Cooking with 12 volts

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Jan 19, 2014
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I'm a truck driver so I live similarly to you RV and van dwellers. Although I'm an owner/operator and have a 1500w inverter, I cook exclusively with my 12 volt oven.

I've figured out how to cook some tasty meals in my little oven. It's a RoadPro and I call it my lunch box cooker because it looks like a lunch box. I have developed 4 different cooking methods for the cooker. I'll eventually discuss them all. Most of the things I've fixed are single item dishes that don't constitute a recipe as much as utilize one of the cooking methods. I am working on some full fledged recipes for some one dish meals. I'll start by discussing my favorite dish, Chicken and Rice with Vegetables.

The RoadPro uses standard size foil loaf pans. I buy my replacement pans at Walmart.

If you simply put your food in the pan and close up the oven, you'll get a hot spot on the bottom and you'll burn the food on the bottom unless you tend to it constantly. There is an alternative. I use the "water bath" method. By putting water around the foil pan, the cooking temp is kept at 212° and the bottom of the pan never gets hot enough to burn the food. I use this method for slow cook recipes as well as steaming vegetables.

Here's the chicken and rice recipe. This will feed 2 people. This is not a quick meal if you do everything from scratch but there is a shortcut.

I use chicken leg quarters because I can get a 10# bag for $6. It helps that I prefer dark meat.

Put a leg quarter in a foil pan. I prefer to separate the leg from the thigh because the chicken will fit in the pan easier. I also prefer to cover the pan with a piece of foil. Cleaning the cooker is easier if all the fat stays in the pan.

Pour water around the foil pan until it's about half way up the side of the pan. Set the oven on a towel or several pieces of paper towel on a level surface. There is no vent hole so steam will push out around the seal and a puddle with form under the cooker.

Cook the chicken for 2 1/2 hours. The chicken will be falling off the bone. Bone the chicken. Toss out anything you don't want to eat: skin, bone, gristle, etc.

Although you could use the liquid in the bottom of the foil pan for cooking the rice, I prefer not to because I don't like the greasy taste you'll get. Save it for another dish if you like. I just toss it.

At this point, you could bag the chicken for later use. Cook your chicken ahead of time and you can make this dish in much less time.

Put 1 cup parboiled rice and 1 1/4 cup water in the foil pan. Add 1 cup of vegetables of your choice. I prefer a mix of peas and carrots. Put the chicken on top. Pour water around the pan 1/2 way up and cook for 45 min to 1 hour. Covering with foil is not necessary for this part.

I use parboiled rice because it doesn't stick together. Another name for it is converted rice.

After cooking for 1 hr, it's ready to eat. All you have to do is pick your seasoning. I prefer a little fish sauce with some Chinese black beans or a little Sambal Oelek. Sometimes I just use fine granular chicken bouillon.

I have used a variety of vegetables.

Canned bean sprouts
Green beans
Bamboo shoots
Water chestnuts

Using the water bath method, I have fixed steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower, steamed asparagus, and corn on the cob. I've also steamed potatoes to eat like a baked potato. I've used steamed potatoes to make mashed potatoes.

I've used other methods to make biscuits, meatloaf, and poached fish. I'll discuss those methods if there is interest.
Thanks for those great recipes, Stinky Sullivan!!

I too have a Roadpro oven and love it! But I'm nowhere the cook you are! Thanks for the great ideas!
Asparagus, corn on the cob, broccoli, and potato are cook using the water bath method. But don't cover them. Just put them in the tray, pour water around the tray, and start them cooking.

The cook times are

Potato = 90 minutes
Broccoli = 45 to 60 minutes
Asparagus = 45 min
Corn = 50 min

Add salt, butter, etc as you like once it's done.

There is an alternative method for cooking the potato. The water bath method steams the potato and leaves the skin soft so you can eat it or remove it. If you like a firm skin, forget the water. Take some aluminum foil, fold it so it fits across the short side of the cooker. Roll it loosely so it's about as big around as your thumb. Make 2 rolls like this. Place the foil rolls under the tray. This will prevent a hot spot from developing on the bottom which would burn the potato. Space the foil rolls so the tray us sufficiently supported. Cook time is the same but you get a dry potato skin instead of a soft skin.

If you want mashed potatoes, make the steamed potato, chop it up in a bowl, and mix in some butter and milk. I like to mix in a little shredded cheese.

I use up to 3 ovens at once. I get the chicken cooking, then after 90 minutes, I start the rice in another cooker, and broccoli in a 3rd.

I'll post my meatloaf recipe later.
More good stuff, SS.

I looked up the oven you use, wondering could you say a little something about the system set-up and requirements?
3 ovens at once, how is that wired up, etc?

They have a 15 amp fuse built in to each oven. 18 wheelers have numerous sockets that can handle the load. If you don't have enough sockets, you can run 2 AWG cable directly to your battery. This is overkill just a bit but I believe in overkill when it comes to that stuff. Put a 45 amp fuse inline. 2 awg will support 3 sockets easily. The stoves are rated at 12 amps each. You can run all 3 at once without overheating the plugs. You run the risk if overheating and melting the plugs/sockets if the cable is to small. I've had sockets melt plugs pulling much smaller loads when there was a grounding problem.
I run my Roadpro off my 190 watts of solar with no problem.

I was in a Pilot truck stop today and noticed they have them on sale this month for $25 which is as good as I have ever seen them.
I'll bet you don't have to worry much about battery capacity with a big ol' truck,right? Or do you run one of those power unit things?
I do not have an APU. If I'm cooking and watching TV for more than a couple hours, I might have to idle the truck for a short time. Trucks have a system called Low Voltage Disconnect. When the battery voltage drops to a certain level, nonessential circuits are shut down. An alarm beeps just before that happens. If I hear it, I'll idle the truck for an hour to charge the batteries back up.

$25 is the best price you'll ever find so right now is a good time to get them. Pilot and Flying J are owned by the same company so both should have it on sale.
I love my road pro. I also do the water bath. BIG difference. Tonight I took beef, cut in cubes, a small can of tomato sauce, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt pepper, about a 1/4 cup of rice, little bit of water to thin the red sauce, and cooked that for a couple hours.... love this thing.

**edit, I run it off my battery bank - Solar setup.
Gee. Abby. I want to come visit at dinner time.