cooking with cast iron


Today I thought it would be fun to share with you what I cook when I use my cast iron skillets. It’s Saturday, so I have a little more time to put into cooking. This is not necessarily a recipe post, although I do share how I make these meals. The point of this post is to show you how easy cast iron cooking can be. Read more for a day of cast iron cooking.

As I mentioned in my last post about cast iron care: how to clean your cast iron cookware, I’m not a long-time user of cast iron cookware, but I am becoming more of a fan each time I cook in one. I do have other pots and pans that I use, and of course for crockpot meals I use my crockpot, but I have been turning more and more to cast iron for our meals. I’ll explain why in more detail throughout this post.

Cooking with Cast Iron

First things first, I am going to tell you a big secret. I don’t cook every meal from scratch. In fact, most of my meals are not made from scratch. In fact, I don’t really like cooking, there I said it. I feel better getting that out. Actually, there are times I do enjoy cooking but for the most part I don’t want to be tied to the kitchen all day. I’ve got four kids and lots of other things I would rather be doing.

I think this is a reason why it has taken me so long to come around to cast iron. I had this vison in my head that you could only use cast iron if you were a real life pioneer, make everything from scratch and don’t feed your kids junk kind of person. It’s an all or nothing mind set and I really struggle with that.

In fact, there are things that I do, and products I buy, that are considered heathy, but I also do and buy things for my family that some people would consider unhealthy. We eat a lot of fruits and vegetables (in fact, we just planted a handful of fruit trees in our backyard garden last year) but we also eat a lot of processed food. If it tastes good we’re probably going to eat it. One of my darkest secrets is that I sometimes let my kids drink soda. Shh, don’t tell anyone. I let my kids spend way too much time on electronic devices but they also get a lot of outside time. That’s ok, life is about finding balance and finding what works for your family.

The main point I hope you take from this post is that it’s okay to do what works for you and you shouldn’t feel like less of a parent or spouse because of it. As moms, especially, we have so many expectations that we put on ourselves. We think we have to do it all. I honestly think social media has made this problem worse and created so much anxiety for moms these days.

Anyway, back to my post.

Cooking breakfast with a cast iron skillet

iced cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet next to a mug and teal towel
Cinnamon rolls in my cast iron skillet

I’m going to share with you my secret ingredient I use for breakfast.

women holding two cans of cinnamon rolls

I have never made cinnamon rolls from scratch, I don’t really have a desire to do that. One time I did make bread and it turned out pretty good but I haven’t made any since, I’m going to blame that on the kids for now.  These canned cinnamon rolls are pretty good that I get from Aldi.  I used to put them on a baking sheet which baked them just fine and they tasted ok.

One morning I decided to try them in my cast iron skillet and they came out looking more golden. One difference I really noticed were the bottoms were more golden brown. They say cast iron retains heat better than other cookware so maybe that has something to do with it.

I just placed the rolls in the skillet and baked according to the directions on the package. Then, I topped them with the icing. I also patted out some pork sausage and cooked them in another cast iron skillet.

That’s all we had for breakfast. Tasty and simple.

Cooking lunch with a cast iron skillet

potatoes and fried rice on a white plate
Veggie stir fry with fried potatoes

This lunch is one of my favorite meals. I love Chinese food because it’s quick and easy.

I start by heating up the skillet, then adding butter. I had some five minute white rice that I cooked, so now I’ll add that to the skillet. While you wait for the rice to sauté, go ahead and scramble some eggs in another skillet. You can cook scrambled eggs in cast iron or even in the same skillet with the rice, but I choose to cook them separately. I did not use a cast iron skillet to cook the eggs because I don’t have another small cast iron skillet available. I was also frying potatoes with the other cast iron skillet at this time.

After the rice has fried a little bit, I add the scrambled eggs, mixed vegetables, and whatever sauce I am using. This time I used soy sauce and a General Tso’s stir fry sauce.

While all that was cooking I grabbed two potatoes from the fridge that we had baked the night before and cut those up. I like them cut into squares and just fried them in oil in a cast iron skillet.

Lunch was so easy and delicious!

Cooking dinner with a cast iron skillet

pork chop dinner with peas and macaroni and cheese
Pork chop dinner with peas and macaroni and cheese

I put a little more effort into dinner, but it still wasn’t very difficult. Again, I heated the cast iron skillet and added some butter. I added salt, pepper, and everything bagel seasoning to the raw pork before I put it into the hot skillet. This pork doesn’t need much seasoning, it’s amazing!

The pork I used for dinner came from our field. With the last group of pigs we had, two of them went into our freezer. Speaking of piggies, find out how you can turn a $75 feeder pig into a $1,000 hog.

With the pork cooking in the skillet, I started the macaroni and cheese in a sauce pan using the directions on the box. I cooked the peas last since they need the least amount of time to cook.

For the peas I put them in a sauce pan on low with salt and butter, did I mention we love butter.

You can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, or you can be like me and just keep flipping the pork until it looks crispy and brown, like the picture above.

Cooking meat is really where the cast iron shines. You cannot sear meat and get that yummy looking crust with any other skillet.

That’s a wrap

Three meals made with cast iron cookware. Since I knew I would be using my cast iron skillets for each meal I made for the day, I made sure to clean them each time I used them. Once they were clean I just left them sitting on the stove until I needed them again. The clean up was the hardest part of these meals. I don’t mind the cleanup. Shh, don’t tell Andrew, he’s been doing a lot more of the dishes these days and I don’t want that to change.

Thanks so much for reading! I really do appreciate it.