If I were stuck on a deserted island there is one thing I wouldn't want to be without - my cast iron frying pan. Truly. I'm in love. I think it's the best $10 I ever spent. I first met my cast iron frying pan almost a decade ago at a garage sale. I had always wanted one and when I saw it all rusty with a tag for $10 hanging from the handle I was sold and in love. We were to be together forever. I brought it home, gently cleaned and seasoned it and gave it my love. The love fest continues as my pan has repaid me with thousands of glorious meals ever since.

I cook with my pan every day. Sometimes 2-3 times. I'm and egg girl so eggs in the morning are a must for breakfast in my home, and my pan cooks them so beautifully. I've gone through countless non-stick crappy pans in my time. But my Cast Iron baby works for me every time.

It's great for cooking breakfast, whether it be sausages, omelets, eggs sunny side up, fried potatoes, pancakes, french toast. Or how about a frittata?  Just mix it up and then bake it in the oven.

I think that's why I would want it on the deserted island. It can withstand so much. It's near impossible to break. You don't need soap to wash it. It can withstand very high temperatures. It's amazing.

But it's not just for breakfast. I cook dinner in it most nights. A few years ago there were a lot of storms where we live and we ended up being without power for 10 days. Honestly, I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have my handy skillet. I was able to feed my family with the skillet and the wood stove for ten days. It made those ten days tolerable. We felt like we were camping for the first three, then we all just got grumpy. But we ate extremely well.

I've roasted whole chickens and beef roasts with it. I make my spaghetti sauce in it. Bake apple cobbler. You can knock a burglar out cold with one or keep an errant husband in line. So many uses. And clean up is a breeze. No soap, just hot water. A quick scrub and we're done. The less work I have to do the better. There's that lazy streak again. Seriously, they are a wonderful investment and they last a lifetime.

So if you don't have one, you don't know what you're missing. And if you do have one and think it's only for camping get to know it better!

Since we've been talking food and packaged food in particular in my past few posts and since I am feeling all warm and fuzzy about my cast iron frying pan I'm going to share my spaghetti sauce recipe. It took me a long time to find this recipe. Its simple. Cheap. Good for you and tastes great. When I say to my family that I'm making pasta they smile. They all love it. Its like comfort food. I've even served it to guests for a casual get together. It fail proof.

Rambling Spaghetti Sauce (Marinara)

1 Big honking can of crushed tomatoes (look at the ingredients)
1 med onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery, finely diced
2 garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 Bay leaf

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Saute onion, carrot, celery and garlic in oil for a couple of minutes. Stirring constantly. Add crushed tomatoes. Put some water in the can (about 1/2) and swish around to get all of the tomato and pour into pan. Stir to combine. Add bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer for 25 mins.

After 25 mins or so put on water for pasta, while the sauce continues to simmer away. Cook pasta according to directions. Just before pasta is cooked add two ladles of the pasta water to the sauce and stir to combine. Remove bay leaf. Salt and Pepper to taste. It's ready to go.

Serve your pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If I'm feeling fancy i garnish it with some fresh chopped parsley. It looks beautiful. Molto delizioso.

For a meat sauce (yum) brown 1lb of ground beef or ground turkey in pan. Strain. Wipe out pan and continue with the above recipe adding the drained ground meat to the sauce before adding the crushed tomato.

That's the basic recipe. You can add mushrooms or olives which are great they add this wonderful saltiness to the sauce. Some spinach thrown in just before serving is good too for some added color as well as beta carotene and vitamin B's.

Can't get any easier than that. Homemade. Simple. Tasty. Cheap.

I hope you like it!



Deborah Michalski
08/12/2011 1:23pm

Oh I thought was alone in panlove. I have a passionate relationship with my special edition Le Cruset!!! It's also cast iron with enamel over. If I could only have one. This would be it!!! Got it second hand for 35.00. What an amazing piece of cookware Haha love everything you wrote. So glad you've decided to blog!!!!
Hugs. Deb xoxo


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