Kids in the (Solar) Kitchen

This is the first post in my series about kid friendly recipes and ideas. Kids love to cook.  And solar cooking can be just as fun for kids as for anyone.  Whether you are a teacher teaching science, or a scout or troop leader trying to earn badges, or a parent trying to teach life skills and self-reliance, these recipes and ideas can help you develop your program – regardless of the age of the children.

Kids can safely cook in a solar oven

Kids in the (Solar) Kitchen

Small individual solar ovens can be made from pizza boxes to shoe boxes. Making the oven is a project itself.  Future posts will show you how to make small solar ovens.

For individual cooking, each child will need a cooking vessel.  A large heat safe cup with a handle is good. Be sure to mark names on the cups.  Squares of cardboard covered with tin foil can be used for baking. Use a little cooking spray on the tin foil as you would other cooking surfaces to help create a non-stick surface.

With children, safety must always come first. 

  • Cookware gets very hot in a solar oven, just as it does in a regular oven. Hot pads and pot holders must always be used when handling hot pots. 
  • If children will be handling food, hands must be washed with a good sanitizing soap. 
  • Food surfaces must be kept clean, and washed with sanitizing soap.
  • Sharp knives should be only used under careful supervision or the food should already be cut into pieces for easy assembly.

QUICK AND EASY IDEAS

  • Cookies  bake relatively fast.  Store bought cookie dough is quick and easy, and comes in a variety of flavors. Each child can bake their own cookies. This is also good for very young children who will not actually be baking their own cookies, but will only be watching and observing a demonstration. Plus, cookies just taste good!
  • Chili dogs—let each child spoon canned chili into a cup. Place cut up franks into cups.  Heat in the solar oven.  This heats rather quickly.
  • Beans & franks – same as above, but use canned pork ‘n beans. Cut franks into small bite size pieces.  Season as desired.
  • Pizza bites or other small items from the freezer section of the grocery store
  • Hard cooked egg
  • Baked apple – for each child, peel and core an apple.  Cut apple into slices or chunks.  Place apple onto a aluminum foil square.  Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and a pat of butter.  Wrap up foil into a package.  Bake in the solar oven until apple is baked, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Omelet – cooks very quickly. You can add other ingredients if desired, i.e., chopped onion; chopped bell peppers; pre-cooked bacon, sausage, or ham (crumbled); and of course, cheese; or you can leave it plain. Don’t forget salt and pepper.
  • Baked potato  This will take a bit longer, but is still very easy.
  • Quick Frito Chili Pie – heat the chili in individual cups. When hot, remove from oven and add slightly crushed Fritos, and chopped onion (if desired). Stir Fritos into the chili and top with cheese. Place back into the solar oven to melt the cheese.
  • S’mores – have each child assemble their own s’more. Place a square of chocolate on a graham cracker square. Add several small marshmallows and top with a second graham cracker square. Wrap in tin foil. Heat in the solar oven.
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