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Easy Thermos Cooking Recipes


More from Outdoor Living Newsletter January Outdoor Living Newsletter
 
Hiker sitting in a grass field drinking from this thermos
With thermos cooking, you can enjoy a hot meal wherever you are on the trail.

We're all familiar with the thermos bottle. A lot of us use it to store hot water. Some of us grew up with our mothers forcing a thermos full of soup we could eat during recess at school. Some of us bring hot coffee in a thermos so we're sure to enjoy our own delicious brew instead of the indescribable mess that sometimes passes for coffee in the office break room.

But did you know that you can also cook with your thermos bottle? Many thermos cooking advocates consider preparing food in a thermos to be a great time- and energy-saver. When you're on a camping trip, thermos cooking will certainly help you a lot. With thermos cooking, you're guaranteed to have hot food to eat when you take a break for a meal in the middle of exploring the wilderness and you're miles away from your campsite. You won't have to make a cooking fire, especially when you're not really allowed to build one. And you won't have to make do with cold food or eating out of a can.

How Thermos Cooking Works

How does thermos cooking work? We all know that storing hot liquids in a thermos will keep them warm for at least six hours. That's because a thermos bottle is built with a vacuum surrounding its inner container. This vacuum prevents heat from dissipating and basically traps it right inside the thermos' inner container. Over time, this trapped heat can sufficiently cook the food items stored inside the thermos.

However, because thermos cooking works by preventing heat transfer from occurring, the first step to efficient thermos cooking is by pre-heating the inside of the bottle. You do this by boiling water in a regular or electric kettle and then pouring the freshly boiled water inside the thermos. After 10 minutes or so, you can dump the hot water used to preheat the thermos, and then you can dump the ingredients you want to cook inside your thermos. All you need to do is to top it up with more boiling water. You'll be able to tell if the food in your thermos is cooked by shaking the bottle. If your food sloshes about inside your thermos, it's not yet ready (unless, of course, it's soup).

Thermos cooking is perfect for preparing whole grains and vegetables. However, some ingredients such as meat and hard vegetables will still need to be pre-cooked over the stove. Otherwise, you'll end up with undercooked and inedible food.

The quality of the thermos you use for cooking matters as well. Some thermos bottles don't hold heat as much as others. When you attempt thermos cooking, you should go for high-end metal thermos bottles. These retain a lot of heat. You can easily buy a cheap but high-quality thermos from any department store.

Recipes for Thermos Cooking

We've listed here five recipes that you can easily make with thermos cooking.

Recipe 1: Oatmeal

Serves: 1 to 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • Salt (or sugar) to taste
  • Your choice of nuts and dried fruits

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Preheat your thermos with boiling water. Dump the water out after 10 minutes.
  2. 2.  Put the oats inside your thermos.
  3. 3.  Add the freshly boiled water, 4 cups for every 1 cup of oats.
  4. 4.  Cover and seal your thermos.
  5. 5.  When you're ready to eat, season your oatmeal with salt or sugar. Mix in nuts and dried fruits as desired.

Recipe 2: Beef Chili

Serves: 2 to 3
Preparation time: 15 minutes (including pre-cooking)
Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground lean beef
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beans (your choice of red or white kidney beans, black beans or pinto beans)
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Preheat your thermos with boiling water. Dump the water out after 10 minutes.
  2. 2.  While you're preheating your thermos, brown the ground beef in a pan.
  3. 3.  Add the garlic, the onions and the green bell pepper; cook until the onions are transparent.
  4. 4.  Add the tomato sauce and allow the mixture to boil.
  5. 5.  Put the beans and the contents of the pan in the empty, preheated thermos.
  6. 6.  Mix in the cumin powder, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  7. 7.  Cover the thermos tightly.

Recipe 3: Chicken Macaroni Soup

Serves: 2 to 3
Preparation time: 10 minutes (including pre-cooking)
Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chicken breast, cut to bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup macaroni
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Preheat your thermos with boiling water. Dump the water out after 10 minutes.
  2. 2.  While preheating your thermos, heat the olive oil in a skillet.
  3. 3.  Sauté the chicken breast until brown.
  4. 4.  Add the garlic and onion, cook until onion is transparent.
  5. 5.  Put the sautéed chicken, garlic and onions and the macaroni in the empty and preheated thermos bottle.
  6. 6.  Pour in the freshly boiled water.
  7. 7.  Add the vegetables and the salt and pepper.
  8. 8.  Cover the thermos tightly.

Recipe 4: Bread and Raisins Pudding

Serves: 2 to 3
Preparation time: 10 minutes (including pre-cooking)
Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried raisins
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Preheat your thermos with boiling water. Dump the water out after 10 minutes.
  2. 2.  While preheating your thermos, mix all the ingredients except for the bread in a sauce pan or skillet.
  3. 3.  Put the bread cubes in the empty, preheated thermos.
  4. 4.  Pour in the mixture from the skillet.
  5. 5.  Cover the thermos tightly.

Recipe 5: Pork and Vegetable Soup

Serves: 2 to 3
Preparation time: 15 minutes (including pre-cooking)
Thermos Cooking time: Minimum of 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1 small white onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 can green peas
  • 1 can tomato juice
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Preheat your thermos with boiling water. Dump the water out after 10 minutes.
  2. 2.  While preheating your thermos, melt the butter in a skillet and brown the ground pork.
  3. 3.  Add the onion and garlic, cook until onion is transparent.
  4. 4.  Add the potatoes and the liquids. Allow the mixture to boil.
  5. 5.  Transfer the mixture in the skillet to the empty, preheated thermos.
  6. 6.  Put the remaining vegetables in the thermos.
  7. 7.  Season with salt and pepper.
  8. 8.  Cover the thermos tightly.

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1 comment(s) so far...

For the above recipes that have meat and vegetables as ingredients, how long do we have to leave it cooking in the thermos before it is ready for eating?

By jsm11215 on 8/24/2014 9:20:19 AM
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