Take and Bake Pastitsio

Pastitsio

A lot of non solar prep work goes into this Greek inspired baked pasta. Luckily, it can all be done the night before. The next day all you’ll have to do is heat up the Sun Oven and pop it in. It’s great for picnics, especially if you’re somewhere where you can set up the Sun Oven.

Vegetarian Pastitsio

Ingredients

For the Pasta:

12 ounces dried penne pasta

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 can (13-ounces) evaporated whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup small-curd cottage cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the Vegetable Topping:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 can (7 1/2-ounces) tomato sauce (or 1 cup homemade)

3 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

1 package (11-ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Lightly butter a deep casserole, set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly to prevent browning, for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the evaporated milk, whisking constantly. Cook the sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the white sauce into the eggs. Mix in the remaining sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and drained pasta. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.

Spread the thawed spinach over the pasta in the casserole dish and spoon the tomato sauce over the spinach. (Can be prepared up to this point the night before, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake) Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, cover with a lid or aluminum foil and a dark dish towel. Bake in the Sun Oven until bubbling, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking – The Possibilities are Endless



     Use Your Sun Oven® To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables, Dry Fish and Meats

Sun drying is an economical method of food preservation. Anything you see dried on your grocer’s shelves, you can dry. If you grow it, you can be assured of maximum freshness and food value. Dried items require no additional energy to store and can be kept for extended periods.

Dried fruit can be mixed with cereal or granola, or with nuts and seeds to make energy bars, if you can stop eating them when the drying process is complete. Dip fruit like peaches or apples in Fruit-Fresh® to preserve the color. Most dried vegetables can be easily rehydrated in soups or by soaking them in water for 10 minutes to an hour.

Drying meat or fish may take up to two days. Sun drying will keep the odor out of your house. Leave meat in the oven and seal the latches, this will suspend the drying process and keep bugs from getting into the oven. Finish the drying process the next day. This is a great way to make deer jerky.

Place your SUN OVEN® outdoors in a sunny place, facing south. The multi-level racks can be covered with parchment paper, filled with sliced items (the thinner the slice, the quicker the drying), and stacked inside the SUN OVEN® on the leveling tray. Turn one of the latches inward and set the glass on top leaving a gap between the glass and gasket allowing moisture to escape. The ideal temperature for drying is between 110 and 150 degrees F. Keep the temperature low to avoid cooking the food.

 

Billie Nicholson, editor
March 2013

 

After Drying

Egg Casserole to the Rescue

Egg Casserole

I recently signed up for one of those services that deliver a box of fresh produce to your door. I’d tried one in the past but discontinued it after receiving a box that contained more cucumbers than I could eat in a lifetime – and I like cucumbers. This service lets you pick and choose. However, using all the fresh vegetables before they turn to composte is still a challenge. Starting with the green tops of the beets. The beets themselves keep for quite a while, but I know from experience that if I don’t use the tops immediately they will spoil. To stop that from happening I trimmed and steamed them right away, before they ever got a chance to see the inside of the refrigerator. This morning, in the spirit of preventing waste, I tossed them with a few other things that may have wound up in the composte bin. The result was this tasty baked egg casserole. The ingredient and amounts of the following recipe are just guidelines since the contents of your refrigerator will not be the same.

“Everything” Sun Baked Egg and Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 green onions, thinly sliced

About 2 cups cooked mixed green vegetables (I used beet greens and green beans)

About 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

About 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

6 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray a baking pan with cooking oil.

Heat the oil in small skillet over. Add the green onions and cooke, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked onions, mixed greens, and chopped parsley. In another large bowl, beat together the cheese and the eggs. Mix the vegetables into the egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Cover with a second baking pan and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until set and starting to brown around the edges. Let rest 1o minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

 

Venison Sausage Stew

Deer hunting season is a highlight of the winter months. Here is our favorite recipe made in the Sun Oven®. Served with warm Artisan bread, this makes a hearty meal in any weather.

INGREDIENTSVenison stew

1 medium onion, sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, diced

4-6 peeled carrots, 2” pieces

3 peeled white potatoes, chunks

1 lb. venison sausage, bite-size pieces

6” sprig rosemary

1 tomato cut in sections

Cavendars Greek no salt seasoning Venison stew

to taste

2 Tbs coconut oil

1 tsp chicken bullion dissolved in

6 cups hot water

Garnish:

Dollop of sour cream

Dust of Paprika

Sprig of basil

Makes 4-6 servings

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat Sun Oven® to 300-350ºF.  Saute onion, garlic and celery in coconut oil and partially brown venison. Add all vegetables and meat to pot that fits in Sun Oven®. Smother with broth and cover with lid. Bake in Sun Oven® 2-3 hours, until potatoes and carrots are tender and flavors blended. Garnish and enjoy!

Billie Nicholson, Editor
December 2014

This month’s issue includes:

  • During our conversations with Pearl Harbor Survivors, they continued to warn us of the importance of being prepared – on every level, from our national military down to each individual. During World War II, everyone sacrificed to insure that world peace would be restored.
  • Mama’s Last Gift ~ Who would expect 33 year old jelly to be any good? The jelly was firm and no crystallization or mold was apparent. A taste test confirmed the goodness within.
  • Preparing for a Pandemic ~ A pandemic is basically a global epidemic. Learn how to protect your family should a viral sickness begin to spread around the world.
  • Generosity during the holidays often includes contributions to food banks. Think about contributing something healthy in your Food Bank Contribution.

Squash Chips

  Squash ChipsWhen they were in abundance at our farmer’s market, I bought a bunch of summer squash. They are not one of my favorite frozen foods. In an attempt to find an alternative way to preserve them, I dehydrated them in our Sun Oven®.  They were sliced in a uniform thickness of 1/4”, spread on parchment paper and sprinkled with seasoned salt and dried oregano. Placed in the Sun Oven® and kept at a temperature of less than 100ºF. by leaving the door propped open, they were dehydrated in 24 hours.

The plan was to store them in glass canning jars, add an oxygen absorber and pull a vacuum seal. That happened on the second batch. The first batch never made it that far. We sampled them and the next thing we knew, we had eaten them all. What a treat! They were better than potato chips and no cooking required. I may never cook summer squash again. Try this and let us know you seasoning recipe.

Squash Chips

Squash Chips

Billie Nicholson, editor
November, 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints.  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12260

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

 

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

French Style Stew

 

Beef Stew

There’s nothing like a hearty stew on a cold night. And like most stews, this one is even better the next day.

Provençal Beef Stew

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces salt pork or thick cut bacon, diced

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into chunks, patted dry with paper towels

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

2/3 cup beef broth or stock

1 bouquet garni, (sage, thyme, basil or herbs of choice)

1 small onion, peeled and studded with 2 cloves

grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the salt pork and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a large pot. In the same skillet, working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, transferring it to the pot as it browns. Add oil as needed. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and continue cooking until just softened, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the garlic. Pour the wine and broth over the meat in the pot. Add the onion studded with the cloves and the bouquet garni. Add the vegetable mixture from the skillet. Cover and transfer the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beef is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and the whole onion. Stir in the orange zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Solar Meatball Stew

Meatball Stew

The spices in this stew are reminiscent of  Northern African cuisine and go best with couscous, but it could also be served with a good, crusty bread or pasta.

Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground lean ground beef

2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, combine the oil, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the onion is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare the meatballs while the onion mixture is cooking. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using damp hands, shape the beef mixture into 24 meatballs; set aside.

Bring the pot with the onions in and leave Sun Oven out. Add the tomatoes, water, and tomato paste. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the meatballs. Cover and return the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Stir in the lemon juice and mint. Serve over couscous.

 

Are You Losing 40%

Today I was listening to a video by Healthy Prepper in which she shared the concept of Dehydratingdehydrating fruit and vegetables at their prime ripeness. She had just purchased many bags of price-reduced items. The groceries were beautiful, just really, really ripe. Studies reveal that 40% of food we purchase goes to waste. You can dehydrate almost any fruit or veggie, so there is no reason food should go to waste.

The SUNOVEN® is perfect for dehydrating produce. Green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes and figs are in abundance in my refrigerator. Rather than hope that we’ll get around to eating them all before they spoil, I decided to begin a dehydrating project.

When dehydrating with the SUN OVEN®, focusing the  oven into the sun is not necessary. The goal is to have a consistent temperature that ranges from 110º – 155º F. Keep the latches open for moisture and excess heat to escape. A higher temperature will effectively cook the produce rather than dry it. Use parchment paper and the racks provided with the oven. Drying time will vary depending on thickness. Try to be consistent so the pieces will dry at about the same rate. Check the oven from time to time to see how things are going. If your fruit or vegetables have not dried by the end of the day, simply leave them inside the SUN OVEN® over night. Collapse the reflectors and latch the door. The next day, resume drying with the door unlatched. For more details, watch our video on Dehydrating with the Sun Oven®.

After the produce has dried, there are a variety of ways to store them. The figs were packed in FoodSaver® bags and vacuum sealed. The Bay Laurel leaves, were stored in a plastic container. The tomatoes were stored in a glass jar with an oxygen absorber and vacuum sealed. What a great way to increase your food storage, reduce waste, and use the sun’s energy. What are you drying?

Dehydrating

Billie Nicholson, editor
August 2014
DehydrateDehydrate

Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:

Are You Water Competent?

Ebola Update by Dr. Bones

Fasting

The Fascinating Fig

Sun Oven Demonstrations coming to a location near you

Survival Skills for Teens

Meatless Monday Pasta Sauce

Sun Oven® Demonstrations Coming to a Location Near You

Check your calendar and make your reservations to attend one or more of these upcoming emergency preparedness training expos. We will be there with lectures and demonstrations using the Sun Oven®. Plan to take one home along with lots of other preparedness ideas.

Mid-Atlantic Emergency Preparedness and Survival Expo  August 16-17 Boonsboro MD 

Sun Oven Demonstrations

 

Prepper Camp™  September 12, 13 & 14, Orchard Lake Campground, Saluda, NC

Sun Oven Demonstrations

 

Mother Earth News Fair October 25-26, Topeka, KS

Sun Oven Demonstrations

Meatless Monday Pasta Sauce

Lentil Sauce

This easy to prepare vegetarian pasta topping is a good alternative to traditional meat sauce. Unlike most pasta sauces, it tastes better when served over whole wheat pasta than white.

Easy Sun Oven Lentil Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional topping

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, combine the lentils and water. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the lentils are tender but not falling apart, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the lentils from the Sun Oven and drain. In the same pot, combine the oil, garlic, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked lentils. Cover and return the pot to the Sun Oven. Continue cooking until heated through and the flavors have blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over whole wheat pasta or brown rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

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