5 Reasons to Love Your Cast Iron Cookware

Lodge Cast Iron 5 Piece SetOnce you start cooking with cast iron, odds are you’ll end up loving it. For starters, it’s a true culinary work horse able to go from cooktop to oven to outdoor grill to blazing campfire with ease. No matter what’s on the menu, you know it’s going look and taste better when you use your favorite cast iron cookware.

Here are 5 Reasons to Love Your Cast Iron Cookware:

1. Versatile: Cast iron cookware can be used in many different ways: on top of the stove, in the oven, under the broiler, on the grill, or even over an open campfire. This versatility saves you both time and money because you don’t have to buy or wash a bunch of extra pots and pans.

For example, to make a big pot roast in a single pan, pull out your cast iron Dutch oven to brown the meat, and then add the remaining ingredients before placing in the oven to cook.

Who needs a big roasting pan? Just take out your largest cast iron skillet and roast a whole chicken in it. You can also sear steaks on top of the stove and then put it them in the oven to finish cooking without needing to dirty another dish.

2. Economical: A basic piece of cast iron cookware is usually a steal, whether you buy it new or at a yard sale. The simplest form, called ‘raw’ cast iron (the black color), is what you might envision on a campfire. There are also more colorful enameled varieties, but they tend to cost a lot more. Fortunately, some well-known lines of old-fashioned cast iron cookware have come out with their own enameled versions that rivals the designer labels.

For the most part, if you want a good, solid piece of cookware without spending a lot of money, cast iron is the right place to start.

3. Durable: This old-fashioned cookware is nearly indestructible. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t damage the seasoned finish, but even if you do – it can be fixed in most cases. First, try cooking some bacon or other fatty food in it. If that doesn’t give the results you want, you can always re-season the pan to restore the finish to its previous luster.

Know you know why cast iron cookware is handed down for generations – it lasts forever!

4. Practical: Have you ever started cooking a dish on your cooktop only to realize you need to pop it under the broiler to finish it?

If you have ever had to transfer food from one piece of cookware to another just to complete a recipe, you know what a pain that can be. If you are using a regular skillet, you need to worry about whether or not the handle will melt or if the whole thing will crack from the heat.

Unlike regular pots and pans or fancy specialty cookware, cast iron is no-nonsense, which means you don’t have to think about anything but your recipe and gathering everyone around the table.

5. Sentimental: Cast iron has been a mainstay in kitchens for generations. As a result, cast iron is often associated with warm, happy memories of delicious meals shared with close family and friends.

Perhaps you have fond memories from your childhood of delicious Sunday breakfasts at grandma’s house or of your mom’s favorite comfort foods hot from the oven. Or maybe you had the chance to hang a cast iron pot over an open fire before enjoying a hot bowl of chili or stew.

Whatever your personal memories of cast iron may be, chances are your own frequently used pieces will become a treasured part of your family’s history, which is truly something to love.

Be sure to come back for another recipe made in a cast iron pot!!

Image credit: Chefs…The Best Kitchens start Here

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes over Raspberry Sauce Topped with Almond Mocha Whipped Cream

Double Chocolate Cupcakes over Raspberry Sauce Topped with Almond Mocha Whipped Cream

Cupcakes

1 18.25-ounce box devil’s food cake mix

1 2.5-ounce jar baby food pureed prunes

1 cup strong coffee

3 large egg whites (see video below, how to separate egg whites from yolks)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Sauce

2 12-ounce packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot starch

Topping

2 teaspoons instant espresso

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup powdered sugar

2/3 cup sliced almonds, dry-roasted

Preheat the oven to 325°F

Place a medium metal mixing bowl with beaters into freezer.

Lightly spray two 12-cup muffin pans with an olive oil spray

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cupcake ingredients. Pour two tablespoons each per cupcake well in prepared muffin pan. Bake in oven 21 minutes or until center of cupcakes are done.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, stir together the raspberries, sugar, and starch until the starch is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes over Raspberry Sauce Topped with Almond Mocha Whipped Cream with CoffeeRemove the metal mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Attach the beaters to the hand mixer and pour the cold heavy cream into the cold mixing bowl. Beat on high until cream just starts to thicken. Stop beating and add powdered sugar and instant powdered espresso. Begin beating again until the add ingredients are mixed in well and the cream begins to form stiff peaks. Place whipped cream into refrigerator until ready to use.

For each serving, spread 2 tablespoon raspberry sauce on a dessert plate, top with a cupcake, spoon 2 tablespoons of whipped topping mixture over the cupcake, and sprinkle with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of sliced almonds.

Check out more Desserts by Splendid Recipes and More

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4 Commonly Asked Questions About Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

Whether you’re new to cast iron cooking or have been using your favorite pieces for years, chances are you may have a few questions about how to use and care for your cast iron.

Here are four common questions about cast iron cookware:

1. Question: I bought a new cast iron skillet and it says it’s “pre-seasoned” and “ready to use.” Is it really? I’ve heard so much about the proper seasoning of cast iron, this
just doesn’t seem right.

Answer: This is a tricky question two-part question which actually can be answered both “yes” and “no.”

Yes, you can cook in new “pre-seasoned” cast iron cookware without going through any seasoning process. However, it is not truly “ready to use.”

You should still rinse your new cast iron piece in hot water to remove any of the dust or dirt it picked up on the store shelf. Then, dry it completely by heating over a burner set to medium-high heat for about one minute. Once it is completely dry, allow your pan to cool before lightly coating with a good food-quality oil or fat with a high smoke point. Adding a light coat of oil after each use will help build up an even better patina on your pan surface over time.

2. Question: I had a really nice seasoning on my cast iron skillet, but now it seems to be peeling and chipping. What happened?

Answer: There are a few things that can cause this. The most common causes are washing your skillet with a harsh soap or letting it soak overnight in the sink. Both of these actions can soften the finish and cause it to peel off or disintegrate.

The recommended method for washing your cast iron is to give it a quick rinse in hot water, wipe with a paper towel, and dry thoroughly on a hot burner. This will maintain the cast iron patina.

Cooking highly acidic foods or using metal cooking utensils can also damage the patina on your cast iron pieces. For instance, if you are making something with a lot of tomatoes, you may see some distress or dulling on the finish. To combat the reaction that acidic foods have on the finish, be sure to cook other types of food in the same pan often.

Fortunately, if the patina is very well established, a little acid isn’t going to hurt it. It’s really in those first stages that you might have some pitting and softening. Just watch it closely and avoid acidic foods as much as possible in newly seasoned cookware.

3. Question: I recently pulled out my grandmother’s old cast iron skillet and noticed that rust had formed where the pots were stacked together. Is it ruined?

Answer: No, definitely not. While it can be discouraging to find rust on your favorite pieces of cast iron, it is not impossible to remove.

There are a lot of remedies out there, but the most natural methods for rust removal are often the best and safest. Simply sprinkle salt onto the area, cut a lemon in half, and rub the lemon over the salt. Let the cast iron sit out to dry, then rinse. Repeat the process to remove any remaining spots of rust.

The nice thing about this method is you are not going to hurt the pan, and you can repeat it as often as necessary. Be wary of any suggestions that a spray-on oven cleaner is the only remedy. A little salt and lemon will remove the rust without severely stripping whatever patina you have already built up.

4. Question: I really want to wash my cast iron cookware, but I keep hearing people say I should just wipe it out to keep the finish nice. Isn’t that just asking for trouble with germs?

Answer: In a perfect world, soap would never touch your cast iron cookware. However, there are times when a little mild dish soap on a sponge is needed. The key is to not overdo it with harsh detergents or abrasive surfaces so you don’t damage the patina.

If you’re worried about germs, soap and water isn’t the only solution. Heat your cast iron over high heat and add some oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat to just below the smoke point. Then, remove from the heat, let cool and wipe with a paper towel. No germs will survive through this process.

If you still want a water bath, add water to the cookware and bring it to a boil, then pour it out, and dry on a hot burner, wiping the cookware clean. If you absolutely must use soap, then do so sparingly. Wipe the cookware with a sponge (never a scrubber) and a dab of dish soap. Then, rinse and dry thoroughly. Be sure to brush on some oil or grease after each cleaning, regardless of what method you use.

Keep in mind, there are different methods to care for your cast iron cookware depending on the types of foods you cook in them. For example, if you cook a lot of chili or other acidic food, you may have to season your cast iron more often. If you use a skillet just to fry eggs and bacon, you can probably just wipe it out with a papertowel and you’ll be good to go.

With a little practice, you’ll know exactly what your cast iron needs to perform perfectly every time.

Come back later  and we will show you how to oven roast a whole chicken using a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet.


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Stuffed Meatloaf with Spinach Salami and Cheese

Stuffed Meatloaf with Spinach Salami and Cheese

1 lb. ground beef lean

½ lb. mild Italian sausage

1 cup bread crumbs, whole grain wheat

1 cup ParmesanRomano cheese

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

¼ cup milk

2 eggs

1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

25 fresh spinach leaves*

8-10 deli slices of turkey ham

8oz. pkg. salami

½ cup mixed cheddar/ jack cheese

1 cup ketchup

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan. In a large bowl, mix first 8 ingredients together.

On wax paper, pat mixture to form an 8 x 12 inch rectangle; ½ inch thick. Next cover the meat mixture with 4-5 slices of ham. Layer the ham with spinach, cheese and salami. Repeat layer one more time.

Roll the mixture, like jellyroll fashion; starting at the narrow 8 inch end; left the wax paper to help shape the roll. Once rolled, seal the edges. This will prevent melted cheese from spilling out while cooking.

Place rolled loaf, seam side up into prepared baking pan. Cover with tin foil loosely to prevent over browning; and bake about 30 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove foil and top loaf with ketchup. Return to oven and bake an additional 7 to 10 minutes.

*If you wish, you can substitute fresh spinach with 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach (cooked and drained).

 

Here’s What Others are Saying about Meatloaf

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Enjoy the Supper Bowl with Splendid Recipes

The Super Bowl is just one week away. So you have plenty of time to get down to your local market and stock up on the foods you will need for your Super Bowl Party.

I am sure you have some ideas and there are lots of ideas all over the Internet. Here are a few ideas from Splendid Recipes:

This is a great way to receive your guests and keep their appetite’s at bay while they wait for the more hardy party food favorites…just have a bowl of corn chips and a bowl of Shrimp and Mango Salsa.

Shrimp and Mango Salsa Shrimp and Mango Salsa

1 lb. cooked shrimp meat

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups mango salsa

1 bag corn chips

Heat oil in pan, add shrimp and cook until shrimp turn light orange.

Mango Salsa:

3 large mangos, peeled and cut into ¼ inch squares

1 red onion, chopped

5 limes, juiced

1½ tbsp.  Asian hot sauce

2 jalapeno pepper, chopped

1½tbsp.  Cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp.  Fresh ginger, chopped

Salt to taste

In a large mixing bowl combine the mangos, red onions, jalapenos, cilantro and ginger. Next add the Asian hot sauce, lime juice, sugar and salt to the mixture. Mix together well. Combine shrimp and mango salsa in a large bowl and mix well. Allow mixture to chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Serve with corn chips.

What’s a party without finger foods? Will here’s some great ideas and finger licking good too.

 

Brown Sugar Finger Wings

 Brown Sugar Finger Wings

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp. ginger, fresh and finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 lbs. chicken wings, petite style

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan and position wings in pan. Pour brown sugar mixture over wings. Mix chicken around to coat. Bake in heated oven for 1 ¾ – 2 hours, until tender and glazed; stirring occasionally.

Raspberry Chicken Wings

Raspberry Chicken Wings                             

 

1 ½ cups seedless raspberry jam

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 ½ tsp. crushed red pepper

1 (5 lb.) pkg. frozen chicken wings, thawed

Preheat oven to 400F.

Line a 13×9-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a small saucepan, combine jam, vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper over medium heat. Stir until smooth. In a large bowl, toss chicken wings with half of the jam mixture. Place on the baking sheet and bake 50 minutes. Brush wings with remaining jam mixture and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside and outside is glazed. Serve hot.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

1 lb. green beans, fresh and ends snipped

16 oz. bacon, hardwood smoked with maple flavoring

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup butter (2 sticks), melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix brown sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.

Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan.

Cut raw bacon strips in half. Roll 3-4 green beans in bacon. Continue to roll beans until baking dish is full. Pour brown sugar mixture over wrapped beans. Place in oven 30 minutes or until bacon is done.

Don’t forget while you’re at the market getting the ingredients for these great supper bowl snacks to napkins as well.

Enjoy the Supper Bowl with Splendid Recipes!!

View video for Bacon Wrapped Green Beans and Brown Sugar Finger Wings recipes

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Using Ceramic Cookware

cooking-with-ceramic

This is a posted article at our web-site Savor the Food and Your health .

Non stick ceramic cookware uses a non-stick technology that is a healthier choice over traditional petroleum-based non-stick surfaces. The Ceramic coating is applied at a lower temperature than conventional non-sticks and is free of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used in the manufacture of Teflon and other non-stick surfaces.

 Teflon Cookware is Safe, Experts Say
–Teflon has the petroleum-based polytetrafluoroethylene and perfluorooctanoic acid, but yet the manufacture stands by their product as safe to cook with.–
According to DuPont, the finished product of Teflon does not contain any of the production-process chemicals linked to health problems in factory workers. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that ingesting small particles of Teflon flaked off into food is not known to cause any health maladies.
Even so, would you want something in your food that you did not intend for or was not an ingredient in your recipe?
They go on to say: With proper use and care, such pots and pan—which constitute more than half of all cookware sales in the U.S.—should be safe to use for years to come.
I don’t know how you feel, but should be safe…has a different meaning than is safe to use. Should be safe leaves a question mark.
In 2004, DuPont agreed to pay up to $343 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that PFOA, used in the manufacture of Teflon at a certain plant, had contaminated drinking water nearby.
In 2006, pots and pans with this special coating (Teflon is the best-known version) constituted 90 percent of all aluminum cookware sold, according to industry numbers. Yet despite nonstick advantages (its surface makes cleanup easy and also allows cooks to use less oil and butter), it has come under fire in recent years over concerns about toxic chemical emissions
The EPA has reached an agreement with eight companies, including DuPont, to phase out the use of PFOA completely by 2015.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute put three pieces of non stick cookware to the test: a cheap, lightweight pan (weighing just 1 lb., 3 oz.); a mid-weight pan (2 lbs., 1 oz.); and a high-end, heavier pan (2 lbs., 9 oz.). They cooked five dishes at different temperatures on a burner that’s typical in most homes. The results: Even they were surprised by how quickly some of the pans got way too hot.
This statement: different temperatures on a burner that’s typical in most homes. What is typical in most homes? When I was growing up a gas range was what my mother used. But when I got married and bought my first home, we had an electoral range oven. I found gas heats faster than electoral ranges. Is that your opinion?
At 680 degrees Fahrenheit, Teflon releases at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization.
Maybe you won’t cook your stove top food that high. But did you know at the moment you pass your food from pan to plate, the pan is hotter than the food? If your frying chicken and you have done so to an internal temperature of 165 degrees (the chicken meat) the pan is from 100 to 250 degrees hotter. I don’t know if I would want a pan that as the ability to kill me with a toxic gas.
Most non stick manufacturers, including DuPont, now advise consumers not to go above medium. (DuPont maintains, however, that Teflon does not pose any health risks, and that its guideline is simply meant to maximize the life of the product.)
But how hot is medium? Since the range top gas or electric is not calibrated like your oven, every stove that you set at medium will be different degrees.
So for now it seems that non stick ceramic cookware is the better choice for healthy cooking. Keep in mind that non stick ceramic cookware was used years, many years ago for cooking before stainless steel or these petroleum based non-stick pans came along.

 

Read more: http://www.savorthefood.com/2013/10/07/non-stick-ceramic-cookware-versus-non-stick-teflon/#ixzz2r3vTwIwe

Read What Other’s are Saying About Ceramic Cookware or non-stick

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Crepes with Sour Cream and Orange Marmalade

Crepes with Sour Cream & Orange Marmalade

This appealing and appetizing recipe has lots of protein in it with four eggs. Each egg contains about 21 grams of protein if it is a medium egg. The whole milk provides another 8 grams and the marmalade has no protein in it.

Thou it does have 13 grams of carbohydrates, and that is about 5% of your daily need based on a 2000 calorie diet. The right protein, such as eggs have will make us fell full and we will not eat other fatty sugary foods later.

 

Here is what you will need:

crepes ingredients

To fill the crepes and top them…you will need:

crepes filling and topping

Use whole fat sour cream. The low fat or non-fat is too runny. And you don’t want your crepes running away before you can eat them. As the whole fat sour cream is thick you can use a little milk or cream to help thin it out some.

For the marmalade depending on how many people you will be making crepes for, 1 10 oz. jar may not be enough. So use 2 – 10 oz. jars. To warm the jam, empty the jar of jam into a small pot and warm it, making sure not to scorch the pot or burn the jam.

Another option is to heat some water to boiling point in a small sauce pan and place the jar of jam into the hot water. Remove the lid before putting the jar into the water. Turn off burner. While you are preparing the crepes, the jam will be warming to liquid form.

As stated in an image above you can replace butter with coconut oil. Place the two tablespoons for about thirty seconds in a microwave to liquefy the oil. As it is a hard substance. Beat the four eggs and then pour in the coconut oil and mix in well.

mixing coconut oil with eggs for crepe batter

Next in a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, milk and eggs and whisk well. You should have about 3 cups of crepe batter.

crepe batter three cups

Next lightly grease with some olive oil a medium size frying pan (crepe pan if you happen to have one) on medium-high heat. Pour 6 tbsp. of batter onto pan and grab the pan by the handle and swirl the pan until the batter is spread out thin.

If you get the batter spread out thin enough, it will cook through. No need to turn crepe like you do with pancakes. Allow to cook 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.

allow crepe cook through

Notice how the outer edges of the crepe are cooked and center still needs a few seconds to be cooked all the way through. Once done crepe will slide right out onto a plate.

Spoon out sour cream over center of crepe, about 2 to 3 tablespoons.

preparing crepes with sour cream

 

After spooning on sour cream roll crepes. Place two side by side. Pour some warm orange marmalade over top.

 

creppes with orange marmalade

These type of crepes stuffed with sour cream are known as “Continental Crepes”. If you wish you can enjoy some fried bacon and a cup of coffee with this dish. Two are very filling but your 3 cups of batter should make about 10 crepes which is 5 servings.

Crepes with Sour Cream and Orange Marmalade
4 eggs

1 1/3 cups milk

2 tbsp. butter, melted*

1 cup flour

2 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter (coconut oil), flour, sugar and salt until smooth. Heat a skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Grease pan with a small amount of olive oil. Apply with a brush or paper towel. Spoon 6 tablespoons of batter onto hot pan. Grab pan by the handle and tilt pan in a circular motion to let batter spread out. The crepe must be thin on pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes on one side only or until golden brown.

*optional: 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

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