Friday, May 10

Solar Chicken Greens and Spicy Cheese

Did you ever see a recipe with ingredients that just grabbed you and you had to make it, right then and there? My niece shared one on Facebook that was low carb and looked absolutely delicious from Tonya Stairs's healthy recipes, so you might want to check out Tonya's page when you're through here for the original Pepper-Jack Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken recipe. Well, I had everything on hand – sort of, and ended up with a dish that was just as mouth-watering (using my imagination, here, based on Tonya's ingredients) with an end result that delivered more surprises. You can slice in any direction for equal portions, freeze it for another meal, or, cut it small enough for dainty hors d'oeuvres! Love multi-tasking foods; don't you.

I decided to use parchment paper to line my pan to make it easier for cutting and serving. Oops! That sounds as though I knew what the end result would be, and, I didn't. My main hope was that any extra grease would be absorbed by the paper.

By resting the, uh, ah, lasagna (?) (Are noodles required to call a dish lasagna?) for about ten minutes, cutting was very easy with little damage to the top layer. This was a totally unexpected drop-your-jaw delicious entrée. A definite repeat recipe and one, I think, I will do for next week's Midtown visitors!

Preheat your solar oven to 225°F and, for an all-round heat, use a rice bag on the bottom.

Solar Chicken Greens and Spicy Cheese Lasagna
Chicken Layer:
1 lb ground chicken
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh herb mixture: dill, stevia, oregano, garlic chives, basil, parsley. (When I pick my herbs from the garden, I generally pick just one end of a leafy section or what looks like it would become about 1/2 tablespoon when chopped. Rosemary is just a small sprig.)
1/4 cup white wine
Mix together and then spread over bottom of pan. Mixture should be thick but easy to spread without being 'saucy.'
1 lb of combined fresh spinach, lettuce, and chard, end stems removed and greens softened in 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. Drain and cool before spreading over chicken layer.
Cheese Layer:
4 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz mozzarella cheese (I didn't have Monterrey Pepper Jack Cheese)
1 egg
1 Tablespoon finely chopped hot peppers of your choice. (I used JRods Backyard Grill Chipotle Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce – a Midtown vendor who makes it fresh)
1 Tablespoon of above chopped herb mixture

Blend together until there are no cheesy lumps in mixture, then spread over greens layer. Cover or use two pans; one for the food and an inverted one for the cover.

After approximately 40 minutes, check for doneness with a toothpick, continue baking, uncovered, until lightly browned and an inserted knife comes out clean. You can also check with a little jiggle of the pan to see if the center is almost firm. There are eggs in the cheese mixture, so they will continue to cook while resting. You want the layers done without being too firm.

Serve in rectangles, diamonds, circles – let your imagination soar, because it's a dish that begs you to play with it. I could see cutting out little shapes for the children, as well, to get those greens into them. Who knew that substituting almost everything could have such a happy result? Give it a try and let us see some of your presentations.


Thursday, May 2

Solar Workshops go Mobile

There had to be a better way to carry around everything I needed for both the Midtown Farmers Market and the Solar Workshops around the State. I'd been looking at cargo trailers and wanted something sturdy but light enough that I could  handle in my advanced years and settled on this lovely grey Diamond Cargo 4'x6' trailer. I would have to do my own internal fixtures, so it was to the drawing board with thoughts of multi-purpose trailer living before ending up with several designs to make everything accessible with the least amount of trouble to my knees!
It started with a blank exterior slate.
And, an interior with a whole lot of empty waiting for the 'pimping.'  My main focus was to stop things from sliding around and keeping a path to the back.
With the interior height at just below 48 inches and not wanting to spend the next few years with a bent neck or on my knees, I bought a little wheeled tool holder for scooting around. Not entirely visible, you can see the tools on the hood ready for use. Let me say that it worked perfectly for moving back and forth, with plenty of head room and a nice seated height. Good choice.
Turns out, the walls are a composite that is seriously hard (good construction) and even with using an electric drill for pre-drilling holes, they were very resistant to the eyebolts. I'm nothing, if not persistent, and, many minutes later, four vertical reinforcing ribs were installed, placing screws at 4" intervals, top and bottom, with eyebolts in between. This would hold the SolarChief(R) in place with heavy-duty bungee cords. Then, I decided I didn't need to work THAT hard and simply placed eyebolts around the rest of the trailer to bungee things as needed. Those over-the-door half-hampers on the left work great for holding my craft items and are only eleven inches deep. A super bonus was that the hooks fit over the inside trailer wall. Yay!
I have plenty of room for all my ovens and accessories, held tightly in place, with center room for moving back and forth without having to move items.
The craft holders were moved to the back, the SolarChief(R) is in place, and there's room for all the ovens and materials for the workshops. Watch out North Carolina; here I come!

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