Things to know about your skillet

skillet recipe

I have a variety of skillet sizes so I have the right size pan for the cooking task at hand. If you’re sautéing, it’s important to have a large enough pan for the amount of food you’re cooking. If you try to sauté in a pan that’s too crowded, the food will just steam. And that defeats the purpose of sauteing, since the best part about sautéed food is the delicious caramelized bits that form where the food makes contact with the pan! Cook in batches if necessary. I like small skillets for melting butter, toasting nuts and cooking my morning egg, but I tend to use a large skillet for most everything else. (The only medium skillet I have came in the set I bought—I rarely use it. (Read more: The best skillet for your cooking needs)

Shared from Eating Well

Invest in stainless steel.
I love using stainless-steel pans because they’re strong, durable and versatile. If you’re going to drop any substantial money on a pan, let it be on the workhorse of the kitchen—a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet.

Use a nonreactive pan when cooking acidic foods.
When you cook acidic foods, such as tomatoes, lemons or cranberries, make sure to use a nonreactive pan, such as stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.

Interesting post: Skillet dinner recipes

Cook with less fat by using nonstick pans.
Nonstick skillets are great because you can use less oil and because delicate foods, such as fish or eggs, won’t stick to the pan or break apart. When you cook in a nonstick skillet, use nonstick-safe utensils, such as a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon—metal utensils will damage the nonstick surface. Don’t heat an empty skillet or cook over high heat, because the nonstick coating may break down at high temperatures and release potentially toxic fumes. For an alternative to conventional nonstick cookware, look for pans marketed under names like “green cookware” or “eco-friendly cookware” that are made with a nonstick coating that won’t break down when used over high heat. A cast-iron skillet is a good alternative to nonstick skillets for many recipes.

You can keep your aluminum pans.
While old research linked high aluminum intake with Alzheimer’s disease, subsequent studies on aluminum pots are few and circumstantial, and studies on antiperspirants and other aluminum-containing products are similarly slim. Today, most experts believe that aluminum’s role, if any, is small—and that diet and even crossword puzzles are far better places to focus anti-dementia energies.

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Husband bought a Rachael Ray cookware set

rachael ray cookware

My husband bought this set of pots and pans for me as a surprise because they were on my wish list. I liked them and wanted to give them a try. I have been using them now for about a month and I have to say I am completely happy with this product. This set is very durable and I think that they will last a long time. I think the porcelain sets are nicer anyways and the color is amazing and vibrant. I got the purple set. I never put these in the dishwasher because I just want them to last longer, so I just wash the by hand. The handles are easy to grip and use. They cook food evenly and I have never had anything stick to the pans. So far I haven’t had any problems with this product and hopefully it stays that way. I would recommend this brand to anyone looking for a new set of pots and pans, I actually have already recommended them to a few people.

Beautiful and awesome set. The colors are as displayed in the picture. The pots and pans come wrapped and secured to the max, which is kinda annoying for unwrapping but therefor you can be assured it comes in without any scratches or damages. The pots are regular weight (not too light or too heavy) and you can tell they are good quality.

Warmth gets through very quickly so water boils up very quickly. The handles are made out of rubber/ silicone type material which is very comfortable to hold on to and keeps you from burning your fingers. And in addition they put the same material on top of the lids to pick them up. I love it. Another awesome feature is the cleaning. No scratching and scrubbing (and cursing) necessary because everything comes right off and out. I really love this set and recommend it 100%.

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Guide when selecting your cookware

cookware

Cookware consists of different types of pots and pans that are used for specific purposes. Some of the pieces of cookware can be substituted for a type you may not have and still accomplish the type of cooking you need to perform. Pots and pans are available in different sizes and made of different types of material. Some materials are better than others when used for specific cooking methods.
When selecting the cookware for your kitchen, you should take the following points into consideration:
Budget – How much can you afford to spend on the pots and pans you purchase? You should purchase the best quality that you can afford. It will be well worth it in the long run. Otherwise, you will find yourself replacing them in a short time.
Cooking Habits – How much will you be cooking? Do you eat out a lot and buy convenience food or do you like to prepare meals from scratch? Will you be entertaining a lot?
Cuisine – Will you be making a lot of pasta, soups, or stir-fries? There are special pots and pans that assist in preparing these types of food.
Quantity – Will you be cooking for 1, 2 or several? Having the right size cookware will be important when preparing your food.
Cookware Materials
Cookware is made from many different materials. Understanding the differences will assist you in making the best choice for your needs. Some of the most common cookware materials are shown below with a description and pan care instructions for each. (Full article here)

 

What types of cookware SHOULD you be using?

We love our sturdy second hand cast iron cookware (and use it daily!), but it’s not for everyone.

Pros: We love the way cast iron leaves some foods nice and crispy, or with a caramelized finish. It offers superior heat distribution and retention when cooking. This material can easily and safely go from stovetop directly into the oven. A nicely seasoned cast iron pan will last forever and food won’t stick to it. Cast iron pans don’t need to be washed, only gently scraped, rinsed, or wiped clean after each use. We have purchased all of our cast iron cookware second hand at great prices. If you can find older brands, like Griswold, you’ll get all the benefits of cast iron without all the weight. Cooking on cast iron can even add extra iron to your diet, which is helpful for people deficient in this mineral. We recommend finding used cast iron or obtaining a family heirloom piece – these will most likely already be well seasoned and ready to use!

Check out this article for more of our thoughts and tips on using cast iron in your kitchen.

Cons: Many people don’t need extra iron that cast iron cookware will leave in your food. This includes men, people with a condition called hemochromatosis, and women who are not menstruating and losing blood every month. Our bodies don’t eliminate iron naturally (unless donating blood or menstruating regularly), and it can accumulate to toxic levels in some people. However, the iron in this material leaches more into acidic foods and is also dependent on how well seasoned a pan is. Well seasoned pans have a thin coating that makes them less reactive with foods.

In addition to the iron issue, if cast iron is not seasoned properly it can make foods stick, resulting in more difficult cleanup. It can also be very heavy to work with and will rust if left wet for a period of time.

Enamel Coated Cast Iron
Pros: Enameled cast iron doesn’t add iron to foods like non-enameled cast iron pans. (This is only a benefit if you belong to one of the groups of people who doesn’t need extra iron.) These pieces are great for using on the stovetop or the oven. They offer better heat distribution and retention than other types of cookware and don’t react with acidic foods like uncoated cast iron. If properly cared for, enamel coated pieces can last for generations. They don’t need to be seasoned like plain cast iron pans and food won’t stick if the interior has a nicely polished finish.

Cons: These are also heavy since they’re made with cast iron. The finicky enamel finish can be hard to care for. Metal utensils will scratch it, and it will discolor and lose its luster if exposed to extreme temperature changes. (Like boiling something and then immediately running cool water over the pan.)

Some enamel coated pans are made with cheap enamel that wears out and stains easily, and can also crack or chip off and end up in food. If enamel chips the pan is unsafe. For this reason we recommend spending the extra money on a piece from a reputable company like our favorite here or this other well known brand, and researching to make sure yours has a warranty before purchasing. That’s the other con – a good quality enamel coated cast iron piece may come with some sticker shock.

Stainless Steel
Pros: Stainless steel is inert and will not react with food or alter the flavors of your dishes. They’re very durable and any type of cooking utensil can be used on stainless surfaces without worrying about scratching or ruining a finish. They’re lighter than cast iron pieces and easier to stack and store since there’s no risk of scratching/chipping surfaces. Stainless can be heated to high temperatures, placed in an oven, scrubbed/scraped hard to clean, and the inside surface doesn’t contain harmful carcinogens. They can also be washed with soap or run through the dishwasher.

Cons: They’re not completely non-stick, and need a little fat or liquid added when cooking to prevent food from sticking. Cooking results are highly dependent on the thickness of the metal. A thicker or bonded stainless steel pan will cost you more up front, but is more durable and will last longer. (We have a few pieces from this line that we love. Continue reading here

More: Four ways to cook in cast iron skillet