If I could figure out how to put glowing lights and sparkles around the wonder in Wonder Oven, I so would. This is by far my favorite cooking tool in my emergency cooking arsenal. It is a fantastic fuel saver for cooking. I have made stews, rice, “baked” bread and muffins and cultured yogurt in it. I have 2 so I can make stew in one and rice in the other.
For a tutorial on how to make one go here.
It isn’t technically an oven it is more a thermal cooker; this is how it works. The square shaped bag is filled with small polystyrene pellets (bean bag pellets) which have insulating properties. There is no heat source it just retains heat which keeps food cooking. Because it is just insulation it will keep cold food cold too like a tub of ice cream for an outdoor event
These are some things to remember when using your wonder oven.
- Use a pot with a lid that is close to the amount of food you are cooking. Empty air space will cause the temperature to drop more quickly.
- Whatever food you are cooking needs to be covered in liquid because of the empty air space thing.
- Make sure you boil your food with the lid on to get it hot as well.
- When ready quickly transfer the pot to the pocket in the “oven” to prevent heat loss.
- Boiling your food gets the temperature up to 212 degrees (boiling point). The wonder oven will lose around 5-7 degrees per hour. The “danger zone” food temperature is between 40 to 141 degrees where bacteria thrive and multiply at a rapid rate. At this rate of heat loss you have up to 8 hours (I wouldn’t go longer than that) in the Wonder Oven before the food reaches unsafe temperatures. Are you still awake after that?
This is a good recipe to break in your Wonder Oven
2 lbs stew meat
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour (or use cornstarch to thicken later)
1 small or medium onion, chopped
3 or 4 large carrots sliced
3 or 4 potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled & diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
3 cups beef broth
Brown stew meat in vegetable oil, add onion, stir and cook for 3 minutes or so; add flour and stir to coat meat and onion; cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients adding more beef broth if desired. If flour was not used make a paste with a couple of Tbs of corn starch in a small amount of water; add to stew stirring constantly until mixed well. Boil for 15 minutes having the lid on the last 5 minutes. Make sure the stew gravy is as thick as you like. It will not thicken as it cooks. Quickly transfer to Wonder Oven and completely cover with top of oven. Let it sit in oven for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours. It can sit up to 4 or 5 hours.
I make rice to go with it in my other Wonder Oven. Prepare rice according to your package, boil it for 5 minutes and drop in the oven for 1 – 2 hours. It can stay in as long as your stew and won’t burn, just stay nice and hot.
If you don’t want your food immersed in water like seasoned chicken breasts, for example, put them in an oven bag or the inner bag from a box of cereal, place the bag in a pot with hot water making sure the meat is immersed, drape the top of the bag over the edge of the pot (when the lid get’s put on it keeps the bag in place to prevent water from getting in). Boil for about 5 minutes, quickly put pot in Wonder Oven and let cook for 3 to 4 hours.
I know you are wondering how in the heck do you “bake” bread and muffins in there so here’s how:
- You need 3 tall 28-oz cleaned cans (like spaghetti sauce) or 3 1-1/2 pint wide mouth canning jars for loaf pans. Make sure it is wide mouth or the bread won’t come out without a fight.
- The bread will be moist and not have a crust because there is no direct heat. This will be a positive thing for most kids.
- It is not necessary to use a new lid each time for baking because you are just looking to keep water out.
Make your favorite 1 loaf bread recipe raising it once (if recipe calls for that). Divide dough into thirds and place in greased cans or jars filling half full. Place in a pot of warm water which is 2/3 up the cans or jars. When the bread has raised put either tin foil secured by rubber bands on the cans or a lid and screw ring on jars. Boil for 10 minutes with pan lid on (that should hold cans/jars upright), place in Wonder Oven and let “bake” for 2 hours.
For Muffins use soup cans or smaller canning jars for individual muffins or use bread size pans to make a loaf. Make dough stiffer than if going into a regular oven because there will be no evaporation. Fill cans or jars 2/3 full and place in warm water which is 2/3 up the containers. Boil for 10 minutes like the bread recipe, transfer to Wonder Oven and let “bake” for 3-4 hours. It can sit up to 7 hours and still be good and warm. It will just wait until you’re ready.
For Culturing Yogurt go here.
To extend the life of your oven:
- Put it in a 20 gallon tub. It makes it easier to store, keep clean and hide.
- Place 1/2 of a metalic space blanket (99 cents) in the pocket of the Wonder Oven, drop your pot in and fold the blanket over the top to cover. This will keep the oven cleaner and help with condensation.
Hope you enjoy yours as much as I do!