I like a light lunch, but didn’t want to go out and wasn’t in the mood for my usual apple with peanut butter, a salad with chicken, or big bowl of soup. So with a good nudge and a little inspiration from the latest issue of America’s Test Kitchen Cook it in Cast Iron, I decided to try something light n’ healthy in my cast iron skillet!
You probably don’t associate “light” cooking with a cast iron skillet, as usually what comes to mind are meals like cheesy casseroles and cornbread pies.
But I looooove cooking with my Lodge cast iron skillet. It’s incredibly versatile, natural, and cooks food evenly with a beautiful outer crust. You can use cast iron pans for roasting, sautéing, grilling, broiling, and even for water-based cooking like poaching and boiling.
Properly seasoned cast iron has a naturally nonstick surface so you don’t need as much oil when cooking. It’s also worth noting that cast iron cookware can give you an iron supplement cooked right into your food. That can be beneficial for those of us who are most likely to need extra iron if anemic, though there’s plenty of iron in red meat, beans, lentils, chickpeas, dark leafy greens, eggs, peanut butter, walnuts, almonds, scallops, clams, oysters, and many other foods. (Cleveland Clinic)
I like to freestyle in the kitchen and mix it up—but not too much. For example, spinach and cherry tomatoes with whatever protein I have on hand. I have my consistent whole food combos that work and I stick with them since they keep me feeling good!
Cook It In Cast Iron covers all the basics you’ll need to choose a skillet, to care for your skillet, for cooking, and for delicious step-by-step recipes.
Today’s gluten free light lunch inspiration comes from some no-bun fun, similar to the “Unwich” from Jimmy Johns. It’s a simple, one-skillet meal that keeps things easy breezy in the kitchen and makes a large quantity—so it’s great if you’re having guests over. It could be your “Girl Friday” or your “Go-to Girl” meal!
I gotta hunch this bunch will love this lunch!
Simple One-Skillet Lettuce Wraps
1 lb. fresh ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon of garlic, minced
8 oz container of cherry tomatoes
One bag of fresh baby spinach
One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 head lettuce
1. Warm the skillet and olive oil over medium to medium-high heat and add the ground chuck to the center of the pan. I get my beef from the Fresh Market, as they grind it on the premises and it’s completely yummy and fresh, not from a package.
2. Use a stiff spatula or wooden spoon to break the ground chuck into smaller pieces. Sprinkle with salt and 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic and stir the beef occasionally to make sure it’s browning evenly. The beef is finished when it’s evenly browned and shows no signs of pink.
3. Reduce heat to low and add spinach and cherry tomatoes. Stir until well combined.
4. Scoop the meat and veggie mixture onto your favorite lettuce leaves. I used Iceberg for its texture, but honestly it all works! Plus you’re not working… it’s lunchtime right? 😉
For each new morning with its light
For rest and shelter of the night
For health and food, for love and friends
For everything Thy goodness sends.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson