Cast Iron Cooking

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Jayne

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!

→ View all the recipes listed in this blog on our YouTube channel!

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.

How to Season a Cast Iron SkilletHow to season a Cast Iron Skillet - www.cobornsblog.com

  • 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.

How to Clean a Cast Iron SkilletHow to clean a Cast Iron Skillet - www.cobornsblog.com

  • 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


Cast Iron Cooking - Chicken Fajitas
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 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
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
Instructions
  1. In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice and seasonings; add the chicken.
  2. Seal and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, sauté peppers and onions in remaining oil until crisp-tender.
  4. Remove and keep warm.
  5. Discard marinade.
  6. In the same skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  7. Add peppers back in with the chicken and heat until warm.
  8. Spoon filling down the center of tortillas; fold in half.
  9. Serve with cheese, taco sauce, salsa guacamole and sour cream.

 

Cast Iron Cooking – Kit Kat Skillet Cookie

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Cast Iron Cooking: Kit Kat Skillet Cookie - www.cobornsblog.com

Cast Iron Cooking - Kit Kat Skillet Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a large cast iron skillet with non-stick baking spray.
  3. In large bowl add butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in bowl and mix with electric mixer.
  4. Beat at medium speed until creamy.
  5. Add flour, salt and baking soda, beat at low speed until flour is combined, turn to medium speed and beat 2 minutes.
  6. Fold in Kit Kat bites and Chocolate Chips.
  7. Pour cookie dough into skillet and spread evenly.
  8. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Drizzle caramel and chocolate flavored topping over warm cookie.
  10. Set aside and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

 

Cast Iron Cooking – S’more Dip

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Cast Iron Cooking: S'more Dip - www.cobornsblog.com

Cast Iron Cooking - S'more Dip
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 8 Large Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers for dipping
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Spray a cast iron skillet with non-stick baking spray.
  3. Add the chocolate chips.
  4. Snip the large marshmallows in half and top the chocolate chips with them.
  5. Place skillet in oven.
  6. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, until marshmallows turn golden brown.
  7. Serve with graham crackers for scooping.

 

Jayne
Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

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Simple Summer Meals on the Run

Simple Summer Meals on the Run! www.cobornsblog.com

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Rebecca

We’re getting into my favorite season of the year: lake season! For those who are lucky enough to live on the water year round, perhaps the excitement doesn’t overcome them quite like it does me. This is the time of year when my family gives up dusting and vacuuming for the summer, doesn’t invite company to visit our home, and perpetually leaves the suitcases out on the coffee tables in our family room – always in packing and unpacking mode throughout the week – all summer long until the new school year starts. When each Thursday night comes, we tuck the kids into bed, then load up the car so that at 5:00 on Friday, we can hit to the road!

During particularly hectic weeks, I order groceries for the weekend menu and a bag of ice from CobornsDelivers and have them deliver my order to my office. I meet them in the parking lot with a cooler in my trunk and voila! I’m all set for the weekend.

In order to survive the madness of constantly being on the go, we plan our weekend meals to be as simple as possible. Yes, sometimes we bring a box of cereal for breakfast or PB&Js for a boat ride, but we honestly eat pretty delicious food by simply planning smart. For instance, we don’t ever bring loaves of bread – they always get smooshed; instead we use pitas, tortillas or sandwich rounds. And there’s nothing wrong with the occasional meat/cheese/crackers combo or veggie tray on the boat if it’s too nice to come in to shore for a meal.

This year for Memorial Day weekend, here’s what we are bringing.

Friday Dinner – BLT Wraps & Grapes

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - BLT Wraps

Time- Saving Tip: Use precooked bacon.


Saturday Breakfast – Campfire Omelets & Sliced Watermelon

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - Campfire Omelets

Time- Saving Tip: At home, mix eggs, cooked sausage, chopped peppers and onions, milk and cheese and bring along in a Ziplock.


Saturday Lunch: Tacos in a Bag

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - Tacos in a Bag

Time- Saving Tip: At home, brown taco meat and simply reheat before filling chip bags. Have kids help chop olives, avocado, lettuce and tomatoes.


Saturday Dinner: Pie Iron Pizza Pockets, Lettuce Salad & S’mores

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - Pie Iron Pizza Pockets

Time- Saving Tip: Use pizza sauce in a squeeze bottle and Deli Flats for the crust


Sunday Brunch: Campfire Oatmeal, Skewered Bacon & Cut Watermelon

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - Campfire OatmealSimple Summer Meals on the Run - Campfire Bacon

Time- Saving Tip: At home, combine all the dry ingredients for the oatmeal and bring along in a Ziplock.


Sunday Lunch: Tabbouleh Salad in Pitas, Celery and Hummus

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - Tabbouleh Salad in Pitas

Time- Saving Tip: At home, prepare Tabbouleh – the longer it marinates, the better the flavor.


Sunday Dinner: Sausage Hobo Dinners, Jiffy Pop & Fruit Pies on the Fire

Simple Summer Meals on the Run - Sausage Hobo Dinners

Time- Saving Tip: If you’ve caught some fish, you can easily sub fish for the sausage.
Use biscuits in a tube for pie crust – simply flatten one out inside each pie iron side, then scoop in some pie filling and close them tightly before cooking on the fire.


Monday Breakfast: Cereal, Milk, Yogurt & Leftover Fruit


Monday Lunch: Leftovers!

It never hurts to resort to PB&J if you run out of leftovers; although, I’ve never once had that happen. Ever.


 

The key to all of this is to relax and go with however the weekend flows. You might have an impromptu potluck with neighbors or a rainstorm that sends you to a nearby restaurant. Or maybe you’ll get lucky like we once did and find a fantastic wild blueberry patch and eat an entire lunch of blueberries. Wherever your summer weekends take you, make some memories without having to spend your weekend in the kitchen!

Rebecca
Coborn’s, Inc. Communications Manager

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5 Ways to add Beans to your Diet!

Beans are good for you! Are you getting enough in your diet? Learn more at cobornsblog.com

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

You may have heard that beans are good for you! I’m here to reiterate that message and put some extra emphasis on that statement. Beans are AMAZING for you and you should try to incorporate them as often as possible.

Why? Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and iron.  They are unique from other proteins sources such as animal products because they have fiber – a nutrient that is lacking from the average American diet. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, my favorite benefit, they are so cheap! People tell me all the time, I can’t afford to eat healthy because it costs more! Not always the case and here is a great example of that – I’m referring to chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, aduki beans and kidney beans NOT green beans.

Buying a variety is best as they have slightly different nutrients and different tastes so it depends on the recipe and what the recipe calls for.

As far as nutrition it is best to buy beans in all different forms canned and dried. Note that canned is just as nutritious as dried.  The main concern will be the added sodium, but if you buy no salt added or reduced sodium that takes care of the salt.  Even if you buy regular canned beans, draining and rinsing the beans for 2-4 minutes reduces the sodium by up to 41%.  Buying canned is so much more convenient as you don’t have to cook them and you will probably eat them more often thus reaping their nutritional benefits as compared to if you have to cook them each time.

Here are my top 5 ways to add more beans to your diet!

5 ways to add beans to your diet - www.cobornsblog.com

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started! And, of course, I had to add the recipe for black bean brownies!

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies - www.cobornsblog.com #Vegetarian

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 15 Oz. Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 3 T. Canola Oil
  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Peppermint Extract (optional)
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ½ Cup Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly oil or coat an 8×8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract if desired, baking powder and salt.
  5. Process until smooth.
  6. Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
  8. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.

 

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com #Vegetarian #Vegan

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Mango, peeled and diced small
  • 1 Red Pepper, seeded and diced as small as you can get it
  • 1 Cup Scallion, chopped
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 T. Grapeseed Oil
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 2 Cups Quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1½ Cups Black Beans, drained and rinsed (a 15-ounce can)
Instructions
  1. Combine mango, red pepper, scallions, and cilantro in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the red wine vinegar, grapeseed oil, and salt and stir to combine.
  3. Add the quinoa and stir until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Fold in the black beans.
  5. Serve immediately or let it sit for a bit to let the flavors meld.
Notes
Dietitian’s Tip: The reason you want to rinse the beans is to get rid of the excess salt and sodium.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus - www.cobornsblog.com

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
 
Ingredients
  • 15 oz. Can Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
  • ⅓ Cup Tahini
  • ¼ Cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • ½-3/4 Cup Roasted Red Peppers
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine beans, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Add red peppers and garlic until desired consistency.
  4. Garnish with parsley.
  5. Serve warm or cold with pita bread or toasted pita chips or fresh vegetables.

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers - www.cobornsblog.com

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers
Author: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ Cup Quinoa
  • ½ Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ Cup Yellow Bell Pepper, minced
  • 2 T. Minced Onion
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Hot Pepper Sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®)
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 T. Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Roughly mash the black beans with a fork leaving some whole black beans in a paste-like mixture.
  4. Mix quinoa, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, hot pepper sauce, and egg into the black beans using your hands.
  5. Form black bean mixture into 5 patties.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  7. Cook the patties in the hot oil until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

 

Peace and Wellness,
Ashley
Coborn’s, Inc. Supermaket Registered Dietitian

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