Making preparedness a way of life involves a great deal of cooking for me. For every meal that I prepare I think of how it could be made without electricity. The Global Sun Oven and my Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker are my go-to powerless emergency cookers. I used my Sun Oven about 3 days a week last summer and I became accustomed to making our meals and bread in it, but even though I live in Utah, and we are supposedly a desert, we don't have sun every day. I need an alternative cooking source for those sunless days. I found a chicken recipe that my family absolutely loved in the Sun Oven and I decided to replicate it in my thermal cooker.
Thermal cooking works best when your pans are filled with food or water, like soups, stews, and sauces, and for this recipe I didn't want a chicken soup, I wanted baked chicken. I solved this problem of needing to fill the whole pan with food with a......
.....cereal bag!! That's right a plain old plastic insert from a cereal box. They make wonderful cooking bags for thermal cooking. They work great for the Wonderbox as well. No need to spend money on pricey steam bags. Just use something that would be thrown away and save some $$. (the plastic bags also make great fruit leather roll ups)
I started off with my free chicken (you heard me...free chicken...there was a rebate at the grocery store for $10 when you bought $10 or more of poultry) and cut each breast into fourths. The meat will cook faster in smaller pieces.
I added my spices and oil to the bag and dumped in the chicken. Give it a good massage and they're ready to go.
The chicken is ready to be placed into the boiling water.
Place the bag into the water with the edge of the bag hanging over the edge. (this would work in a pot over an open flame but watch the plastic, Volcano Stove, butane stove, etc. just boil until the chicken is done. The thermal cooker will save your fuel!) Bring the water to a boil with the lid on.
Boil for 4 minutes (for raw meat) and place into the Saratoga Jacks thermal base.
The cereal bag will fold nicely over the top of the pan lid. Close the cooker and wait about 1 hour at the earliest to open and eat. I made this at 1:38 PM and we ate it for dinner at 5:45 PM.
This picture was when I opened the cooker at 5:45. It was STEAMING hot and I needed a hot pad to raise the pan out of the base.
I drained the broth off (I know I know, I should have made mashed potatoes in the smaller Saratoga Jacks pan and made a gravy out of the juices) and served it for dinner. My kids loved it! It was moist, juicy, and fall apart tender.
Chicken Wings (or breasts, thighs, etc)
10 chicken wings (I used 3 chicken breasts)
3 T oil
3 garlic cloves
2 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Add the chicken, oil, and spices into a bag. Shake to combine. Place in baking dish and bake at 375 for 1 hour or until juices run clear.
Sun Oven Instructions
Place all ingredients into a dark enamelware pot with a lid and stir. Bake for 2 or more hours at 250 degrees or higher in the sun oven.
Saratoga Jacks or Wonderbox Directions
Place all ingredients into a cereal insert bag or an oven bag and rub until combined. Place in a pan of hot water, boil for 4 minutes, (boil longer for wonderbox @ 10 min) place in thermal cooker or wonderbox and, "cook" for 2-8 hours. When using a wonderbox you will need to check the temperature of your food beyond 6 hours to make sure it hasn't fallen below 145 degrees. If it has you need to reheat it or put it in the fridge. It is safe to eat if above 145 degrees. The Sartatoga Jacks thermal cooker will maintain a steady temperature, because of its insulation, for up to 8 hours.
What to do with your pot full of hot, steaming water? You could use the water to wash dishes, wash your face, clean, make soup, or how about Hot Chocolate! I thought I was being brilliant and added some of the Morning Moo's chocolate milk powder to my hot water.
We whisked it up and my children were so excited to have some delicious chocolatey milk for dessert. That was until...they took the first swallow. I am writing this because I want to be totally honest and....the hot chocolate tasted like our chicken dinner...go ahead and laugh because we all were too!! I even added more chocolate powder and it still tasted like chicken.
But guess what??? They ALL drank it and asked for more. I was laughing that they would still drink it, but because it was chocolate they gulped it down. My son drank 4 glasses full. So lesson learned, next time I will make a chicken noodle soup out of the boiled chicken dinner water :) (or maybe the lesson learned was my kids will eat or drink anything with chocolate in it)