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Helios Hamburger Casserole

by Christa Upton
(South Dakota)

Cooked ground meat

Cooked ground meat

Recipe Nine in the Solar Hot Pot

Helios Hamburger Casserole

10:00 am—preheat Hot Pot by setting up facing the sun, cover, set timer for 15 minutes.

Then prep: finely chop about 1/2 of an onion (or less if you don’t want it that oniony). Crush & mince 1 or 2 cloves of garlic.

10:15 am—onion, garlic, & 1 lb. hamburger: break up until it’s ‘loose’ (not packed), put in Hot Pot, cover, set timer for 45 minutes.

11:00 am—quickly stir meat to see if it’s done. If not, cover, and keep checking (without opening lid again) every 15 minutes or so. Take out at least by 12:00 (for food safety. If still not done, finish quickly with a hotter heat source.)

--picture of finished meat (below)

When done, take out, drain the grease (but try not to lose the yummy garlic and onion pieces) and chill until later (refrigerate, or put in freezer for an hour to chill quickly if it has been out for a long time).

11:30 am—6 c. room temp. water: put in pot, cover, adjust to sun, set timer for 2 hours.

1:30 pm—adjust to sun, set timer for 90 minutes.

3:00 pm—3 c. macaroni (or other noodles), 1 t. salt: stir into boiling water, quickly cover, adjust to sun, set timer for 40 minutes. (Some noodles will cook quicker; thicker ones might take longer than 40 minutes.)

Well, our water never boiled in the Hot Pot, though it was extremely hot and must have been very close to boiling! Might have helped if we had started the whole process earlier?

(So, we quickly cooked the macaroni indoors and then continued with the recipe.... We’ll probably try again in a few weeks when the sun is higher during the day.)

A little while before the pasta is done—get pre-cooked hamburger/onion/garlic mixture out of refrigerator to come to room temp. Sprinkle over it:

2 t. parsley (or more)
1 1/2 t. paprika
salt (& pepper if desired)
dash or two cayenne

3:40 pm—test pasta to be sure it’s done (eat a piece). (While it’s cooling in your spoon enough to eat, put lid back on Hot Pot to conserve heat.)

When done, drain pasta.

Then add to the pasta in the Hot Pot:

pre-cooked hamburger/veg that you had chilled and then brought to room temp. and seasoned
3/4 c. beef or chicken broth
cheese (as much or little as you like, any kind you like)
2 T butter

Stir together.

Cover, adjust to sun, set timer for one hour.

Hope there’s enough sun left to heat it at least a little! (Of course you could bump all these times a bit earlier like I mentioned before.) Plus at least everything is already cooked, so we’re just looking for pleasantly hot food, melding of flavors, and hopefully melting cheese.) Watch for pasta drying out—I’m not sure how to avoid this, but I think we’re just going to let it go and stir it all together later and hope it’s still edible. LOL Maybe you could do this last step for just a little bit so the pasta wouldn’t dry as much. Or maybe covering the top completely with cheese would help. (I bet people out there have other good ideas! You can post comments/ideas below....)

Let it coast until you’re ready to eat (being careful not to let food stay under 150 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours). Stir thoroughly.

The kids liked it a lot! (Didn’t notice the dry-ish pasta much.)

In case anyone’s wondering, the main reason I decided to blog so detailed was! (smile) I really wanted to try a variety of recipes in the Hot Pot, but I actually haven’t had internet access to look up recipes this entire time. (My DH goes to the library etc. to send my posts each week. And while I still had internet, I had jotted down a bunch of information I thought I’d need about the Hot Pot but hadn’t found very many recipes yet.) So, I’ve been enjoying very much adapting other recipes for the Hot Pot! But I cannot even keep track of myself coming and going or remember stuff for more than 5 seconds, so I knew it would be very stressful to try to cook without thinking it all through ahead of time. Thus these detailed recipes. Then also I can remember what I’ve done each time and tweak, or whatever, the next time. I hope I am not wearying you all with details, and I hope you enjoy solar cooking as much as I am!

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