Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cast Iron Skillet Cooking

The choice to use my grandma's old cast iron skillet came when I mentioned to my hubby that we desperately needed new skillets.  We weren't exactly in the position to buy a new set, so I decided to consider the way my dear grandma used to cook . . . I am soooo hooked on these skillets!

After a bit of research on how to refurbish the large cast iron skillet I had, along with the medium and smaller one I picked up at thrift stores, I was up and cooking and haven't looked back since.  These cooking pans will outlive me and hopefully inspire the next generation to get cooking on these amazing skillets!

I remember giving these a try in my 20's and was disappointed in the nasty sticking food issue - now that I have seasoned my pans, they are a dream to cook with and my husband loves the omelets, vegies and even breads I cook.  And after the food is enjoyed, I clean 'em up, put 'em up and move on.  So easy, and the way the heat conducts in them makes for food that tastes amazing!

I will show you one quick recipe we love and go from there . . .

Cast Iron Zucchini Stir Recipe

I will admit that I'm not the best at measurements, so bear with me and I'll try to be somewhat specific - I will follow with specifics on how to refurbish and season your pan - you won't be sorry!
Start heating the skillet slowly - as taking a cold cast iron pan and setting to high heat isn't best.
While it's heating, cut up one green, one yellow zucchini, 1/3 onion and one roma tomato (or grab one from the freezer you have stored).
Add approx. 1-2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan and heat - add the onion and zucchini and saute til very translucent and browned.  The glass dish in the background are the zucchini ends for the "girls", our chickens.

Add some seasoning, such as the creole seasoning mix I love and listed below, and the tomato, and cook til well done.
Finally, throw in any cheese you might need to use up (I'm all about using up things needing to be cooked), whether cream cheese, goat cheese or cheddar cheese, and stir up.  You can probably turn off the heat at this point, as the cheese will melt fast . . . you are ready to serve!
We love this recipe and have it often - I so hope you enjoy it as well, hopefully in your cast iron skillet!

Creole Seasoning

2 Tbsp - chilli powder
2 Tbsp - paprika
2 tsp - grnd cumin
1 Tbsp - garlic powder
1 tsp - black pepper
1 tsp - cayenne pepper - or more if you like spice
1 tsp - crushed red pepper - "                         "
1 Tbsp - sea salt
1 Tbsp - oregano
Combine all, shake up and store in pint Mason jar

You can use this mix in so many recipes - fish, vegies, chicken . . . endless yummy options!

I will post next how to season and care for your cast iron skillets - you'll never look back.

Seasoning Your Cast Iron Skillet

Unless you have purchased a new, preseasoned pan from a company such as The Lodge, you will need to "season" it prior to cooking in order for it to have that wonderful, non-stick surface.

  • First, make certain the skillet is free of debris and rust (you can scrub well with steel wool). 
  • Then coat the entire surface; top, bottom, handle, etc . . . with the oil of your choice.
  • Place upside down on foil in the oven set to 350 degrees and leave it for one hour.
  • Once done, wipe down with a paper towel and store in a cupboard or even the oven.
You shouldn't have to reseason as long as you clean the pan soon after cooking and keep an eye on any rust that might show up.  Don't use metal when cooking or cleaning as this can promote scratching that will encourage rust.  Also, don't let them soak in water after cooking (not the best pan for those who tend to soak their pans overnight :)

Cleaning Your Cast Iron Skillet

Cleaning cast iron cookware is easy and once you get in the routine of cleaning soon after cooking and even eating, you'll enjoy them for many, many years.
  • First, make sure all food is scraped out by using a plastic scraper or stiff nylon brush.
  • Rinse with hot water, once again making sure all food is removed. (Never use cold water on a warm pan, as the temperature difference could cause the pan to warp or even crack).
  • Dry thoroughly - don't air dry as this can encourage rust if you haven't noticed any scratches.  One thing you don't want to do, is to use the pans for boiling water.
  • Wipe with a thin coat of oil on the bottom and sides.  And store!
  • I know it sounds odd to not use dishsoap, but you will have to reseason often and the above is the proven method for safe cooking and eating with cast iron cookware.

All you need for cast iron cooking!
Don't forget that the handle stays hot - use potholder or hotpad sleeve like I made above.

Quick Crochet Skillet Handle Sleeve

Chain 18
Half Double crochet in second chain from hook and across. Chain 2 and turn.
Continue with half double crochet across, ch2, until you have the desired length (approx 4 1/2")
Fold in half and slip stitch along the long side to form a sleeve - fasten off.

I will continue to add my favortie recipes and would love for you all to share your own tips and recipes in regards to cast iron cookware.

I hope you have a great day!


  1. I am so excited! I am going to get a pan and be right back to try that recipe! Thank you for your inspiration!

  2. So glad you are inspired! Thank you for the comment :)