September has officially arrived and I have to accept the fact that summer has passed. As much as I love our fall season it is always so sad when the kids go back to school and the summer fun at the lake starts to quiet down. Oh well, on to the next season! When I spend time at the lake, especially during the fall, I usually make comfort foods and oh how I love them. One of my favorite things to use in my kitchen at the cabin is a cast iron skillet. I remember as a kid my mom using only her skillet to make bacon, eggs and hash browns every Saturday morning. I can still hear the sizzling of the bacon and how the scent filled the entire cabin. No food could compare when she used her cast iron skillet. There are so many myths about the cast iron skillet that I thought this would be a perfect subject to talk about in my September blog. I hear from so many of my friends that they have received one of these skillets as a wedding gift and store it in the cupboard because they have no idea how to use it. So here are a few hints to get you started with being a Cast Iron Skillet Professional!
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Benefits to using a Cast Iron Skillet
- Using a cast iron skillet instead of a non-stick skillet allows you to avoid the fumes that accompany most non-stick cookware.
- Besides the stove, you can use a cast iron skillet in the oven, at any temperature.
- By using a cast iron skillet you can create quality homemade fish sticks, potato pancakes, and French toast, complete with golden brown, crispy exteriors. Contrast this with non-stick cookware, which makes browning nearly impossible.
- Since cast iron does not scratch, you don’t need to use plastic utensils, and there is no fear of using your silverware to stir or scoop. It lasts for so long that many people still use cast iron cookware that they have inherited.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water and a sponge or stiff brush. Cast iron should not be normally washed with soap, but its fine here since the pan is about to be seasoned.
- Rinse and thoroughly dry the skillet.
- Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the inside an outside of the skillet. Vegetable oil is most commonly recommended for seasoning.
- Place the skillet upside down on the oven’s center rack.
- Place a sheet of aluminum foil below the rack to catch any drips.
- Bake for an hour.
- Turn off heat and allow the skillet to cool completely before removing from the oven.
- A seasoned skillet is smooth, shiny, and non-stick. You’ll know it’s time to re-season if food sticks to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted.
- Clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Avoid soaking the pan or leaving it in the sink, because it could rust.
- Wash the skillet by hand, using hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, as these may strip the pan’s seasoning.
- To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Boiling water in the pan may also loosen stubborn food residue.
- Thoroughly towel-dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat for 5 minutes and let cool.
- Using a paper towel, apply a light coat of vegetable oil to the inside of the skillet.
After you have seasoned your cast iron skillet you are ready to start a whole new world of cooking.
I’ve always loved the fall season because of the cooler nights and the beautiful colors, so when I’m at the cabin my cooking skills become a hobby and I get the chance to experiment with more recipes than I normally do at home during the busy work week. I’m still into simple and quick recipes because I want to spend as much time as I can on the pontoon and with family and friends, so here are a couple recipes that I would like to share with you to get you started with your own Cast Iron Skillet. Enjoy…..I did!
Cast Iron Cooking – Chicken Fajitas
- 4 T. Vegetable Oil, divided
- 2 T. Lemon Juice
- 1.5 tsp. Seasoned Salt
- 1.5 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1.5 tsp. Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp. Chili Powder
- ½ tsp. Paprika
- ½ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, optional
- 1.5 Lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into thin strips
- 1 Medium Sweet Red Pepper, julienned
- 1 Medium Green Pepper, julienned
- ½ Cup Onions, thinly sliced
- 6 - 8" Flour Tortillas, warmed
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Taco Sauce
- Sour Cream
- In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice and seasonings; add the chicken.
- Seal and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
- In a large cast iron skillet, sauté peppers and onions in remaining oil until crisp-tender.
- Remove and keep warm.
- Discard marinade.
- In the same skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Add peppers back in with the chicken and heat until warm.
- Spoon filling down the center of tortillas; fold in half.
- Serve with cheese, taco sauce, salsa guacamole and sour cream.
Cast Iron Cooking – Kit Kat Skillet Cookie
- ½ Cup Butter, softened
- 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Baking Soda
- 2 Cups Kit Kat Bites
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- Drizzle of Caramel flavored topping
- Drizzle of Chocolate flavored topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray a large cast iron skillet with non-stick baking spray.
- In large bowl add butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in bowl and mix with electric mixer.
- Beat at medium speed until creamy.
- Add flour, salt and baking soda, beat at low speed until flour is combined, turn to medium speed and beat 2 minutes.
- Fold in Kit Kat bites and Chocolate Chips.
- Pour cookie dough into skillet and spread evenly.
- Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Drizzle caramel and chocolate flavored topping over warm cookie.
- Set aside and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Cast Iron Cooking – S’more Dip
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- 8 Large Marshmallows
- Graham Crackers for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Spray a cast iron skillet with non-stick baking spray.
- Add the chocolate chips.
- Snip the large marshmallows in half and top the chocolate chips with them.
- Place skillet in oven.
- Bake 7 to 9 minutes, until marshmallows turn golden brown.
- Serve with graham crackers for scooping.
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser