Saturday, April 13, 2013

SKILLET COOKERY--delicious ways to use a favorite kitchen essential--SKILLET RECIPES--Simple, Sweet, Savory, Soulful & Satisfying--plus a skillet folk tale!

I have several favorite dishes that I make with pork & onions. Pork chops fried with onions–make a wonderful gravy from the pan “drippings”–serve with rice or mashed potates, and you must add green beans. Boneless pork spareribs & big sliced onion browned in a big, deep, heavy skillet. When well-browned, add a generous amount of homemade BBQ sauce, set heat to low and cover. Cook on top of stove until meat is fork-tender and falls apart. Serve with buttery cornbread and “cheesey” mashed potates. Add green beans for “health & color”. Spareribs & Sauerkraut: Brown boneless pork spareribs in a large, deep skillet. When well-browned add one large can sauerkraut, one large chopped onion, one or two chopped apples, a generous amount of brown sugar, and a good sprinkle of caraway seeds. Add some water to the sauerkraut can, swirl it a bit, and then add the water to the skillet mixture. Stir carefully to combine. Set heat to low, cover pan, and cook until meat is fork-tender. If additional liquid is needed during cooking, add more water. For more flavor add apple juice–wonderful in cooked sauerkraut. Serve with buttery hot bread, boiled potatoes & green beans. 

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce 

1 cup honey; 1/2 cup molasses; two 8-oz. cans tomato sauce; 1/4 cup vinegar; 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce; 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 1 large sweet red onion, peeled and minced; 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a medium pan, start sauce by honey, molasses, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and peppers. In a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender and translucent, then add to the sauce and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 7 minutes.

Savory Southern-Style Green Beans & Potatoes

1/2 lb. bacon, uncooked, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups (approximately) of fresh or frozen cut green beans,
2 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, medium-diced
Chicken stock, to cover
1 tsp. sugar salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

If using fresh green beans, remove the ends and snap in half or cut; rinse and set aside. Add the bacon directly into a Dutch Oven and cook over low heat until it begins to brown. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. If using fresh or frozen beans, saute them in the cooked bacon and onion for a bit first, and then add the potatoes to the beans. Pour over enough chicken broth to cover. Add sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let them low for 20 minutes, or until potatoes and beans are tender.

Savory Beef Bake

In an oven-proof Dutch Oven, brown two pounds beef tips (or cubes of sirloin or top round steak) and one large sliced onion in a small amount of olive oil. Lightly season with salt, black pepper and garlic salt. Brown well over low heat, stirring now and then to keep from sticking. When beef is evenly browned, add one cup of water to hot pan to deglaze the juices and small brown bits. Stir in one 14 oz can of beef broth and one cup of good red wine. Add several bay leaves. Cover and bake at 350 F for at least one hour, until beef is fork-tender. Add more liquid (water, broth, or wine) as needed to keep meat from drying out. Remove bay leaves before serving.  

Guilty Pasta:

Boil one pound of spaghetti or linguine until "al dente" or almost done. Drain pasta well, return to pot and cover to keep warm. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, melt together over low heat 1 stick of real butter and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Toss in one pound cleaned, peeled, deveined medium shrimp and four smashed, peeled, chopped garlic cloves (or sprinkle liberally with California-style garlic salt, which contains dried parsley). Cook just until shrimp is nicely pink and done, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and combine until mixed well and pasta is coated with butter. Stir in two cups grated Parmesan cheese and mix well. If desired, add a touch of freshly grated black pepper. Serve immediately. Accompany pasta dish with a basic romaine, tomato, onion salad topped with a vinaigrette dressing, real bacon and chunky croutons. Add some hot, fresh Italian or French bread to wipe the plates! Serve with a very well-chilled white or blush wine. Later, much later, a dessert sampler tray with fruit, cheesecake, and lots of assorted wicked chocolates. Served with hot, rich coffee. Much, much the leftovers!!!


1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can pork & beans
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. steak sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Brown beef with onion and green pepper in a 12" skillet; drain. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Delicious as a main dish served with grilled Texas Toast. Leftovers make great hot dog chili.  

Savory Corn Cakes
1 cup yellow cornmeal;  1/2 cup all purpose flour;  1 teaspoon salt  3/4 teaspoon baking soda; 1/3 teaspoon ground pepper;  2 teaspoon sugar;  2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled;  1 large egg;  1 cup buttermilk;  1 cup fresh corn kernels (frozen or canned would also work);  1/4 cup diced scallions, white parts only (reserve tops for garnish); 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced;  1 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese;  2-3 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
garnish: sour cream, cooked crumbled bacon, finely sliced green onion tops, ripe tomato slices

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, pepper and sugar. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the melted butter, egg and buttermilk. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute the scallions, jalapeno and corn kernels until cooked through, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add the corn mixture to the bowl with the buttermilk. Stir in the Monterey Jack cheese. Add the contents of this bowl to the larger bowl with the flour mixture. Stir until the batter is just combined. Carefully wipe down the large skillet you used for the scallions with a damp paper towel. Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, swirling the oil around to coat the entire pan. Drop the batter onto the skillet 1/4 cup at a time, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side or until the cakes are golden brown. Add more olive oil between batches, if needed. Transfer finished cakes to a paper-towel lined plate and continue cooking the rest of the cakes. Serve warm, topped with sour cream, crumbled cooked bacon, finely sliced green onion tops, and ripe tomato slices.

Summer Squash Skillet
1 tablespoon olive oil; ½ cup chopped onion, yellow or red; 3 cloves garlic, finely minced; 3 medium zucchini, medium-sliced;  3 medium yellow squash, medium-sliced;  2-3 ripe yellow or red tomatoes, chopped; 1 teaspoon sugar; salt & pepper to taste; 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil until the onions being to turn translucent, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn, about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash, tossing well with the olive oil mixture. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking and stirring about 2 to 3 minutes until the zucchini and squash are tender and the tomatoes have softened. Toss the hot mixture with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Texas Skillet Cobbler

1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter; 1 can favorite fruit pie filling; 1/3 cup sugar;  1 1/2 cups self-rising flour; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup buttermilk

Melt butter over low heat in a 10-inch cast iron skillet; remove from heat. Spoon pie filling evenly over butter and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar. Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, and buttermilk in a bowl. Pour evenly over mixture in skillet. Bake in 350° oven for 25 minutes, or until browned. Leave skillet in oven after heat is turned off, until topping is crusty. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.


“Granny” Tate was an eccentric little country lady who lived off the beaten path and grew wonderful vegetables, fruit and flowers. She was wise in the ways of herbs and plants and also kept honey bees. She sold her wares at the local farmer’s market, but some who knew where she lived would just stop by her house and “go shopping”. Granny Tate also canned her produce and honey, and she usually made several quilts a year to sell. When the local sheriff started receiving calls from Granny about a prowler, he paid a duty call and told her it was probably a bear after the honeycombs. He had always thought that Granny took a nip now and then, and probably made her own “Mountain Dew”. Finally, she called and said that there was a dead man on her back porch, and she needed him removed. What the sheriff found was a live man with a large lump on his head, and one angry Granny. Southern women wield a mean skillet and rolling pin, and Granny was no exception. What made her so mad was that she had used her favorite old black cast iron skillet, which had become thin on the bottom from long-time use. When she whacked the prowler on the head, it broke her prized skillet! Everyone looked at Granny with new respect. The sheriff searched high and low until he found her a good used skillet…blackened and “seasoned” just right. In return, she sent him off with a basket of preserves and home-canned goods and a large chunk of honey-on-the-comb.

“Honey, you’ll love this coffee cake!”---One sweet way to use a skillet!


•2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
•1/2 cup light brown sugar
•1/2 cup honey
•2 large eggs
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•3/4 cup sour cream
•2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
•1 1/2 tsp baking powder


•1/2 cup all purpose flour
•3/4 cup light brown sugar
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•3/4 stick chilled butter, cut into 4 pieces
•1 cup chopped walnuts

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

For the cake: Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and honey and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in vanilla and sour cream. With a rubber spatula, fold in flour and baking powder until completely blended. Generously butter a cast iron skillet and spread the batter evenly in the pan.

For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and chilled butter with your fingers until well blended. Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter. Sprinkle with walnuts over the top. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes (mine took just a few minutes longer).  Serve warm.

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