into a serving bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, mashing to combine. Stir in the basil and cheese. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the garlic mixture and toss with the eggplant and tomatoes. Add reserved cooking water as needed.

Makes 4 servings.

corin