I spend a good amount of time during the day making meals for the family.
I also have, like, other stuff to do during the day.
So if you think I want to spend hours prepping, cooking, baking, and cleaning up afterward…you got the wrong gal.
My kitchen was revolutionized a few years ago when I discovered the electric pressure cooker (link to my article on that!!), and our meals have been ridiculously amazing ever since.
But that was a few years ago!
What else could I do to make meals a little easier, a little more down home, and a little more exciting?
WELL: a few months ago we went out for the night. We stopped by the pool for a little bit of family swimming after work, and by the time we were done it was too late to get dinner started at home. So, we dropped into a nearby pub for an easy dinner.
I can’t say pub food is the most gluten free food on earth, for what it’s worth. #salads
Nevertheless, I particularly noticed the dish one of the kids had. They had ordered shepherd’s pie, and it came out in an individual baking dish.
And that got me thinking…
What if I had individual baking dishes at home??
Unfortunately, the ramekins (which is what these dishes are called) I could find were all way too small for what I wanted. I didn’t want a side dish sized ramekin; I wanted a one portion sized ramekin. So, I was striking out on that search…
You know what I did find, though? MINI-CAST IRON PANS!
I cannot even tell you how awesome these things are.
I got 7 pans, which are 6.25 inches across, so everyone had one pan, and, indeed, I could fit one portion into each pan! This is a dinner of baked chicken with garlic tomato and chickpeas.
So beautiful 🙂 But what I really wanted to make was shepherd’s pie!
(here is my shepherd’s pie recipe!)
Which turned out amazing!!
The problem with making shepherd’s pie for the family our size is that I don’t have a casserole dish big enough to feed everyone. I could make two shepherd’s pie dishes, but then I would have too much. Consequently, I haven’t made it, or any other casserole-dish, for a long time. Either it is a size/portion issue, or the baking is uneven for larger dishes and the middle is squishy. Plus, when you are dishing it out it gets all messed up and the presentation isn’t nice.
And even though presentation doesn’t affect the quality of taste, it significantly affects the quality of life (yes it does).
Which is why these mini-cast iron pans solve a multitude of issues!
But…are they deep enough for shepherd’s pie? Because no one wants a thin shepherd’s pie. That’s just sad.
Cooking for large families doesn’t have to consist of boxed rice and cream of bland soup.
Once you start thinking outside the box, you’ll find yourself in pre-seasoned cast iron heaven 🙂