Can’t-Stop-Eating-Them Wild Game Nachos

I enjoyed these elk nachos with a side salad–they are so addicting! The filling but (mostly)healthy meal is great way to use up ground meat when you are short on ideas and sick of burgers.

Wild Game Nachos

Serves 2, with leftovers (maybe)

  • 1/2 lb ground elk, venison, or antelope
  • 1/2 c diced yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 12 oz. (about 3/4 can) Vegetarian Refried Beans*
  • 1/4 c Medium-heat salsa
  • Season Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Taco Seasoning
  • 1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese

* I recently began using the Old El Paso Vegetarian variety as I realized they do not contain partially hydrogenated oils like the Traditional and Green Chili varieties, if you care about that sort of thing.

  1. Cook ground meat with onion, jalapeno, and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Season with season salt, taco seasoning, and chili powder to taste.
  2. Stir in refried beans and salsa to meat mixture and combine until smooth. Simmer on low heat another 1-2 minutes.

3. Lay out tortilla chips and top with nacho meat. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and microwave 15 seconds if you like your cheese melted. Top with salsa and start scooping!

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Crockpot Mushroom and Onion Venison Steaks

This crockpot recipe results in tender steaks and creates its own gravy.

Crockpot Mushroom and Onion Venison Steaks

Serves 4

  • 1 lb vension steaks
  • 1/2 c diced yellow onion
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup/Dip
  • 1 c. 7-Up or Sprite
  • Season salt
  • Garlic pepper

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1. Place steaks in crockpot and season.

2. Add in soups, and then pour on 1/2 can or 1 c. of 7-Up.

3.  Cook on low 4-6 hours. I usually serve with potatoes and a vegetable, but it could also be served over pasta or rice.

Birthday Sugar Cookies

For those who don’t care for cake or cupcakes, these sugar cookies are a great birthday treat. I baked up a batch of these for Joe’s birthday today. They are my favorite type of sugar cookies; mix and drop, no chilling time required.

Mother’s Best Cookies, recipe from local community cookbook

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 1/2 c flour

Preheat oven  to 350.                                                                                                                                                                    Mix ingredients and roll out flat with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Using a pastry knife, cut out the letters for “Happy Birthday”. I free-handed it, but I am sure there are cookie cutters shaped like letters too, which would be nice for kids. Peel away excess dough until you are left with only the letters.

Sprinkle with sugar and flatten gently with the bottom of a glass.

Using the pastry knife or spatula, slide under each cookie to loosen and carefully transfer to greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 7-10 minutes.

You will now need to re-cut out the spaces for the letters that filled in while baking to make them recognizable again. The cookies expand while baking, so trim as necessary while still warm to get them back to their original look.

Run pastry knife under each cookie while they are still warm on the pan. Then, let them cool before tranferring to a container or decorating further. These would be fun to frost and decorate, but I know this birthday boy prefers his with just sugar…so at this point I was done!

Making Your Own: Venison Breakfast Sausage

What can I say, nothing beats homemade breakfast sausage that tastes as good or better than the storebought variety. While I know it is not always possible to do for a variety of reasons ranging from cost to time to lack of space, I also really appreciate being able to be a part of the entire hunting process, from the harvest to the processing to putting the meal on the table. Yesterday Joe and I made 18 lbs. of venison breakfast sausage with his late whitetail buck. He is a very nice older deer who will eventually have a place on our wall, and as such, we decided not to just cut steaks or make burger (which we have enough of from my elk to get us through the year), but to make sausage.

Using this kit, the Mountain Man Original Breakfast Sausage kit from Hi Mountain Seasonings, we used 12 lbs of venison that we had already previously grinded, and added in 6 lbs of grinded pork. For the best flavor at a cost-effective rate, we typically buy pork butt roasts (“Boston butts”) to add in with the venison when making summer sausage and breakfast sausage.  We bought 4 pork butt roasts from Smith’s during our trip to the big city last weekend using my Smith’s card, and after trimming them of excess skin, ground them up for a total of 22 pounds of pork for right around $50.

We added in both of the included pouches of seasonings into the vension/pork meat mixture and combined them together in the electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Last year when we followed the instructions pound-for-pound using a different flavor, we found our sausage to be very bland, and this year it is perfect, so I would recommend adding in a little more seasoning than is called for to get the best results.

Let the photo above be a reminder of how important it is to label what you process because even though you think you will remember the difference between the white bags and white with black bags six months from now, there is a good chance you won’t. Same with steaks and such– I opened an unlabelled vacuum-sealed package a few months back to find that it wasn’t leftover ground bratwurst as I had planned, but unknown-species steaks!

Typcially the game processing for us goes something like this: let meat hang in shop, butcher, wrap steaks using vacuum sealer, process immediately or freeze remaining meat to grind and then process later (1 week- 1 month later) into one of the following: burger, breakfast sausage, summer sausage, snack stick, trail bologna, and this year even pepperoni,which I cannot wait to try! Homemade pizza recipes to come!

If you have the resources available or can team with someone else who does, I highly recommend making some of this breakfast sausage. Also, slowly adding to your meat processing equipment year by year is a good way to gradually build up, without breaking the bank. A vacuum-sealer one year, grinder the next, etc. will go a long way toward enabling you to process your meat yourself. We are fortunate to be able to team with both sets of parents in sharing equipment, so that everyone benefits in the end. If your family lives close, meat processing equipment makes great gifts, just a thought for those holiday shoppers out there!

Salsa Ranch Elk Taco Salad

Serves 1-4

Taco Meat:

  • 1/4 c diced yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground elk
  • 1/2 pkg. of taco seasoning- I use this recipe

Per Salad:

  • 1.5 c. romaine salad blend
  • 2 T. salsa ranch dressing (Bolthouse Farms brand or homemade)
  • 1 T. medium-heat salsa
  • shredded cheddar, as desired
  • crushed tortilla chips, as desired
  1.  Make the taco meat: Brown onion in medium frying pan and add in ground elk meat. Simmer on medium, stirring occassionally, until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Add in taco seasoning and stir to combine. Simmer another 2 minutes.
  3. Assemble the salads: place 1.5 c romaine into a bowl and top with ground meat, salsa ranch dressing, shredded cheese, salsa, and a few crushed tortilla chips. The Bolthouse Farms brand of salsa ranch yogurt dressing is tangy and creamy, and at only 45 calories per 2 Tablespoons, you can really pour it on!.

 

Elk Barley Soup

This wholesome soup is perfect for cold, snowy nights and makes great leftovers for lunches. I simmered mine low for about 45 minutes on the stove in a large, old army stockpot because I didn’t have much time, but this soup would work well in the crockpot, too.

Elk Barley Soup

Makes 6 servings

  • 1/2 lb. ground elk
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4.5 c. water
  • 1/2 c Medium Pearled Barley, uncooked
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c sliced celery
  • 1/2 c sliced carrots
  • 1/2 c green beans
  • 1/4 c canned corn (totally optional, I needed to use it up)
  • 1 can consomme beef broth
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. bay leaves, crushed OR 1 bay leaf whole

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1. Brown meat in a frying pan, add in onion and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender.

2. Add meat mixture into stockpot or crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Simmer on the stovetop for 45 minutes- 1 hour, OR cook in crockpot on LOW 4 hours.

3. You can add more water if soup becomes too thick from the barley absorbing the liquid, although I did not need to.

 

 

 

Veterans Day Camo Cupcakes

Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you to all the veterans past and present who serve our country. Here is a link to an awesome camoflauge cupcake tutorial that I followed last week at work and added in the American flags to make them patriotic for Veteran’s Day. I made the cupcakes and frosting, and our students decorated them and delivered them to the local Senior Center for Veteran’s Day. These would also be great to make for the birthday of any hunters in the family.

Creamy Italian Antelope & Artichoke Casserole

This was the first meal I made using my antelope from this year, and both Joe & I agree that this recipe is one of the best ways to eat antelope! It was incredibly tender, and had NO game taste. Although it requires a few steps, it is a fairly simple recipe, but does take some planning–you need to give yourself 2-3 days to marinade the meat before you make this meal.

Creamy Italian Antelope & Artichoke Casserole

Serves 2

  • 1 lb. antelope steaks (backstrap)
  • 1/2 c. Italian dressing
  • 3/4 c. (6 oz.) rotini pasta
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. quartered and drained artichoke hearts
  • 1/3 c. diced yellow onion
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 c Half & Half ( I use fat free)
  • 1  c. AP flour + dash black pepper
  • Vegetable oil (enough to cover bottom of frying pan)
  • 1/2 c Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 1/2 C Italian Blend Cheese or mozzerela, shredded
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic salt
  • Garlic pepper

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  1. Marinade the meat in Italian dressing in a ziplock bag for 2-3 days.
  2. Boil water to cook pasta in a saucepan. While pasta is cooking, sautee the onions, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts in 1 T. butter in a medium frying pan for 4-5 minutes on medium-low heat. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and garlic pepper.
  3. Turn heat to low and add in 1/4 c half and half. Simmer and reduce for another 10 minutes on low.
  4. Drain pasta and add vegetable mixture to it into the same saucepan you used to cook the pasta. Sprinkle with 1/4 c parmesan cheese (or more!).
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Rinse out the frying pan with water. Pour enough vegetable oil into the frying pan to cover the bottom completely and begin to heat the oil to fry the meat. It is ready when it bubbles steadily.
  7. Pour 1/2 cup to 1 cup of flour into a ziplock bag and add in a few dashes of black pepper.
  8. Remove the antelope from the marinade and onto a cutting board. Cut the antelope steaks into thin strips (1/2 inch) and place directly into the ziplock bag with flour to coat each piece of meat entirely.
  9. Fry meat for about 3 minutes in oil and lay out on a paper towel. It took me two batches to fry the meat. Watch carefully and do not overcook!
  10. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray (8 x 8 inch worked for me) and dump in the pasta and vegetable mixture. Layer the streak strips on top. (NOTE- I had about 10 extra strips of meat leftover that I did not use in this dish.)
  11. Sprinkle another 1/4 c parmesan cheese and 1/2 c of Italian Blend cheese onto the casseole.
  12. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 15 minutes at 350.

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Wheat Hoagie Rolls

I am planning to make an Elk French Dip Sandwich tomorrow with a smoked ham from my elk this year. These hoagie rolls are inexpensive and easy to make, and you can scale the recipe down like I did to make only 6 rolls in the batch. Save leftover rolls for meatball subs, philly sandwiches, or brats.

I used this Hoagie Rolls Recipe from www.food.com and made some minor changes to it.

*Updated 3/31/13 with pictures.

Small Batch of Wheat Hoagie Rolls

Yield- 9 rolls

  • Half of 1/4 oz. package of yeast
  • 1 c warm water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 c AP flour + 1 T. for kneading
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and add in sugar. Let is sit 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in oil, salt, and flour. Stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
  • If your bowl is large enough, add 1 T. flour to dough and knead right in the bowl until dough is smooth and elastic. No need to make more dishes. If this is not possible, knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes.

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  • Pull dough from bowl and spray with cooking spray to coat, put dough back into bowl turning once to coat the top.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes.
  • Punch dough down, turn onto lightly floured surface and divide into equal pieces.

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  • Shape into ovals.
  • Carefully life with a pastry spatula or regular spatulta and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet.
  • With scissors, cut a 1/4-inch slash across top of each roll.
  • Let rise 10 more minutes.
  • Bake at 400 13-16 minutes until golden brown.

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  • Remove from pan and cool for a few minutes. Slice with a bread knife. Slicing without a bread knife is not recommended, since these rolls are on the thinner side. These freeze well, I usually leave a few out for the week and freeze the rest.

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Per Roll- 128 calories. For full nutrition stats, here’s the link. http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/mos-wheat-hoagies/

Elk Sh*t on a Shingle

Similar to stroganoff, “Sh*t on a Shingle” is a recipe that I learned from Joe, and for its simplicity, it really is a tasty, hearty, quick, week-night meal.

Elk Sh*t on a Shingle

Serves 2, with leftovers

  • 1 lb ground elk
  • 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (I do not recommend using the healthy request, low-sodium, or bargain brands–I have tried all of the above and it drastically affects the taste, and not for the better!)
  • Wheat or white bread (the shingle, of course!)

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1. Cook ground meat on medium heat and season with salt and garlic pepper, if desired.

2. Crumble meat and add in the soup. Stir to combine, simmer on low 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Load your sh*t onto your shingle, er, I mean slice of bread. You now have elk sh*t on a shingle- enjoy! I usually serve this with green beans.

~FYI ~Leftover meat is good in enchiladas and burritos.