We had a little late season winter storm last weekend. We expected to be home-bound for a day or two due to the storm, but we didn’t expect to be without power for a couple of days. Ice and super strong winds caused a few problems for the power lines in the area.
We are lucky to have a wood stove in our little house. It’s hands down my favorite feature of our little home. That little stove makes dreary winter days so cozy.
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Obviously, wood stoves are a HUGE blessing when the power goes out because you can still heat your home and not freeze your toes off. I appreciate that.
Yet another blessing of wood stoves, which I am super ashamed to admit I’d not tried until this past weekend, is that you can cook on them. YES. I’m no pioneer woman, but I channeled my inner Ma Ingalls and decided to give it a try.
The verdict: it was WAY easier than I expected. Although there were no gourmet meals coming off of it, neither did we starve.
I’ve been doing a bit of research about this whole cooking on a wood stove concept, because I’m now kind of obsessed with the idea. Why have I been wasting electricity using my stove all these years?! Ok, because an electric stove is way easier. But still. I should have tried this before now.
Pinterest widely recommends using cast iron cookware when cooking on a wood stove. I have a few cast iron skillets, but no dutch oven. We used stainless steel pots and it worked just fine. I didn’t try anything crazy, just tried to come up with warm meals we could do on the stove using things we had in the fridge.
Here are three cooking basics anyone can do on a woodstove:
I like my morning coffee. I like it a lot. I had some instant coffee in the cabinet from a camping trip last summer, so my first attempt at cooking on the wood stove was to boil water. And it WORKED. Praise hands!! In no time, I had a steaming mug of instant Folgers in my hands and life was bearable once more. (In times of natural disasters, I’m not a coffee snob.)
If you have kids who love Ramen noodles like ours do, you can easily boil water and make those to eat. We didn’t do this, but my kids would have loved it if we had. #keepingitreal
We have a supply of Mountain House emergency meals in the basement (I like to be prepared). All you have to do is add water to these little pouches and you have a meal. So for lunch on day two of the outage, I prepared one for lunch. When I brought one out, Mr. Cozy House rolled his eyes and declared that this was NOT an emergency. But I’ve been dying to try one of the meals out, so I made one anyway. And it was actually good! Good to know.
Brown ground beef
I asked Mr. Cozy House what he wanted for lunch on day one of the storm, and he answered, “Chili.” This was no problem, because I have jars and jars of chili that I canned last summer, and that’s easy enough to heat up on the wood stove.
But he wanted HAMBURGER in his chili. So I grabbed the hamburger out of our rapidly warming fridge, threw it in a stock pot, put it on top of the stove, and oh my goodness. IT WORKED.
Once it was browned, we added two jars of chili and added them, and we had a nice warm, hearty lunch.
Now that I think about it, if I’d whipped out my cast iron skillet, we could have totally fried up some hamburger patties. I’ll have to remember that for next time.
Heating Canned Items
Whether you buy canned goods at the stove or home can your own, it’s super easy to heat them on the wood stove. Simply dump them in a pot and heat. HOW EASY IS THIS?!
I canned ham and bean soup and beef stew last summer, so we had plenty of options for soups on the wood stove.
A few other foods that would be easy to heat: canned vegetables and baked beans, or even hot dogs and brats.
So that’s my first time account of cooking on our wood stove. I was a little sad when the power came back on; I was hoping to try a pot roast and quesadillas. Now that spring is upon us, we won’t be using the stove much until it gets cold again. I am definitely going to experiment more with this in the fall.