Four Solar Cooker Girls

Hidden Oaks Middle School

Group Members: Aria L., Annabelle G., Reagan M., and Sophia S. (All in sixth grade)

We are a group of four middle school best friends taking on the Solar Energy Cook-Off competition. Aria and Reagan are great basketball players, Sophia is a star outside hitter in volleyball, and Annabelle plays soccer and does tumbling. We are all in sixth grade and love school. We know that our school has participated in this challenge before, although we are not sure if they placed at the competition. This is our first Solar Energy Cook-Off competition. We have done a lot for this solar cooker and we have had a wonderful time. We all went through some bad times and some good times through this solar cooker project, but we know for one thing it will be a journey that we will never forget.

Where the idea of our solar cooker came from:

The idea of our solar cooker came from some photos we found online and some suggestions made by others. We also used diagrams we found online to give us ideas of what materials we needed. Our solar cooker design is a box cooker.

List of Help Received From Non-Team Members:

Home Depot Workers: Note to them – Thank you for all of the help towards finding our supplies to make our solar cooker a success!

  • Barry
  • Cory
  • Gabriel
  • Mondo

Family That Helped: Note to them – Thank you for all your love and support towards our project. You all have been more than helpful.

  • Jeremy (Aria’s Dad)
  • Jenna (Aria’s Mom)
  • Cristina (Sophia’s Mom) 
  • Julia (Annabelle’s Mom)
  • George (Annabelle’s Dad)
  • Colleen (Reagan’s Mom)

School Coach: Note to him – Mr. Howard, Thank you for helping and encouraging us to be more organized and committed.

  • Mr. Howard

Solar Cooker Dimensions

 Parts Used

For our box cooker we used two large shallow cardboard boxes, two hinges, one door handle, aluminum foil, black T-shirt,1 piece of Plexi glass, Non-toxic black paint, wood glue, panel wood, black tape, and stock lumber.

Construction of Our Solar Cooker


Carne Asada Tacos

Servings: 3

Calories: 344

2 pounds skirt steak trimmed of excess fat


  • 1 jalapeño seeded and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Flour tortilla
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Salsa verde
  • Cilantro


  1. In a large glass baking dish whisk together Carne Asada marinade ingredients (jalapeño through black pepper) until combined. Add skirt steak and cut them up into strips , turning to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 8 hours (longer will begin to break down the meat.
  2. Let your solar oven sit in the sun for 30 minutes to an hour to preheat. Take your steak out of the fridge to thaw while your solar oven is pre-heating.
  3. Next, put your steak in the solar cooker. Let it cook for 1 hour, checking it after half an hour to flip the strips over.
  4. Once cooked all the way take it out of the cooker, add your toppings, and then serve. 
  5. Enjoy!

Testing our Solar Cooker Design

Test Results 

Date: March 29, 2024   –    Sunny day, no clouds    –     Temperature 74o F

Start time = 12:15 p.m.

Temperature 100o F = baseline temperature

1st measurement -12:50 p.m. 150o F

2nd- 1:40 p.m. 152o F

3rd- 2:07 p.m. 210o F

Date: April 2, 2024 –  partly cloudy – Temp: High 85o F Low 68o F

8:20 a.m. – Put solar oven outside in the sun

11:00 a.m. – Place meat in solar oven 

11:30 a.m. – Meat reached 140o F

12:00 p.m. – 143.7o F

12:30 p.m. – 152o F

1:00 p.m. – 1 piece of meat reached 161.4o F, the remaining pieces of meat reached 150o F

Cloudy Day Recipes:



  • Tortilla chips
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Optional toppings (ex. – lettuce shreds, tomatoes, onions, black olives, sour cream, salsa, guacamole)


  1. Spread tortilla evenly in pan.

2. Spread cheese on top of chips

3. Place solar cooker in direct sunlight.

4. Put pan of chips and cheese into solar cooker and close the lid tight.

5. Let chips cook for 30 minutes to an hour (or until cheese has melted).

6. Top with toppings of choice.

7. Enjoy!

English Muffin Pizzas & Salad

Calories: 244 per serving



English Muffin Pizzas:

  • English Muffins
  • Red Sauce 2 Tbsp. for each muffin half
  • Mozzarella Cheese About 2 ounces for each muffin half


  • 12 ounces Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Caesar Dressing 
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  •  Shaved Parmesan Cheese ⅓ cup 
  • Chopped Fresh Chives


  • Cilantro Just to top it off
  • Extra Cheese However much your heart desires
  • Optional Toppings- Pepperoni, Olives, Mushrooms, Pineapple, Sausage


  1. First, set your solar cooker out to preheat. Then, cut the English Muffins in half, put the red sauce on it, and top it with cheese.
  2. Next, put the English muffins into the solar cooker to cook, and about every 15 minutes check to see how melted the cheese has become. After you take the English muffin pizzas out of the cooker, check to make sure that they are cooked. Next, place them back in the solar oven to stay warm while you prepare the salad. Mix the romaine lettuce, avocado, and Caesar dressing together. Then, top it off with shaved parmesan cheese and fresh chives.
  3. Last, once the salad is finished take the pizza out of the solar cooker and put the salad and the pizza on the plate. Then, add the cilantro and any additional toppings to the pizza.
  4. Then, Serve and ENJOY!!

2 thoughts on “Four Solar Cooker Girls

  • Can’t wait to see your solar cooker in action. Good sturdy design. I love that you have back up recipes depending upon the solar energy of the competition day


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