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One Thing a Day: Re-Season Cast Iron edition

One thing a day: What one food-related thing will you do today, to make your life a little easier later? Today, I re-seasoned my cast iron skillet!

Welcome back to our irregular “one thing a day” series, where we realize how much happier our future selves can be… when our current selves focus on accomplishing just one thing a day. So, how’s everyone doing with the one food-related thing a day idea?

See also these earlier installments: Soup and banana bread edition, and clean out the fridge edition.

One Thing: I Re-Seasoned my cast iron skillet the other day

rusty cast iron

Cast iron is a wonderful, wonderful thing — but I’m not always as good about taking care of mine as I should be. Because: Life and laziness! My lack of care, though, had begun to degrade the performance of my favorite 12 inch cast iron skillet: Food tends to stick nastily in cast iron that isn’t well seasoned, and no one wants to use a rusty pan.

How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Seasoning or re-seasoning your cast iron skillet isn’t hard; it’s just a little time consuming:

Use the Lodge guide above to clean, season, or re-season your own favorite cast iron of any brand. To re-season a cast iron skillet, basically: Scrub off the rust, lightly rub a thin layer of oil into the pan, and bake it upside-down in a super hot oven for an hour (with a baking sheet underneath to catch any drips). Repeat until you have a nice, smooth, even seasoning on your pan.

seasoned cast iron

I swear — there was a cat hair in this pan just as soon as it finished cooling. How do they do that?! See if you can spot it too…

Since you have to run the oven at high temperature for a while, this is a great project for a chilly day. I re-seasoned my skillet during our weird May polar vortex (!) here in Chicago — and then, used my already-warm oven to roast up a sheet pan meal.

And yes, you can just use regular old Wesson canola oil to season cast iron. Don’t waste your expensive fancy oils on seasoning a pan.

A few favorite cast iron skillet recipes

Deconstructed vegetarian enchiladas in a cast iron skillet

While we’re on the topic, here’s why I love my 12″ cast iron skillet. (So versatile, and so worth a minimal investment in a pan that will last you a lifetime!) Don’t own a cast iron skillet yet? I recommend that every kitchen have one: Cast iron skillets can be pretty affordable — I actually picked mine up as a special buy at ALDI years ago, but you can also browse the selections at Walmart or take a look on Amazon.

Once you have that pan in hand, here are 10 of my favorite cast iron skillet recipes!

garlic shrimp with roasted cauliflower in a cast iron skillet

Cast iron is great for frittatas:

Cast iron is great for skillet meals:

Cast iron is great to give a nice sear to chicken and other meats:

I’m so happy to have a seasoned pan again — this was a great “one thing a day” choice this past weekend. I used my cast iron skillet to make a batch of fajitas the next day, and my re-seasoning efforts made both the cooking and the cleanup process go so much more smoothly.

What one thing will you do today?

One last question, while we’re questioning: What one thing will you do today? Don’t get me wrong, we all still have to eat (and those of us with kids and families still have to make sure that they eat).

  • When I say “one thing,” I’m not saying, don’t get dinner on the table. Instead, I’m saying: What’s one bonus food-related task you can do today, that will make you happy (relieved, excited) to have done in the future.

Earlier installments in the “one thing a day” series:

What one thing will you do today?