I have a go-to cast-iron skillet that I love and rely on, one that I use several times a week for everything from hash to skillet pizza to seared scallops to baked beans to corn bread. Yeah, it's an all-purpose pan, great for creating crusts and hard sears, as well as being completely oven- and broiler-proof. You've probably read before that once your cast-iron pan is well seasoned (heated with oil to "seal" and create a slightly nonstick surface), you can't wash it with soap and water because that will ruin the seasoning. I say baloney to that. After all, if I've made a creamy-saucy chicken casserole in my cast-iron skillet, I want to get it clean before I use it next. Washing is no problem (I don't advise soaking the pan), especially if you do just one thing after every use.

After washing, dry the pan well. Make sure it's dry by placing it on a burner over medium-high heat until you can see that it's completely dry. Then coat it with a little bit of oil: I use canola oil (if you're concerned about GMOs, just use organic canola), pouring in a teaspoon or two and rubbing it around with a dry paper towel to completely coat the interior of the pan and to soak up the excess. Cool the pan, and stash it away until you're ready to grab it next. It will stay in perfect shape until you're ready to pass it down to your kids or even grandkids!

Recipes for Your Cast Iron Skillet: