Making Cooking Cool: Induction Cooktop

Induction CooktopMy husband and I have tried various alternative cooking methods over the years. This was not only a search for useful techniques but also a way to stretch our own cooking skills.

For whatever reason–a broken oven, lack of electricity, or whatnot–our stove may not be available. Too, without a traditional summer kitchen, finding other ways to prepare meals in the summer without heating up the kitchen can save money. Definitely a win-win, all the way around.

Here are some cooking methods that we’ve tried:

  1. Solar oven
  2. Campfire
  3. Wonderbag
  4. Induction cooktop

And here’s one that I’m still considering: a Herc Oven. I would love to try this method but so far have not been able to justify the initial expense.

So with the heat of summer still lingering, I decided to purchase an induction cooktop. After doing a bit of research, I finally decided on this one. I won’t pretend to understand the science behind this cooking method, but I can tell you that it works. And best of all, it doesn’t heat up the room, so we can enjoy a hot meal without turning up the air conditioning.

Other than a cooler kitchen, one of the main benefits of using this cooktop is precise temperature control. Also, the time to do anything is lessened; you can boil a pot of water in just minutes. Seriously! Wondering about drawbacks? Well, you can’t use all cookware with this although you can purchase a heat diffuser that will allow you to do so.

We’ve mainly cooked with the skillet so far, but we’re eager to try cooking with a dutch oven and the like.¬†Have you tried cooking on an induction cooktop? What are your thoughts?

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Easy Cheesy Soup (In a Wonderbag)

easycheesysoupHaving worked late last night, I wasn’t much in the mood for a heavy day of cooking. Dinner had to be easy and simple, especially since I would be working shifts throughout the day as well.

Luckily, my husband had stocked up on Progresso Recipe Starters awhile back when our local grocery store had run a sale on them. We always stock up on sale goods, especially when they’re canned and shelf-stable items. And who doesn’t like to save money? Anyway, he chose a selection of the various flavors, and luckily we had one of the Creamy Three Cheese starters left in our pantry.

Although the old brain cells take a bit longer to come up with something at my age, I was able to put together an idea fairly quickly. Easy Cheesy Soup! Improvising my own recipe from an established one would have to be the way to go in this case as I definitely wouldn’t be running to the grocery store for a few items. I found a good basic recipe online and began from there.

Here’s what I put in the pot:

  1. 2 links of hot Italian sausage
  2. 1 can of Creamy Three Cheese recipe starter
  3. About 1/3 bag of frozen Mirepoix vegetable mix
  4. Couple of handfuls dehydrated green and red peppers
  5. Ghost pepper infused sea salt from The Spice Lab
  6. Habanero infused sea salt from The Spice Lab
  7. Assorted spices (chipotle, roasted herb mix, garlic powder, etc)

I first browned the sausage in a bit of coconut oil, adding the Mirepoix veggies after a bit. Spices went in next; I then threw in the peppers and soup. I returned everything to boiling and put the steaming pot in the Wonderbag. It sat on my counter for an hour or so until we were ready to eat.

The result? Yummy! We chopped up some cheese in our soup for a garnish, and it turned out cheesy and wonderful. I’ll definitely try this again. And the Wonderbag made it all easy and convenient even for my work schedule.

Dinner Is in the Bag!

dinnerwonderbagBe sure and check out my latest frugal improvisation for dinner in a Wonderbag!

Dinner Is in the Bag!

It was a tasty and easy meal! Plus, as it used up ingredients we already had on hand, very frugal. I’ve got tons of other articles on Bubblews, so be sure and check those out as well. You might find something useful on there!

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Krista Schnee on Bubblews

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Boiled Eggs in a Wonderbag

boiled eggs wonderbagSo, if you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen a recent tweet about my purchase of a Wonderbag.¬†Although I covet very little these days, I must admit that I had been wanting one for quite awhile. Challenging myself to learn different cooking methods is kind of fun–perhaps I’m a bit odd that way–and so this looked to be right up my alley. I finally relented and bought one online.

When we first began our solar cooking journey, we jumped right in and began cooking full meals. While not disasters, the stews and soups didn’t always quite turn out. We then decided to go back to basics, learning to cooking single items, such as rice and eggs, to see how the solar oven performed and give us a better idea of the quirks involved with solar cooking. Having learned from those experiences, I decided to begin my Wonderbag journey with the easy stuff.

Waking up this morning, I thought, “Today is the day!” I would finally use my Wonderbag for the first time! Thinking about the food we currently had on hand, I decided to boil some eggs. With just a bit of searching, I found a guideline for doing this in the Wonderbag. It looked simple enough, so I began as the directions described, covering the eggs in water and bringing it all to a boil. After a quick period on the stove, the pot was boiling nicely and ready for the Wonderbag. In the bag it went, the whole kit-n-kaboodle sitting on my counter for about seven or so hours.

And the result? The eggs cooked perfectly. About the only difference from what was described in the guidelines was the ease of peeling of the eggs. The eggs were fully cooked, but they just didn’t peel very easily. I’ll admit that this might have been due to the quality or age of our eggs. After peeling one egg, I did put the rest in a bowl of cold water, which seemed to help significantly. However, I would say that this method is a success as it was easy–always a bonus!–and utilized very little gas for cooking.

My opinion of the Wonderbag so far? I have to say I’m a fan. This method of cooking would certainly be perfect for those days when cooking in the solar oven would not be possible, and it didn’t heat up my home during even a hot morning.

Do you have a Wonderbag? What are your experiences? Any favorite meals or recipes? Please share!

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