*One Burner Meal*
28 October 2009
Recently it was my turn to cook a nice spaghetti dinner, a common event here. But wanting to do something different, I decided to fix it using only one burner on the stove. Why? My backup camping stove is a one burner model. That and I get to play with my vacuum insulated bottles. Another reason is that preparing this meal could really use 3 burners, but only 2 are available.
The first step is planning the sequence of items to be heated on the burner. I started with an item that will hold while hot but won't overcook. Then I did the item that needed some simmer time. While that was cooking I did the item that I wanted to go straight from the burner to the table.
The spaghetti sauce was first on the burner. When completely heated, it went into a preheated insulated food jar. I figured it could stay there for several hours if needed.
Next up was the spaghetti noodles. A few days earlier I picked up this spaghetti cooker thing at a garage sale. I was intrigued.
Following directions, I boiled some water, put the noodles in the plastic container, and poured in the hot water. Then set it aside for about 10 minutes.
While waiting for the spaghetti to cook in the plastic tube, I heated some frozen peas. Here is a picture of everything. The sauce is in the insulated food jar (center), the spaghetti is in the tall plastic pasta cooker, and the peas are in the pot.
I had the timing almost right. My dinner guest (wife) arrived shortly before the spaghetti was done. We set the table and had a nice dinner.
Results & Improvements
The sauce was perfect hot and neither over nor under done. (OK, so it was store bought. But we like it.)
The spaghetti noodles came out fine in texture, but were stuck together all inline. Next time I'll try a larger jar with a lid. I'll shake it occasionally to scramble the noodles. It also took a bit longer to cook than when boiling in a pot.
The peas were slightly overdone, mainly because I was waiting for the noodles to finish. This is a timing thing that will improve with practice.
It was fun and surprisingly easy to fix this meal using only one burner. The results were most satisfactory. This technique should be very helpful when the power is out and we need to rely on alternate cooking methods. The food jars may also be helpful while preparing a big dinner when many items must be kept warm.
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