Spinach Artichoke and Venison Sausage Alfredo

Spinach Artichoke and Venison Sausage Alfredo.

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Spinach Artichoke and Venison Sausage Alfredo

Wishing You a Happy Easter

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This wreath is the perfect blank canvas, an all-seasons wreath. It is perched outside my front door, and I change the decorations on it with the seasons and holidays. Both the wreath and this vintage egg-flower Easter basket (with 1968 handwritten in marker on the bottom!)  came from the Opportunity Shop, the local thrift store that uses the money it makes to provide grants to local non-profits. Pretty neat, truly passing the buck and creating opportunities for many people in many different ways.

On to the meal. With Spring Break upon us, it has been nice having some time in the evening to cook when I get home and not relying on the crockpot or piecing together meals with random leftover–not that random leftovers are bad, but regularly grazing on leftovers is not really a good habit to get into. With a large bag of fresh spinach and venison breakfast sausage that needed to be cooked or else, I came up with Spinach Artichoke and Venison Sausage Alfredo. The venison sausage is breakfast sausage, made from ground deer, ground pork butts, and this Breakfast Sausage Seasoning Kit. For more information on making your own breakfast sausage, check out this post.

Serves 2

  • 4 oz. dry spaghetti
  • 1 cup cooked, crumbled vension breakfast sausage
  • 2 Tbsp. diced green onion
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half (I use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. quartered marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 tsp. margarine or butter
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups baby spinach, packed
  • salt and pepper

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1. Melt butter and olive oil in frying pan. Add in green onion, spinach, artichoke hearts, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute on medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes.

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???????????????????????????????The green onions are from the garden last summer. After harvesting them, I cleaned and roughly diced them, and then put them in the freezer in an empty pop bottle. Throughout the year when I need to use them, I just shake them out frozen. Thank you, Pinterest!

2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain water and rinse. Then add 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese to the pasta, saving the remaining 1/4 cup for later. ???????????????????????????????

3. Add chicken broth and half and half to the frying pan with the vegetables and cook on medium-low for another 2-3 minutes to make a sauce.

4. To the skillet, add crumbled breakfast sausage. I had cooked my sausage the day before because I was worried that it was going bad. If you need to, cook and crumble the sausage in a small frying pan at this point.

5. Now add the pasta into the skillet with the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan over top and stir gently to combine???????????????????????????????

Scoop up a bowl and enjoy!  ???????????????????????????????

I like to know how what I am eating stacks up, so here are theNutrition Stats according to Livestrong. This recipe makes 3.5 cups.

Per 7 oz. (almost 1 cup) serving: http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/spinach-artichoke-elk-sausage-alfredo/

spinartdata

Ginger Infused Bacon Wrapped Elk Backstrap

Ginger Infused Bacon Wrapped Elk Backstrap

3/4 lb elk backstrap, cut into 4 steaks

4 slices bacon

Dash Hi Mountain Elk Seasoning (optional)

Marinade:

1/3 c. beef broth

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. Worcestshire

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

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This recipe was created based off of a ribeye marinade I used to make when I was cooking for summer packtrips. The marinade of beef broth, worcestshire, brown sugar, ground ginger, and garlic salt give the meat a distinct tangy flavor, and then adding in the bacon wrap makes it juicy and tender.

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Combine marinade ingredients in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and add in elk steak to coat completely. Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to two days.

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1. First, cook bacon on a grill or griddle until it is half-way cooked. You want it to remain flexible enough to wrap around the steak, but cooked enough so that the bacon will be done when the steaks are.

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2. Then remove bacon from griddle and immediately wrap one slice of bacon around one elk steak. If your bacon is on the shorter side like mine, make a cut up the center of the bacon to create a wishbone shape.

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Then proceed to wrap totally around the steak. (If I was using the outdoor grill I would probably have secured the bacon with toothpicks, but since I was using the griddle on the stove I could watch the bacon and easily re-arrange it when necessary.)

3. Put bacon-wrapped steak back onto the griddle and cook over medium heat in the bacon grease. Flip occassionally to make sure the bacon does not burn on one side or the other. I sprinkled some Hi Mountain Elk Seasoning on my steaks at this point for a little extra flavor. While working at our old jobs, Joe received a large sampler bag of their seasoning products after a guide job at the lodge. We are still happily using them up!

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My steaks took about 10 minutes to cook through to what I would call medium to medium rare (still pretty pink inside).

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I served these steaks with green bean casserole on a snowy Wyoming evening. I had worked up more of an appetite than I thought after a 5 mile afternoon ski in 14 degree weather. It was nice to have some fresh snow to ski in again, and I hope to get in at least one or two more trips this spring.

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Takin’ a Break…Green Chili Chicken and Wild Rice Burritos

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This dinner was too good not to post, even though it is not a recipe using wild game. As someone who appreciates having a freezer full of game meat to eat throughout the year, I also think it’s important to have some really good non-game meals to turn to for a break in the action every once in a while. After two to three weeks of only eating meat consisting of venison, elk, and antelope, I am usually ready for a meal with some white meat! I would say we eat chicken or pork two times a month (plus leftovers from those meals). I am a big fan of the Smart Chicken brand, which is sold locally at our store. I hope you add this recipe to your rotation for non-game nights; I know I will be making it again.

Green Chili Chicken and Wild Rice Burritos

Yield- 4 burritos

This recipe takes a little prep in cooking the chicken, but is well worth it. I cooked the chicken the night before and used a microwavable bag of wild and brown rice blend that you don’t even add water to (who knew?!- one of my latest WalMart finds) which made assembling this meal quick and easy today.

Ingredients:

3/4 lb. cooked, diced chicken breast (about 1.5 cups)

Montral Chicken Seasoning

Chili powder

Cumin

Season salt

4 medium-sized flour tortillas (I use Mission Carb Balance)

1 T. butter

1/2 cup chicken broth + 2 T.

2 T. AP flour

1/4 cup half and half

1/2 cup salsa verde

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 T. medium heat salsa

1 bag Uncle Ben’s Wild and Brown Rice microwavable blend (or about 1 cup of cooked  wild/brown rice)

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  • Season chicken breasts with montreal chicken seasoning and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
  • Dice chicken into cubes.
  • Cook rice according to package directions. The microwavable bag I used simply requires you to cut a vent in the top of the bag and microwave it for 90 seconds and it’s ready to go.

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  • Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Whisk in flour to make a paste.
  • Add in chicken broth, half and half, and salsa verde and whisk until smooth and simmering.
  • Sprinkle in a dash of cumin, chili powder, and season salt.
  • At this point I added in about 2 T. more of chicken broth because I thought it was too spicy. I recommend doing a taste test and adding in more chicken broth if you want to dilute and lessen the heat. Allow sauce to simmer down and thicken again.
  • Stir in the diced chicken and cooked rice to make the filling.
  • Lay out four medium tortillas and spoon 1/4 of the filling into each.
  • Top with 1 T. shredded cheddar and a dollop (about 1/2 Tbsp.) of medium salsa.

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  •  Roll tortillas and seal ends.

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  • Wrap each burrito in a strip of tin foil and seal tin foil completely around it to make a little package.

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  • Toss the tortillas into the oven onto the oven rack and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes.

Store any leftovers in their tin foil packages in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, wrap tortilla in a paper towel and microwave.

Nutrition Information: According to Livestrong.com

Per Burrito:

Calories- 423

Protein- 30 g

Total Fat- 13 g

For a more detailed nutrition profile, click this link http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/mos-green-chili-chicken-wild-rice-burritos/

Last of the 2012 Antelope + Pink Ribbon Ride

I cooked up the last of my 2012 antelope on Friday before heading up to Togwotee for the Pink Ribbon Ride this weekend. It had been sitting in the fridge marinating all week long, and I knew I needed to use it, and some other leftovers on hand, before leaving home for two days. I had also been wanting to try out the Sundried Tomato Pesto I bought last week while at Wal-Mart. So Sundried Tomato Pesto Antelope Pasta was created on the fly and ended up being a quick and easy veggie and protein-filled pasta dish.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Antelope Pasta

Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb antelope steaks (this was backstrap)
  • 1/3 cup Italian dressing (I use Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian)
  • 1 c. AP Flour
  • Garlic salt
  • Season salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup uncooked Egg Noodles
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow onion, diced
  • 1 big handful fresh Spinach (or spinach mix- mine was mixed with arugula)
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Half and Half (I use fat-free)
  • 1/4 cup heaping Sundried Tomato Pesto
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Marinade antelope in Italian dressing for 1-3 days in refrigerator.

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When ready to cook, make the breading mixture for the steak by combining flour, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, a big shake of season salt, and a big shake of pepper in a shallow bowl or ziplock bag. Thoroughly coat each steak.

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Heat a shallow layer of vegetable oil in a medium-sized frying pan so that it begins to sizzle and bubble. Lower heat slightly.

Drop each steak into the oil and fry for about 2 minutes per side, depending on the  thickness of your steak. Do not overcook–take the meat out and make a cut into it if you are unsure if it is done, better to have to put it back in than to have tough, overcooked meat.

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Lay steaks on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with garlic salt and black pepper.

Next, boil water according to package directions for the egg noodles.

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Add in pasta and allow to boil until almost cooked, about 3/4 of the way done.

Then throw in a handful of spinach and the diced onion with the pasta and continue to cook.

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When pasta is cooked, drain the water off and then add into the pot: Italian diced tomatoes, remaining 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, sundried tomato pesto, half and half, and half (2 Tbsp.) the parmesan cheese.

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Cook pasta mixture another 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.

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Divide pasta into two bowls and top each pasta bowl with one antelope steak. Drizzle the remaining sauce from the pasta over the steak and top with another Tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

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Last of the antelope ’til next year.

As I mentioned, I took Jade and left home Friday after work to spend the weekend with Joe up at Togwotee Mountain Lodge for the 6th Annual Pink Ribbon Riders Wyoming Snow Run.

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We gathered at 8:30 am on Saturday to line out into our groups for the day. Each group is led by a Togwotee guide. I got to ride with a friend from Jackson and her husband, Joe, was our guide for the “B-Cup” Intermediate group. The B-Cups are the “middle” riding ability group– not just trail riding but no crazy hill-climbs either.  We ended up meeting up with everyone else’s groups, including my Joe’s, at lunch. About 90 people made the 38-mile round-trip run from Togwotee to Brooks Lake Lodge for lunch, and then back, to support those in need fighting against breast cancer. It was a warm and beautiful day to ride, and despite the lack of snow this year, it was nice to be outside for most of the day and to ride for an even greater cause.

The Pink Ribbon Riders is a small non profit organization that provides direct financial assistance to both men and women diagnosed with breast cancer. Funds raised are distributed through an assistance program that is made available to both men and women breast cancer patients.

The Pink Ribbon Riders is a grass roots effort, and I always enjoy hearing the story of how it all started: the effort began in upstate New York when two women went out riding, and in honor of their mothers who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, they strapped on bras to the front of their sleds and took off for the day. While stopped for lunch at a restaurant along the trail, they returned to their sleds to find that their bras had been filled with dollar bills while they had been inside eating lunch. An idea was then born, and the Pink Ribbon Riders developed as a result. Each year the organization holds a snow run fundraising event and supports patients in: Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Wyoming.

I encourage anyone who wants to support the cause and support those fighting breast cancer to sign up for the Pink Ribbon Ride. The ridiculously fantastic snowmobiling is just an added benefit of contributing to the cause. There were many beautiful panoramic views  of the Absarokas and Tetons that I wanted to photograph, but was not able to do so while going 40 mph, so you will have to use your imagination. Pics from the day:

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One of the many decorated sleds!

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I stepped off my sled here to start it again after we took a break to get another lady un-stuck and sunk up to my waist…there’s definately more snow than meets the eye.

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Pink ribbon on the ski= Pink Ribbon Rider! This is the 4th winter I have had my own sled, and I love my Polaris 600 RMK, and find it especially amusing that the new windshield Joe put on it says “GUIDE”. The decal won’t come off of this old windshield that used to be on a guide sled at Togwotee, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Yesterday I overhead a lady in a passing group that we met on the trail ask another lady why the Guide, being me of course, was in the middle of the group: “What’s that guide doing, why are they just waiting right there?” Priceless.

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Jade being Queen of the Snow Mountain outside of our cabin. Which sadly (nicely?) was as big as our house…

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