KEY LIME PIE with CARAMEL BLUEBERRY SAUCE

When I was a little girl my great aunt, Looney Louise, (okay we didn’t call her looney to her face, but it is what made her such fun) made a blueberry pudding cake with a tart lemon sauce that was out of this world!  When Ron asked me to review NuNatural’s products Aunt Louise’s recipe was the furthest thing from my mind.  After reviewing all the wonderful products that NuNaturals was gracious enough to send me and perusing the hundreds of recipes they also sent me, I settled on the blueberry cheesecake recipe.  The more I thought of blueberries, the more I thought of Louise and so I made the requisite recipe changes to make it my own and bring me close to the reverse of Looney Louise’s recipe.

Recipe aside, I have to say that every NuNatural’s product I tried is excellent.  I am a total convert!  I was forced years ago to give up any chemically altered sugars so only had full bodied sugar to live on.  NuNatural’s products are not chemically altered, but based on Stevia, a natural plant!

KEY LIME PIE with CARAMEL BLUEBERRY SAUCE

CRUST
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter
15 drops NuNatural’s liquid stevia extract

  • Crush about 12 graham crackers to make 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs.
  • Combine graham cracker crumbs, stevia extract and 6 tablespoons of melted butter in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom and sides, pressing it to make it firm.
  • Bake at 350° until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
  • Allow to cool completely before using.

FILLING
16 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup key lime juice
1 egg
1 teaspoon NuNatural’s white stevia powder

  • Using a mixer, mix the ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Don’t overdo it.
  • Pour the mixture into the sugar-free graham cracker crust, spreading evenly and bake at 350° until lightly browned (about 30 minutes).

SAUCE
2 cups fresh blueberries
5 tablespoons water, divided
Pinch of coarse kosher salt
4 teaspoons NuNatural’s white stevia powder
7 drops NuNatural’s liquid Vanilla stevia
2 tablespoons Hershey’s caramel sauce
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Combine berries, 1 tablespoon water, and coarse salt in medium saucepan.
  • Stir and mash over medium-low heat until reduced to sauce consistency, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Combine sugar, 4 tablespoons water, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in large saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  • Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, 9 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in blueberry sauce; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Cool sauce to room temperature.
  • Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

NOTE: I was not paid for this review, but did receive free products to try. All opinions are my own.  Their products are all natural, easy to convert and taste great!

BLUE APRON was a HUGE success!

THANK YOU again Carrie!  Loving my first Blue Apron box that came this past week.  Such pretty vegetables and all the fixings for  the 3 meals. They also included wonderful recipe directions that were really easy to follow. I cant wait to get my next box.

I let hubby choose the order we tried the recipes and he chose the Fontina Stuffed Pork Chops with a pepper sauce for our second meal. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed again! Definitely a meal we’ll have again. I did change a few techniques, but only for my own liking.  For example, they had you cutting the Fontina into small squares and I chose to slice them for better coverage inside the pork chop and to get some oozing out along the edge so there was a CRISP cheesy edge to the chop.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 12 of 2017

I hope you all had a wonderful week and weekend FULL of  blessings and fun with your family and friends. My week was full of doctor appointments and errands, but all and all worth it as we move closer to a diagnosis and health plan.  So far, I LOVE all my new doctors.  I see one more new one later today and have 2 more big tests later this week.  Once all the test results are on they can all get together with a plan of action to make me better.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

Last week was EXTREMELY pleasant and in the high 60’s with tons of sunshine and a cool breeze.  I don’t think this week will be the same as they are predicting mid 80’s and higher humidity.  So far this morning, not so bad, but we’ll see.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

I haven’t been very hungry in the mornings, but am trying to keep with the menu plan.  This morning is peach yogurt and coffee.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

I’m pretty happy with it.  With spring approaching I am having to vacuum daily LOL as the black lab just doesn’t want to wear his winter coat any longer, not that we had a winter to begin with.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • Dr. appointments
  • Vacuuming
  • Laundry
  • EBAY
  • Paint touch up in  few places
  • Grout touch up in a few places
  • Water Plants

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

Still trying a few of the newer shows.  I just can’t get a feeling for the new cable and TV scheduling and it leaves me a bit unsure of what I want to watch.  I’m still reading Jana Deleon books.  I’ve been intrigued by her Bayou mystery types.

KITCHEN REVIEWS

I LOVE my new Indigo True Bamboo cutting board.  I’d been looking for a smaller one (8×13) with a juice catch for resting and cutting meats so I didn’t need drag out my large Pampered chef one all the time.  THIS BOARD IS A DREAM! It is also the perfect size for small roasts and cuts of meat. PLUS it was on sale for half price!

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
ENSURE CLEAR
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
CORNED BEEF HASH and FRIED EGGS
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
C.O.R.N.
SOMETHING ON THE GRILL
SEAFOOD SALAD
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPES and their links FROM LAST WEEK

RECIPE FINDS TO TRY LATER

  • CHEESEBURGER LASAGNA
  • BBQ CHICKEN LASAGNA
  • SEAFOOD LASAGNA
  • CARAMEL BANANA CREAM PIE
  • BALSAMIC GLAZED CHICKEN

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

Portrait of a fresh and lovely woman with flowers

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

More on this eventually, but for now, this says it all. I’m really hurt and betrayed that I’m seeing a blood relative’s true colors ESPECIALLY after doing so much for them AND while I’m so sick.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

LOL Somehow I let the battery run down on the camera so this category is empty this week.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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CROCK POT BUFFALO CHICKEN

My favorite slow cooker took a dive this past week so I ordered a new one and I love it!! My old one was great, it was a west bend with a non-stick surface and griddle base, but was a bit limiting when trying to make say a pot roast.  I did a bit of research and found this one:

It’s only 3.5 quart and has latches for carrying making it perfect for pot lucks AND is the perfect size for two!  It came with a little recipe book and since I woke up with a cold I did a little juggling on my menu and made this recipe.  Because I felt so bad I adjusted it to what I had on hand, which included “GASP” canned soup and I hate to admit it was YUMMY

I will make a few additions next time, and there WILL BE a next time, and I will adjust for “REAL” soup base as well as serve it over mashed potatoes instead of the noodles for our personal preference.

CROCK POT BUFFALO CHICKEN
1 can Cream of chicken soup or 1 batch real soup base
1/4 cup bleu cheese or ranch dressing (I used Ken’s Sweet Vidalia Onion)
1/4 cup Cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank’s original hot pepper sauce)
1 stalk celery, sliced
+1 small onion, chopped
+1 carrot, chopped
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack (I used half jack, half medium cheddar)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 batch of your favorite mashed potatoes

  • Whisk together the soup, dressing and hot sauce.
  • Fold in carrots, celery, onions and half the cheese.
  • Spread into crock pot base and layer chicken pieces in a single layer.
  • Cover and cook on low 6 hours.
  • With 2 forks, shred the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  • Add remaining cheese and stir well.
  • Serve over prepared mashed potatoes.
  • Enjoy!

NEW LIFE to an old KITCHENAID

Back in 1994 we lived in Northridge, California. On January 16, 1994 I spent the day setting up banquet tables in my dining room and living room so I could empty out EVERY kitchen cabinet and drawer of dishes, food (including 6 dozen freshly made jars of jam) and cooking utensils onto those tables to prepare for a complete kitchen overhaul.  It was a tough job and in all honesty some things were stacked a bit precariously, but I made it ALL fit onto the tables.

After I accomplished that tiresome job I removed all the cabinet doors and had them stacked and ready for stripping and painting the next day.  I was exhausted, but I was ready for the next day full of painting. Or so I thought.

What I didn’t know when I planned that project was that the 6.9 Northridge earthquake was going to strike at 4:31 the next morning, only a few short hours after I called it a day from the prep work for the kitchen the previous day.  Long story short we lost 95% of EVERYTHING in the house and garage including my car.

It took a FULL month plus to pick up, bag up, box up and haul everything out to the curb to throw away the broken pieces of our life including furniture, walls and the jam mashed into the carpet.  We had no food except what was in the freezer.  We had a 2 week long block party with the neighbors all taking turns at cooking on BBQ’s in the street.   No electricity, no stores, no banks, no phones (the days before everyone having a cell phone)… life came to a grinding halt.

But, when the dust had settled, the insurance inventories had been submitted, insurance checks began to arrive and when we had caught our breath we began rebuilding.

One of the first things I bought was a new mixer.  I had decided that I was going to splurge and so I bought a top of the line (for the time) 6 qt. professional Kitchenaid.  At the time you couldn’t get all the designer colors so I got a simple white.

In early 2007 I couldn’t stand how it looked after so many years of use, but it is a work horse and I love it so I decided to paint it.  No since in spending money just for a prettier mixer so I chose a hammered copper paint which was popular for the time. 

Now, lmost 10 years later it was time again.  This time I chose a teal color to keep with the color theme I have chosen for this house.  Teal is my new favorite color since it’s the awareness color for Ovarian Cancer.  A day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank God for surviving Ovarian Cancer so choosing the teal is a happy reminder that I’m here and healthy. I got a little carried away and started painted a lot of things.

 Of course it began to thunder and sprinkle then rain so I had to move everything inside to finish drying.

All finished! A great 22 1/2 year old KitchenAid professional workhorse in a new custom color.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
Remember last week when I said, “It looks so pretty with big fluffy clouds and sunny skies.  You would think it was spring.  Then I opened the door and the 90 degree heat and 70% humidity hit me like a frying pan in the face”?  Well, DITTO this week!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
A scrambled egg with a slice of toast and homemade jam.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE & YARD
As always I see a mess, but at least it is a mess because of ALL the work we are getting done. Last week we did get the shower door installed.  It was an odd size and hard to find, but at least that project is FINALLY done. I will do a house update post in a couple days.

I also got the front flower bed well saturated, the Lantana trained and trimmed,  the roses well groomed, food for all the flowering plants and the weeds pulled.  I also got gram’s Magnolia tree deep root watered as well as Beth’s Palm tree.  These trees are all that remains from family!

We did get some basic plans for the back yard drawn up, but that is going to be a real bear and may wait until fall.  We need to install a French drain to keep the garage from flooding every time it rains and a massive flower box around the Magnolia tree to keep any more soil from eroding. Unfortunately, this will also require fencing work to move the gate since the tree has grown so large.

TO DO FOR THE WEEK/HOUSE PROJECTS
We have decided to hire a contractor (assuming his prices are acceptable) to do a couple projects just because we are getting so tired!  We still need to re-texture the kitchen ceiling, hang the new front door and jamb on the “OLD” house so you know that will go smoothly she said sarcastically and fix the living room wall crack that is easy, but messy and time consuming.

  • Sort through another dozen totes of potential ebay sales items. I have decided that most things just aren’t worth the time and effort so will be donating tons more items and probably extending the minimizing project yet another month. We are at over 4000 items in the last 80 days though!
  • MORE caulking on the molding.  It really sucks doing the whole house at once.  Seems like that the projects are NEVER done, especially when you need multiple coats to do in each room!

CURRENTLY READING

TELEVISION / DVR / MOVIES
TV hasn’t been real exciting, but there are 3 movies coming out this week on Redbox that we want to see:

CRAFTS & PROJECTS
I am hoping to start a few projects, but I have my doubts LOL. The time just seems to go too fast these days.  A lot will depend on whether we hire the contractor for the other projects.

KITCHEN WISHES
I used a couple of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons and bought a 10 inch Red Copper pan and a 12.5 inch Gotham Steel copper pan to compare against each other.  If I like them then I am going to buy the square Copper Chef pan set from Tristar. I will do a review later in the week.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK


MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
CEREAL & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
CEREAL & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
PANCAKES & BACON
TOASTED FRENCH TOAST
LUNCH
OUT
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
SOUP & CRACKERS
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
C.O.R.N.
FRENCH ONION SALISBURY STEAK
C.O.R.N.
MEATBALLS MARINARA


JOE BOOKER STEW
CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA
POT ROAST & VEGGIES
DESSERT







SUCCESSFUL RECIPES and their links FROM LAST WEEK

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

CINNAMON PECAN BRITTLE
BANANA BEIGNETS

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

RUSTIC GARLIC JALAPENO CHICKEN & GRAVY

I love this recipe! It is so simple and is a fantastic recipe for company. I LOVE FRESH herbs, but let’s face it with just 2 of us it is difficult to buy them in small enough quantities that they don’t go bad before I use them all and some just aren’t available the way I want them.  I WILL GET MY HERB GARDEN GOING eventually.  In the meantime I’ve been using LITEHOUSE freeze dried herbs and they are really good.

RUSTIC GARLIC JALAPENO CHICKEN & GRAVY
2 tablespoons avocado oil
6-8 chicken thighs
1 head of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Litehouse Freeze dried Red Jalapenos
1 tablespoons Litehouse Freeze Dried Chives
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
3/4 cup white moscato wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Add chives and jalapenos to the chicken broth so they can reconstitute. Set aside.
  • Heat the avocado oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. 
  • Pat dry the chicken thighs and brown in oil for about 8-10 minutes, turning regularly until well browned.
  • Remove chicken to plate and reduce heat to medium.
  • Add garlic and saute’ until it begins to brown.
  • Add flour and whisk until smooth.
  • Add chicken pieces back, cover and bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove skillet from oven and return to the burner.  CAREFUL it will be hot!
  • Remove chicken pieces to plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Add in wine and whisk until smooth.
  • Whisk in chicken broth, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens.
  • Turn off heat and add butter, whisking until smooth.
  • Add chicken pieces back into skillet and coat well with sauce.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles, spooning sauce over top.

VAMPIRE SLAYER MAC & CHEESE

I’m a BIG believer in buying local.  I also love when we move to a new area and there are so many new things to try.  My newest favorite is FACE ROCK CREAMERY cheese based out of Bandon, Oregon a quaint little seaside town that we visited not to long ago when our son and DIL were visiting.  I’ll add a few of those pictures after the recipe.  I tried a sample of FACE ROCK CREAMERY Jack cheese at Costco the other day and fell in love with their smooth and creamy cheese.  On a whim I bought their Vampire Slayer Garlic Cheddar and found a new favorite way to make an old comfort food on a cold and cloudy night.

Tonight because it is cold, foggy and miserable, I served it with left over Wagon Wheel Soup for a rib sticking good meal.

VAMPIRE SLAYER MAC & CHEESE
1 1/2 cups dried macaroni (elbows or shells)
3/4 cup heavy cream**
2 tablespoons butter
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound or 2 cups shredded FACE ROCK VAMPIRE SLAYER garlic cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350˚.
  • Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Drain well.
  • Using the same pan, melt butter and add cream until smooth.
  • Add cheese a few pieces at a time, stirring until well blended.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fold in pasta.
  • Pour into casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle with crispy onions or Garlic Croutons if desired.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until heated through and golden on top.

**I found I was out of heavy cream, but wait, there is a substitute using what you have on hand.
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon Wondra flour (this can be omitted if using whole milk)

  • In a small saucepan melt butter.
  • Whisk in Wondra until golden.
  • Add milk gradually, whisking until well blended and starts to thicken slightly.

COLD, BUT CLEAR JANUARY TRIP TO THE BANDON, OREGON COAST

CHRISTMAS TOYS PRODUCT REVIEWS

I received a few new kitchen “toys” this Christmas and have finally gotten around to trying some of them out.

Today’s pairing is the Cuisinart Stuffed Burger Press and the Ogreenic Griddle pan

I had been wanting to try stuffed burgers for quite some time and even tried doing them by hand a time or too with some success, but the Cuisinart Stuffed Burger Press made it A LOT easier.  The true test was in the cooking though.  They held together and tasted wonderful after being cooked on my new Ogreenic Griddle pan.  The key to success (in my opinion) was only turning them once and being patient enough to let each side cook evenly.  All the fat, but not the flavor just dripped away into the crevices of the griddle pan.

SMOTHERED TANGERINE CHICKEN

I bought too many tangerines for making applesauce.  I can’t possibly eat them all so needed to come up with a recipe or two to help use them.

One of my favorite “toys” from a product review a few years ago is the Deni MT149 Meat Tenderizer with 49 stainless steel blades. I had had a fantastic melt-in-your-mouth chicken recipe at my cousin’s house and she attributed it to her meat tenderizer so I had to get one an this one is PERFECT. Every piece of meat I have used this on whether it is beef, chicken or pork turns out fork tender and juicy.  I HIGHLY recommend this meat tenderizer to anyone who cooks!

SMOTHERED TANGERINE CHICKEN
4 thin chicken steaks
1 medium Vidalia sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 lemon, room temperature
3 tangerines, room temperature
1/2 pound bacon
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

  • Juice together the lemon and tangerines.
  • Use the meat tenderizer gently on each chicken piece.
  • Place chicken pieces in shallow baking dish.
  • Sprinkle chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper.
  • Pour juice over chicken pieces, turning to coat.  Set Aside for 30-45 minutes.

  • In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Add onion slices to the bacon grease, sauteing until translucent.
  • Move onions to the edges.
  • Drain chicken pieces.  
  • Add chicken pieces to the bacon grease, sprinkle with the brown sugar, cover and saute’ for 4-5 minutes per side until golden.
  • Plate chicken and immediately top with cheese.
  • Add crumbled bacon to the onions and mix well.
  • Top chicken with onion bacon mix and ENJOY!

PAN SEARED CHICKEN TENDERS & TRI-COLOR COUSCOUS with COCONUT LOBSTER SAUCE ~ MARX FOOD CHALLENGE

I ran across a MARX foods Recipe challenge – what fun!  I signed up and they sent me a box full of yumminess.  My box included tri-color couscous, coconut sugar, dehydrated lobster mushrooms, DeArbol chilies and Pasilla Negro Chilies.

The rules are that I had to use at least two ingredients from my box to create a new recipe.  I really wanted to try and use all five ingredients, but was only able to work in four of them.

Now for full disclosure. hubby hates mushrooms, especially cooked mushrooms.  He goes out of his way to avoid mushrooms.  He declared he would hate this recipe before its inception.  Seeing a pattern here?  I HAD to use the mushrooms just to prove him wrong, plus I LOVE mushrooms even more than he hates them.  This recipe is proof that you can mount your dislikes and change them with the right combination of ingredients.

PAN SEARED CHICKEN TENDERS & TRI-COLOR COUSCOUS with COCONUT LOBSTER SAUCE

2 pound chicken tenders
3/4 cup chardonnay
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons MARX coconut sugar
1 dried MARX Pasilla Negro Chilie, chopped
safflower oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
5-7 tablespoons heavy cream

  • Whisk together the chardonnay and chicken broth until well blended.
  • In a medium bowl combine mushroom pieces and chile pieces.  Pour the chardonnay mixture over the mushroom mixture.  Allow to set for 2-3 hours to rehydrate the mushrooms and chilies.  Stir them around every now and then so all surfaces are able to absorb the liquid.
  • When ready, drain mushrooms and chiles through a sieve, reserving the liquid.
  • Whisk coconut sugar into reserved liquid.  Set aside.
  • In a small food processor pulse mushroom and chile pieces into a fine grind.
  • In a medium sauce pan, melt butter.
  • Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until roux is a golden brown.
  • Gradually add the reserved liquid until well blended.
  • Add in the mushroom and chile pieces, stirring until well distributed.
  • Add cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.
  • Simmer gently while preparing couscous and chicken.
  • Coat a large skillet with safflower oil.
  • While oil is heating, wash and pat dry chicken pieces.
  • Pan sear chicken pieces, salt and peppering as needed until golden outside and cooked through.
  • Pour 1 cup of couscous in a large bowl.  Pour 1 ¼ cups boiling water over top.  Cover the bowl and let it sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork to separate the granules. 
  • Plate couscous in the in the center of serving platter.
  • Arrange chicken pieces around the couscous.
  • Spoon sauce over couscous and chicken.
  • Serve immediately.

By the way, hubby who was so dead sure this recipe would suck gave it 2 thumbs up and then proceeded to eat it 2 nights in a row.

Good Cast Iron really makes the best non-stick pan… and SMOTHERED CHOPPED STEAKS taste best made in that pan.

After a really good seasoning, these pans are awesome and produce super tasty recipes!  

How to Season Cast Iron Cookware


Cast iron lasts nearly forever if you take care of it. Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to ensure a non-stick surface and to prevent the pot or pan from rusting. If seasoned correctly your cookware can last a lifetime and more.
  1. For crusty cast ironware that you inherited or picked up at a garage sale: Your cookware may have some combination of rust and thick crackly black crud. It can be restored fairly easily to good as new condition! First place the cookware in a self-cleaning oven and run one cycle OR place in a campfire or directly on a hot charcoal fire for 1/2 hour, until dull red. The crust will be flaking, falling and turning to white ash. Then, after allowing to cool a bit to avoid cracking your cast iron,use the following steps. If you have more rust than crust, try using steel wool to sand it off.
  2. Wash your cast iron cookware with warm water and soap using a scouring pad. If you have purchased your cast iron cookware as new then it will be coated in oil or a similar coating to prevent rust. This will need to be removed before seasoning so this step is essential.
  3. Dry the cookware thoroughly, it helps to put the pan in the oven for a few minutes to make sure it’s really dry. Oil needs to be able to soak into the metal for a good seasoning and oil and water don’t mix.
  4. Coat the pot or pan inside and out with lard, Crisco, bacon fat, or corn oil. Ensure that the lid is also coated.
  5. Place both the lid and the pot or pan upside down in your oven at 300F for at least an hour to bake on a “seasoning” that protects the pan from rust and provides a stick-resistant surface.
  6. For best results repeat steps three, four and five.
  7. Ongoing care: Every time you wash your pan, you must season it. Place it on the stove and pour in about 3/4 tsp. corn oil or other cooking fat. Wad up a paper towel and spread the oil across the cooking surface, any bare iron surfaces, and the bottom of the pan. Turn on the burner and heat until smoke starts to appear. Cover pan and turn heat off.

Alternate Method
  1. First, if you find your cast iron needs to be stripped down and re-seasoned do not fear. All you have to do is place the utensil in your Self Cleaning Oven on the shortest cleaning cycle (usually 3 hrs. on most models), and it will come out looking like the day it came out of the mold. Allow it to cool overnight. Wash the residue off with WATER ONLY in the sink using a stiff abrasive pad. Make certain NO DISH SOAP comes in contact with the utensil during this procedure. If it does you will have to start over!!! Dry the cast iron utensil off with a paper towel, and IMMEDIATELY place BACK in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or so.
  2. Next, take the utensil out of the oven after the 10 minute drying time is complete, and lightly brush the utensil with a paper towel coated with Crisco or other solid cooking oil. Liquid vegetable oil will do in a pinch, but it’s better to save the liquids until AFTER your initial seasoning. It is important in this step only to lightly coat the cast iron with a light, thin coat of oil until it only glistens. Do not allow any puddles or pools of liquid as this will cause problems at a later time.
  3. Then, place the Cast Iron in the oven set to 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit with the COOKING SIDE FACING THE BOTTOM OF THE OVEN. This allows for any excess oil to drain off to the sides, and prevents pooling during the seasoning process. The higher heating temps allows for the oil to truly ‘cook’ as it should as opposed to just ‘gumming up’ at lower temps. Cook undisturbed for 1 hour.
Please note: During the previous step it will be best to turn off any smoke alarms in the immediate area as it may smoke quite a lot. Ceiling fans also aid in ventilation.
Finally, after your cast iron is finished seasoning for 1 hour or so, take it out of the oven and IMMEDIATELY wipe it down with another extra – light coat of Crisco. Allow it to completely cool.

TIPS

  • If food burns, just heat a little water in the pan, and scrape with a flat metal spatula. It may mean that re-seasoning is necessary.
  • If you’re washing the cast iron too aggressively (for instance with a scouring pad), you will regularly scrub off the seasoning. Wash more gently or repeat oven-seasoning method regularly.
  • If your pan develops a thick crust, you’re not washing it aggressively enough. Follow “crusty pan” instructions.
  • If storing your Cast Iron Dutch oven for any length of time, it is always best to place one or two paper towels in between the lid and the oven to allow for air flow.
  • Also, after cleaning after each use it is always best to place it back in the oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes or so to ensure all water has vaporized and left the surface of the cast iron.
WARNINGS
  •  Do not cook tomatoes and other acidic foods in your cast iron cookware unless it has been well seasoned.
  •  Washing pans with detergent after they have been seasoned will break down the seasoning. Either wash without detergent (if you’re cooking similar foods with the pan, this is fine) or repeatedly oven-season your cookware.

SMOTHERED CHOPPED STEAKS

2 pounds ground sirloin
1 sleeve Keebler club crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 Jumbo eggs
1 tablespoon liquid Smoke – MYSTERY ingredient
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped,
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
large shred cheddar cheese
  • Combine all the hamburger steak ingredients until well mixed. Form six steaks.
  • In a well seasoned cast iron grill, sear steaks on both sides.  About 4-5 minutes each side should leave you with medium steaks.
  • In a large skillet melt the butter. Saute the onions and garlic until fragrant and caramelized.
  • Top steaks with onions, tomatoes and cheese.