Kelly the Culinarian: Cooking with Kelly: The carside casserole

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cooking with Kelly: The carside casserole

Yesterday it was only 106 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the success of my dashboard-baked cookies, I was inspired to try something new. I did a little research on the Internet about what real solar cookers look like and how they're constructed, then checked out some solar cooking recipes.

I made a few modifications to my car to increase my likelihood for success (yes, I know the outside of the ride is quite dirty). First, I went out and bought a yard of black fabric for $3.96 -- it was nothing special, just something cheap. I also went to my local Goodwill and bought a casserole dish and pot with tight-fitting lids.

For the casserole, I used the following:

1 chopped carrot

1/2 head of broccoli, chopped

Handful of green beans, trimmed

1/4 white onion, chopped

1 tomato, sliced thinly

5 chicken breast fillets, marinated overnight in 1/4 cup Italian dressing

1/3 cup chicken stock

I layers all the items in the order listed, then tightly affixed the lid and carried it out to my car. I also attempted brown rice with onions, which was a total failure for some unknown reason. But let's not dwell.

I put it on the dashboard, wedged my sun shields around the dash to maximize the sunlight and left the dish there from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Not only did it turn out, but it was delicious. The chicken was super moist. Next time, I would omit and extra liquid because it caused the veggies to lose their color. Also, I would use a pepper in lieu of carrot -- it was still a little too crunchy for me in the end.

All in all, I'd consider it a success -- just forget the rice ever existed


Elise said...

Hi Kelly,
Oh my gosh, I was just at a friend's house today looking at her solar cooker. She uses it all the time in the summer to bake brownies and roasts, and she lives in the hills above Palo Alto, CA, not sweltering Tucson! Amazing that your car gets that hot without the plastic completely warping and breaking inside. Great experiment, thanks for sharing!

Betty Jo said...

Hey Kelly, Notify your local newspaper of your new way of cooking a casserole so you can be published before someone beats you to it. BTW, this sounds yummy. I make a similar version of chicken casserole, although I use my oven. Haven't had it in a long time. Thanks for the reminder. I normally bake our brown rice in my oven, don't understand why that didn't work for you in the car.

wheresmymind said...

Solar cooking...I haven't thought about that since I was a 1st grader! lol Where's the egg on the sidewalk?? ;)

Oh for the love of food! said...

Wow! Congratulations on your success(es)! It's so amazing I have to show the kids your post when they get back from school today! The breast fillets were actually cooked through? What was the temperature in Tucson( in Celsius) when you cooked this dish?

Barbara said...


evolvingtastes said...

Hi Kelly, inspired by your dashboard cooking, I left a large bowl filled with steel cut oatmeal and water covered with foil on my car's dashboard, nearly all day. By evening, I had well cooked oatmeal for the next day's breakfast!! Effortless.

Argus Lou said...

I love this post, Kelly. Now I'm 'solar cooking' two jars of lemon and lime pickles Indian style.