cast iron.jpgI’ve mentioned before how much I love a meal that can be made in one pan or pot. Of course one of the main reasons is because they are usually easy to make, but they are also easy to clean up too.

Today I’ll be giving you some great recipes that are made in cast iron pans. Cast iron pans have a lot of benefits such as being versatile. You can use them on the stove top, in the oven, on a BBQ grill or sideburner, or even over a firepit. Cast iron is also sturdy and durable (it’s been around for thousands of years), is non stick and is easy to clean after use.

You can find cast iron pans, pots and even grill or griddle style cookware. Some cookware pieces may seem expensive, but if you take into consideration the amount of times you buy new pots and pans over your lifetime, they are actually very reasonable. Cast iron can last a lifetime when taken care of properly.

Breakfast

Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, but I also think it’s one of the most delicious too. At my house we sometimes even do breakfast for dinner which is always welcomed with enthusiasm from my boys. Breakfast for dinner is perfect for those days when I’m too tired to go grocery shopping after a long day. We seem to at least always have the ingredients for pancakes and cheese omelettes.

I have been dying to try making German pancakes (AKA Dutch babys). I have yet to meet someone who does not love pancakes and I know my boys would love these. You can make them more of a meal by adding some fresh seasonal berries, which will be at all your local fruit stands and farmer’s markets very soon, and you can’t forget some freshly whipped cream.

Thanks @rachaelrayshow.com for Melissa Clark’s recipe for a Dutch baby.

Melissa Clark’s German Pancake (Dutch Baby)

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Ingredients:
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used more, plus some for garnish)
A pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Confectioners sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, granulated sugar, nutmeg and salt until combined. The mixture will still have some lumps and that’s a good thing.

In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, lower the heat slightly and allow the butter to brown – you’ll see the golden flecks in it when it has. Watch carefully – it’s hard to miss against the cast-iron and you don’t want it blackened. That has its merits, but not here.

Carefully pour the pancake batter into the skillet and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the pancake is golden brown around the edges and puffed, 15-20 minutes.

Working quickly, take the skillet out of the oven and, using a fine-mesh sieve, shake the confectioner’ sugar over the pancake.

Splash the lemon juice over the pancake, cut into wedges and serve immediately

Firepit fun

I recently tried s’mores dip, and I am usually more of a savoury person, but let me tell you it’s delicious. It was actually a little nostalgic for me as well, I was quickly reminded of summers spent camping. I did some research online and most of the recipes I found seemed very similar, but this one from @fivehearthome.com looks amazing. I was wishing I had marshmallows in my cupboard to make this sweet treat.

S’mores Dip

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Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or a combo)
15 jumbo marshmallows, halved
Graham cracker squares

 

Directions

 

Adjust rack to center position of oven and place 8-inch cast iron skillet on rack. Preheat oven to 450°F with skillet inside.

Once oven is preheated, use a pot holder to remove hot skillet from the oven. Place pat of butter in the skillet and use a pot holder to hold the handle and swirl the skillet so that the melted butter coats the bottom and sides.

Pour chocolate chips in an even layer into the bottom of the skillet.

Taking care not to burn fingers on the sides of the skillet, arrange marshmallow halves over the surface of the chocolate chips, covering the chocolate completely.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted to your preference (watch closely!). Use an oven mitt to remove the skillet from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with graham cracker squares or sticks…but be careful, because the dip (and the skillet) will be very hot!

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I’m thinking that this dip would be great heated over a campfire too. Since we are almost at campfire ban season, another great alternative is a propane firepit. This Outdoor Fire Pit is built with heavy duty metal and is also a great centerpiece for entertaining over summer too. Your kids will also love being able to make a roasted marshmallow for dessert on the regular.

Dessert

Since I seem to have a sweet tooth today, I’ll finish with this recipe for Peach Cobbler from myrecipes.com. It’s also the perfect recipe for summer/peach season. My youngest son loves summer, I think mostly for the variety of fruits and berries. Peaches and nectarines are one of his favourites, in fact we found some organic peaches today and bought one to give it a try.

Skillet Peach Cobbler

 

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Ingredients:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 ripe but firm peaches, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds, optional
Vanilla ice cream, optional

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Make filling: Melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a 10 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add peaches and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved and peaches are soft and most of their liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove skillet from heat.

Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and remaining 13 Tbsp. butter in a food processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running, add milk and vanilla, and process just until a rough dough forms.

Drop spoonfuls of topping over warm peaches and sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Bake until topping is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve warm, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

What are you going to make this weekend with your cast iron pan? You can start with a saturday morning pancake, make a peach cobbler, invite some friends over for coffee and have a lazy sunday, and somewhere in between fit in an evening s’mores treat. It will definitely be a sugary and sweet weekend, but it sure sounds great to me.

Check out bestbuy.ca for some amazing cast iron cookware.