Beyond Skillets 4 Must Have Cast Iron Cookware Pieces

Beyond Skillets 4 Must Have Cast Iron Cookware Pieces

Cast iron skillets are so easy love. Whether inherited from a beloved grandmother, found at a bustling flea market, or purchased brand new, the origin of these durable and dependable skillets doesn’t really matter. Once one makes its way into your home, it will soon become a treasured kitchen staple.

Fortunately, the beauty of cast iron doesn’t end there. In fact, there are many affordable cast iron pieces available that are just as wonderful as your favorite skillet.

Here are four other great cast iron cookware pieces:

1. Dutch Oven – No kitchen is complete without a cast iron Dutch oven. There are many choices available, especially now with the increasing popularity of the enamel finishes. Although the colorful designer styles can be pricey, you can still find the simple ‘campfire’ or ‘raw’ varieties of cast iron at a very reasonable price.

Both the designer and raw styles work extremely well – after all, the quality is in the cast iron, not the color!

When you shop, choose a Dutch oven that is heavy, with sturdy handles, and a tight-fitting cast iron or heavy glass lid. A good cast iron Dutch oven can be used on top of the stove to make soups and stews or it can be used in the oven to make roasts and casseroles. You can even take a “raw” version on your next camping trip to whip up some delicious meals over your campfire.

Aside from your cast iron skillet, your Dutch oven will be among your most often used cookware pieces.

2. Grill/Griddle Combo – Although you may long for a stove with a built-in grill/griddle combination, it may not be a realistic option in the near future. However, you may be surprised to discover how easy and fun it is to cook with a cast iron version. Just heat up your cast iron griddle and you will feel like a short-order cook in no time!

Cast iron is so versatile, you’ll soon be frying up crispy bacon, golden brown pancakes, and perfectly done eggs without having to wash several pans or mess around with a bunch of specialty appliances. Plus, the grill side makes those nice grill marks that make everything you cook look so wonderful. For some reason, food that looks good seems to taste better, too.

3. Muffin and Loaf Pans – The best part of making cornbread in a cast iron skillet is the golden crust that forms around the outside of the pan. When you use cast iron muffin or loaf pans, you’ll end up with even more of that golden crusty goodness.

In addition, you can use cast iron muffin pans for all sorts of muffins and other individual serving size dishes, plus switching to cast iron loaf pans for bread results in consistently golden brown crusts with no scorched bottoms.

4. Fajita Serving Platters – To re-create that restaurant-style sizzle when your fajita or steak comes to the table, you can’t beat individual cast iron serving platters. Just heat the platters in a hot oven, and when your meal is ready to serve, carefully pull the platters from the oven and plate them up for that mouth-watering sizzle everyone loves.

You can also find sizzle platters with heat-resistant carriers so all you have to worry about is making enough food so you don’t run out when everyone asks for more!

Besides the fun restaurant-quality presentation you can achieve with these individual serving platters, they offer the added bonus of keeping your food warmer longer. This is a great idea when you’re cooking and serving outdoors. No more chilled plates on the picnic table, which makes sizzle platters both fun and practical.

A good set of cast iron skillets is a great starting point for every kitchen. But, once you get your basic skillets seasoned just right, isn’t it time to expand your horizons?

These four versatile pieces will open up a whole new world of cast iron cooking in no time. From roasts to soups to breads to the lazy weekend morning breakfast extravaganza, cast iron cookware does it all – and does it deliciously!

 

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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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