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Old 06-01-2013, 01:56 AM   #1
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Cooking at 300°

I'm an OTR truck driver. I do mist of my cooking in a 12 volt portable drive. It looks like an old style lunch box.



It supposedly cooks at 300°. I haven't verified the actual temperature. I use 3 cooking methods with this cooker.

1) I put water around the pan to keep the cooking temp low and to keep the food from burning.

2) I put rolls of foil under the cooking try to keep the bottom from getting a hot spot but still be able to cook at the max temperature.

3) I let the pan sit on the bottom when I need the hot spot to brown the food like when I cook biscuits.

The dishes I can fix are:

Chicken and Rice with Onion
Plain Rice
Meatloaf
Canned biscuits
Steamed Asparagus
Steamed Broccoli
Boiled Eggs

I can cook pasta too. I have made shells and cheese before. It came out great.

I can probably adapt most slow cooker recipes for this cooker. I have to pick recipes with limited prep and only a few ingredients. I would like suggestions on what seasonings I can use with my chicken and rice dish to add a little variety to my menu. I got tired of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Now I use Knorr brand granular chicken flavored bouillon. That's starting to get old.

Any suggestions?

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Old 06-01-2013, 02:45 AM   #2
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Chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder add great flavor and a kick to various foods. Also, curry powder, cumin powder, powdered ginger, Cajun seasoning, etc. Hot sauces are also great additions, as are dried herbs, such as oregano, basil, etc.

Mrs. Dash spice blends are excellent (I like the garlic and herb blend), and many of the Penzey's blends, such as Southwest Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, etc., etc.

Dijon mustard is another great ingredient. For chicken broth, I like Swanson's Lower Sodium.
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Old 06-01-2013, 02:54 AM   #3
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Do you like spicy hot foods? If so you can add a can of diced chilis, some chili powder and maybe some cumin and corriander.

You could add a can of tomatoes, maybe even the pre-seasoned ones (chili ready, with italian spices, with peppers and onions). One recipe we do in the slowcooker sometimes is chicken cooked with tomatoes and green beans over rice. The spices vary.

You could add a can of beans and a creole seaoning blend.

You could add saffron and/or tumeric and a little green salasa.

Add a can of tomato paste and some water to thin it, then an italian seasoning blend or a tex-mex blend.

Add a can of corn or creamed corn, a little garlic and onion. Maybe some dried parsely or chives to green it up a bit.

Buy a ready made pesto and cook the chicken and rice unseasoned or sparingly seasoned, then mix in the pesto.

Add a jar (or partial jar) of salsa.

Add pre-made alfredo sauce and some brocoli or asparagus (if fresh veggies aren't practical you can go with a canned veggie like green beans).

Add grated cheese to it.

Add sour cream, chili powder, and a can of chilis to it.

Add hot sauce to it.

Add a can of cream of mushroom soup, some black pepper, a little bit of sage and/or thyme.

Add a can of french onion soup.

Add soy sauce, a can of pinapple and some fresh from the jar sweet and sour sauce (or teryaki sauce, or pad thai sauce, or other from a jar/bottle asian sauce). Ginger would be good in it too.

Get a jar of curry paste (green, red, peanut, etc) and add some of that to it.

Add curry powder and lime or lemon to it.

That's all I can think of at the moment. If I think of more I'll let you know.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:58 AM   #4
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One thing I should mention, the cheap Walmart chicken I use has a lot of added water. That's why I add the rice. Some of the suggested methods will require multi stage cooking or just draining off the liquid. That's not a problem. I just wanted to add that.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will be trying some of them out later today. I'll be sure to give a "shout out" in my next YouTube video.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:07 AM   #5
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Oh, I forgot to mention, I have tried the seasoned diced tomatoes. I tried fire roasted garlic and one with oregano and another herb. I don't recall exactly which one. I used it when I made rice without the chicken. I just dumped in the tomatoes, liquid and all, then added a bit more water and let it heat for 30 minutes using the water bath method. Then I added the rice and let it cook for 30 min. It was good. It needed a bolder flavor but at least it was a change. If I recall, a dash of salt was all it really needed.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:27 AM   #6
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Reading back over the suggestions, I'm now a bit confused and have a few questions. First I should tell you how I fix my chicken and rice. I assume you haven't watched my YouTube video.

I cut up a medium onion in the tray. I put a keg quarter or a couple if thighs on top of that. I then put water around the tray to control the cooking temperature. I let it cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, the chicken is falling off the bone and there's quite a bit of liquid in the tray. I then pick out the chicken skin and bones and add 3/4 cup par boiled rice and let it cook for 30 min more. With 3/4 cup, the rice will be on the wet side. If I want it dryer, I add 1 cup instead of 3/4 cup.

PAG, with your suggestions, what do I need to change in my procedures? I can't just add those ingredients. First, there isn't room in the pan. Second, there would be too much liquid with some of those.

When it comes to the herbs and spices, please suggest quantities. I have NO CLUE how much to use. That's the artist side of cooking. I'm an engineer. I can do it if a robot can do it. Beyond that, you couldn't eat what I try to throw together.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:07 AM   #7
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Unfortunately, there is no cut and dried formula for seasoning. It is dependent on your tastes. I recommend you start with about a half a teaspoon (or less) of a seasoning you aren't familiar with. It will be trial and error for a time, but it will still vary the flavors (which is your goal). I have never seen one of those devices. It looks very interesting.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:16 AM   #8
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A 'hobo' dinner might work. I use burger, but you could use chicken. Slice a potato and an onion onto a big piece of foil, season well with salt and pepper, put your protein on top, and seal the packet. Cook til the potatoes are tender and the meat is done. Green peppers can go into this, too, or cheese.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:21 AM   #9
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While I have never been OTR driver, I worked on the road an average of 48 weeks a year when I was younger. Rather than eat in restaurants, I would bring along some basic kitchen utensils, a microwave, and a portable fridge, and cook whenever I could. I wish I had access to a device like yours back then.

Anyway, rather than carry a ton of individual spices along, what I found helpful was to buy pre-made spice blends. For example, Cajun or Italian seasoning. Canned soups were staples, too. I didn't make a lot of gourmet foods in those days, but what I did make was usually tasty.

A good place to purchase spice blends is at Penzeys spices. McCormicks also makes some pretty good ones.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:22 AM   #10
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Hoot, I'm not familiar with anything other than salt, pepper, and cinnamon. I have no clue how much of and seasoning to use. Since I'm typically cooking with 1 onion, 1 leg quarter, and 3/4 cup rice, I figured that would give you a baseline for how much to suggest. I'm relatively certain I wouldn't be using 2 tablespoons of curry powder. If I'm just using a single herb or spice, I'm sure I'll manage. I'll start with a dab and add as much as it needs. However, when it comes to spice combinations, I don't know which spice is which. I couldn't even begging to tell you what curry powder will do to the dish. I won't know until I try it.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowgrass View Post
A 'hobo' dinner might work. I use burger, but you could use chicken. Slice a potato and an onion onto a big piece of foil, season well with salt and pepper, put your protein on top, and seal the packet. Cook til the potatoes are tender and the meat is done. Green peppers can go into this, too, or cheese.
That reminds me, I can fix baked potato and mashed potatoes too.

S hobo dinner is how I came up with my chicken and rice fish. I use chicken because it's the cheapest meat I can get. Leg quarters are 59¢/lb if I buy a 5 KB bag. Chicken gets old if you eat it twice a day. That's why I need variety. I can eat the same food day after day. I just need to be able to mix up the flavors. I used to eat bologna sandwiches 3 times a day for weeks at a time. My variety came from "mayonnaise or mustard" and " with cheese or without."
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:33 AM   #12
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Nifty looking device. Kinda like a 12 volt Crock Pot.
I would think most slow cooker recipes would work well with it.
Spices are what you like so experiment with them. As you use them they are a learning step for the next time.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:38 AM   #13
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Packets of dry gravy, sauces, and soup mixes might work with your cool little cooker. Just stir them into whatever you've got in there. Penzey's website can also give you an idea of how much spice to use.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:46 AM   #14
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That's a nifty little cooking device!

Here's the results for a google search on Trucker Slow Cooker Recipes,
they might give you some ideas and tips.

https://www.google.com/search?as_q=t...w=1280&bih=695

This one might have some more recipe ideas..

https://www.google.com/search?as_q=t...w=1280&bih=695
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zagut View Post
Nifty looking device. Kinda like a 12 volt Crock Pot.
That's essentially what it is.


Quote:
I would think most slow cooker recipes would work well with it.
They do as long as searing isn't required. I need to be able to toss everything in and let it go. Adapting quantities due to my limited capacity isn't too much of a problem. However, buying ingredients in the proper portions is. I have limited storage space on the truck. I'm slowly adding shelves and storage containers so that my left over ingredients don't just bounce around the cabinet.


Quote:
Spices are what you like so experiment with them. As you use them they are a learning step for the next time.
Not quite. I NEED spices. I can do without them if my food is already tasty. I don't care what's in it. I'll eat a rock if it taste good. Typically they need a little sauce. What's for dinner? Gravel au jus.

I agree that once I start working with them, I'll become familiar with how they taste and what quantity it takes. In the mean time, I don't want my food to be terrible. I'd rather not eat what the student (me) cooks.

I'm going to try some of the combos PAG suggested. Using soup or gravy mixes sounds good as well as easy. There will definitely be a new YouTube video once I get a couple more versions worked out.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:20 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by GrillingFool View Post
That's a nifty little cooking device!

Here's the results for a google search on Trucker Slow Cooker Recipes,
they might give you some ideas and tips.
I browsed through the search results. There were a few that I can use or adapt. Most of the recipes I saw required using 110v appliances plugged in to an inverter. One sit even showed them cooking on a stove top and that was a truck specific cooking site. When a recipe calls for frying, sautéing, or says "in a skillet," that's not for me. I can adapt just about any recipe for my "lunchbox cooker" as long as the prep is simple, precooking of meat isn't involved, and it doesn't have a long ingredient list.

I picked up a booklet of recipe cards from Walmart because it had several recipes I'm sure I can use. One of them us stuffed bell peppers. I'll have to cut the recipe in half but I'll give it a try.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:30 AM   #17
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It's difficult to explain "how much" of something if we have no idea what types of foods you like and dislike. The recipes you have and have access to online tell you what spices to use for a certain flavor and an amount, you just need to adjust for the quantity you plan on the end. If a recipe serves 4 and asks for 1 teaspoon of "any"spice only use 1/4th teaspoon. This is not art, the artistry comes after when you decide that a half teaspoon of the spice would make the dish taste better to you or leaving it out altogether because you didn't care for the flavor. With this method, you food is edible and not overwhelming.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:47 AM   #18
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Adapting from an existing recipe isn't too much problem. I just see too much of a difference between my chicken and rice and other recipes. I suspect it's a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. I'm basically asking what would YOU put in it and how much? In my chicken and rice recipe, I guess I end up with 3 to 4 cups of food that needs to be seasoned. I know that won't take much. If I'm using a seasoning mix, it's a no brainer. Add a little and taste. Add more if it's needed. It's the mixing of spices on my own that is the issue. Not being familiar with them, I'm afraid the balance on my first try will be too off to be appetizing. If I put in two spices, and need to increase one, which one is it? I just don't know what effect each spice has. Herbs I can deal with. It's the spices that get me. About the only thing I don't like is fennel. I can't stand it. I've had too many pizza's that had too much fennel in the sauce so not any at all is unappealing.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:57 AM   #19
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I take it you have not tasted your spices...pick two you would like to try. Hydrate 1/4 teaspoon in a little water and taste it...do you like that flavor? Mix them together, is it still appealing? This works for blends, too...taste them before adding to your food. Your wife most likely has a few spices hanging around so you don't have to run out and buy a bunch. Learnig the individual flavor of each spice is the best way to determine which is in a recipe that needs to be adjusted.
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:04 PM   #20
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I've tasted every single one of my spices. They are......

Salt
Pepper
Poultry Seasoning
Knorr Chicken Bouillon
Tony Cha here's Creole Seasoning

That's all I have. Even when I'm home, that's all I ever use. Tell me which spices I need to use and I'll get them. I'm making a stop at Walmart this afternoon.
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