Easy Crock-Pot Mallard & Teal

Last weekend we traveled down to Riverton after work Friday night to camp out at Ocean Lake in preparation for the duck season opening Saturday morning. My parents joined us in their camper as well. It was a beautiful fall morning and my husband & dad did pretty good. Maggie also did some great retrieving, swimming out to get two potential escapees! With the addition of our six-month old son (hence the paper plate!) I try to plan quick & easy dinners & utilize the crock-pot as much as possible while I’m at work all day. This recipe is quick & easy.

  • Rinse duck breasts from mallard/teal (4-5 birds)
  • 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • Brown & Wild Rice

Add duck, soup, dressing, and apple cider to crock-pot & cook on LOW for 6 hours. Microwave or cook wild rice. Serve duck over rice with your choice of veggies & ladle on the sauce from the crock-pot. Stir fry veggies would be great, but I whipped up some glazed baby carrots this time since I had them on hand. Enjoy!

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Deer that Swim Rivers + Stuffed Backstrap

Chive & Onion Stuffed Venison Back strap

Serves 2

  • 1 Venison back strap
  • 4 oz. Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
  • 2 slices thick bacon
  • Deer seasoning- I use Hi Mountain Seasonings
  • Meat mallet or hammer wrapped in foil

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. On a cutting board, butterfly and tenderize meat with a mallet (or hammer wrapped in aluminum foil works too) so it flattens thin. Place in baking dish.

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2. Season with Deer SeasoningHi Mountain Seasonings is based out of Riverton, Wyoming, our nearest neighboring town, and has some great products for jerky & sausage making.

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3. Spread 1/2 the container (4 oz.) of cream cheese down center line of steak.

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4. Roll steak up & tightly wrap one piece of bacon around each end of steak to secure. 20151015_175629

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes–check at 30 minutes. It took mine 35 minutes to get to medium rare. 20151015_185052

Last year after harvesting a bull elk I decided that the next season I would focus on deer hunting. This turned out to be a good decision, seeing as how little did I know, I would be unable to hike or ride a horse by the time hunting season came around this year due to a bad herniated disc.

Keeping in mind areas that required little walking, Joe and I set out in the truck in search of a whitetail one evening after work, to a spot where he had seen one earlier in the week. After a short five minute walk, which at this point I could handle because it was right after my third steroid injection, we came up to the top of the small hill where we planned to sit out of sight and watch the area below. Except, when we got to the top of the hill, standing below 130 yards away on the other side of the Wind River was a heavy mule deer buck.

So much for sitting and waiting. Joe & I crawled over the rocky ground about 20 yards through sage brush and cactus, me holding my gun in one hand and my coat sleeve over the other. I got to a rock where I could lay down and get a good rest, with the deer still unaware of our presence above him. I took my time and squeezed off a shot before he moved any further behind a willow bush. He took a few steps forward, and I still had a shot, which I took just in case.

I couldn’t have been happier at how it all turned out. However, really the fun part had just begun. Now we had to get this guy across the river, which is knee/thigh high on a man, swift, and about 25 yards across. The outfitter that Joe guides for lives nearby and brought his 4-wheeler, however the willows were so dense in the marshy area along the riverbed there was no getting to the river with it. Now, with daylight waning, Joe donned chest waders and made his way across the water with rope and his knives while I waited. After gutting the deer, he proceeded to cut it in half and swim each half across the river in the dark using rope tied off to a thick stick which he hung on to. It was  both comical and a little nerve-wracking to watch! Seeing the amount of force generated by the current pushing the dead weight of the animal downstream was intense. Success!

20151007_193709_LLSA few days later I cooked up the back strap, and the combination of tender venison and chive and onion cream cheese held in place by bacon was quite tasty.

 

Classic Slow Cooker Elk Stew

elk stew

I used this recipe by BUCHKO from All Recipes as the basis from which to make this Classic Elk Stew last Sunday for a perfect wholesome weekend meal after my afternoon x-c ski. The elk meat is extremely tender and required no marinade at all! This recipe will give you leftovers for the week, too, which is very welcome on those nights when you get home from work and just want to EAT. This does take 8 hours on LOW in the slow cooker from start to finish, so it’s a good idea to thaw your roast two days before you plan to make this so you can start it cooking by late morning.

This is what I used:

  • 2 lb Elk Round Roast
  • 3 whole carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 2 potatoes (red or russet or both)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into big pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced into pieces
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1.5 cups beef broth (I used Better Than Bouillon beef base)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. season salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  1. Cut elk meat into 1-inch chunks and place into slow cooker.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup flour over top to cover the meat.
  3. Rinse and peel carrots and slice into rounds.
  4. Wash potatoes and cut into chunks with skins on.
  5. Rinse celery stalk and cut into pieces.
  6. Cut 1/2 yellow onion into big pieces.
  7. Place vegetables in slow cooker.
  8. Combine beef broth with minced garlic clove, Worcestershire, and seasonings. Pour over top of meat and vegetables.
  9. Top it off with a bay leaf and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  10. Remove bay leaf before serving.

I served this stew with garlic bread and it was a great combo. This stew will also make your house smell fantastic!

 

 

Mongolian Elk Stir Fry & Long Creek Elk Hunt

If you are looking for a way to spice up your same old elk steak routine like I was, this recipe is certainly worth a try, it was delicious and made me feel like I was eating at a restaurant from my own home. I used this recipe from the Real Hunters Wives site as the basis for preparing the meat in my slow cooker, and served it atop a bed of rice pilaf and stir fried veggies for a nutritious, flavorful dish!

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Mongolian Elk Stir Fry

Servings: 3

  • 3/4 lb elk steak (round steak worked great)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen sugar stir fry vegetables
  • 1 box rice, prepared per package– I used Mushroom Rice Pilaf (Far East brand)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Slice venison into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Place cornstarch in Ziploc bag, then put meat chunks inside and shake until coated.
  3. Combine onion, soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes in slow cooker.
  4. Place meat in slow cooker so it is covered by broth mixture.
  5. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
  6. Prepare rice, and while rice is cooking, saute stir fry vegetables in 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve meat over a bed of rice and vegetables.

This elk steak was from my 2014 bull elk, for which I am both gracious and grateful…..

2014 Long Creek Elk Hunt

This fall Wyoming experienced a cold August and a warm September and October, marked with weeks of sunny, 60 degree weather. This impacted the typical elk migration timeline and allowed elk to remain in the high country. In mid-October Joe and I headed out on a Sunday afternoon with Yolanda and Slim to scout an area for elk that Joe had in mind, given the unusual weather.

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We rode for a little over an hour through an old cut block and old burn area until we reached an open pocket meadow on the East Fork of Long Creek. After tying up the horses, we sat and glassed, and decided we would stay until the sun dropped below the tree line to the west and then ride back. After a little while, we spotted some elk far across the valley, six or seven, that were on private land. We also spotted two buck antelope munching away several hundred yards away. It was a wild and beautiful spot and I was already pretty happy just to have been able to ride to this spot.

As the sun began to lower in the sky, I looked back across the meadow and saw that two cows and a calf had suddenly appeared out of the timber and were grazing away. Ironically Joe had stepped away to find a tree just ten seconds before, so when he returned back a few moments later, I was resting my Kimber 25-06 on a head-high tree limb and was sighted in on the cows, in case a bull stepped out. Joe ranged the elk and they were a good 500 yards away. We watched them a few more minutes as more cows and calves stepped out, eight or nine total now, and were thinking; are they really alone, no bull?! Then, all of the sudden Joe caught just a glimpse of a bull as he headed back into the trees; he had come out of the timber already in front of the cows closer to us, but due to the gently rolling terrain we had been unable to see him from where we were. So now we were on the move to get closer; all but one cow were headed back into the timber and she busted us, but we had no choice but to move. So we “squat-ran” a ways and then got down and crawled up to a stump within 350 yards. And then the last cow headed up into the trees and they disappeared. Disappointed yet excited at having come so close, we sat there and waited about five minutes to see if they would come back out, but were doubtful, since we knew that one cow had seen us. This is usually how our elk hunting has been the past five years; close, but the elk usually win!

As we stood up to walk back to the horses, Joe glanced to the north and much to our surprise, the bull and just one other cow had stepped back out from the timber and were standing along the treeline eating. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This NEVER happens! Now, we “squat-ran” again to the right, trying to close the distance as much as possible without giving ourselves away, but we now had a bit more advantage due to the lay of the land and fact there was virtually no wind. We crawled the last little bit over to a rock at the top of a small rise and I laid down flat and rested my rifle on the rock. I do best when I have a few seconds to get real comfy and solid, and thankfully I had that time. Just that morning I had printed off the ballistics chart for my new Huskemaw scope and taped it to the stock; Joe had tested the loads he built for my gun at the Range and we were able to enter the data and know exactly how many clicks to make to adjust for distance. At 370 yards, I was able to find the bull immediately in my scope. I zeroed in with laser-like focus as the bull stood broadside, and my shot rang out into the calm evening air. I was confident I hit him, as was Joe, but knowing how tough elk are, I chambered another round and shot again, as he was now standing facing the other direction. I shot a third time. Then I was out of bullets; the rest were in my saddle bags. The elk had gone into the timber now, and in the back of both our minds was the thought we might have to track this animal through dark timber at dusk in some of the most dense bear country; where bears are known to run toward gun fire and a (totally unarmed) man was killed and eaten by a grizzly not ten miles away this summer.

Joe headed back to get the horses and bring them over, and I waited and watched the spot where I last saw the bull, by a six-foot tall dead tree stump. Joe was back in a few moments, so I re-loaded my gun and walked out ahead as he followed with the ponies. I got over to the stump while Joe tied up and looked down for blood, and much to my horror, saw none. I then glanced over into the timber toward the direction the bull had gone, and out out of the pine trees saw two elk horns sticking up; he was only about 20 yards away laying down in the trees. I turned my scope way down and held my rifle up to my shoulder and shot him in the nose-area just below the eyes. Still alive. Joe now came up behind me and had me aim at a tiny patch of neck visible through the branches, so I shot him there as well. He now rolled onto his side, and as we approached, realized he was still indeed alive, head rolling up and down. A quick final shot with the .41 to the back of the head ended the suffering. They are tough.

I was instantly overcome with excitement and gratitude at having harvested the bull in such unsuspecting circumstances in such a wild and perfect spot, and grateful we would not be put in the situation of having to search the woods for the bull in the dark, or worse, not find him.

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The next step was to quickly field dress him; Joe grabbed his knives off Slim, we had our rifles within arms reach, and we moved the horses as close as we could to have extra eyes keeping watch while I held legs up and open while sitting on the chest cavity and Joe gutted the elk. We discovered two of my first three shots hit the mark; the first shot was through the lungs, the second missed, and the third hit low, in the guts. By now it was dark, so donning our headlights, we worked up a good sweat as we drug the head and each half of the elk through the woods to the treeline using lead lines. Slim saved us a lot of work, as once the elk was at the edge of the treeline, Joe got on him and Slim dragged the elk halves several more yards out into the open so that when we returned the next day with pack horses they would be visible, should any bears be on them. Having done what we could for the night, Slim and Yolanda took us back out in the dark under the stars with a light snow falling. We got back to the trailer right before 9 pm, and in six hours, our “scouting trip” had turned into a successful and very memorable elk hunt.

Copy of Taz with 2014 bull

The following day, I had to work, so Joe and a friend rode back in with all four of our horses and retrieved the elk. No bears had visited during the night, and the ponies packed out the quarters for us. Taz, 30 years old, packed out the front quarters and head, the tough old bird. We do not use him very much anymore, and I was thrilled he did okay on this trip. Joe went on to harvest a calf on his cow/calf tag in December, and I have already told him that next year it is his turn to go after the bull!

Slow Cooker Mountain Man Beans with Fluffy Cornbread

I made this dish basically using this recipe for “Cowboy Beans with Beef” from the Thrifty Recipes website. However, I scaled down the recipe to make enough for dinner for two with one serving of leftovers, and subbed in ground elk for the beef. Therefore, Joe came up with the idea that they are Mountain Man Beans (elk) rather than Cowboy Beans (beef). Makes perfect sense when you think about it!

I REALLY liked this meal, and it makes a good substitute for chili. I plan to make it again in the next few weeks. Plus it uses stuff one would mostly have on hand, and is filling, inexpensive, and nutritious. I came to the realization that healthy is a subjective term, so I am going to stick with the term nutritious : ) The cornbread recipe is my go-to, it is from the back on the Quaker cornmeal can and I simply substitute plain Greek yogurt for the vegetable oil, which results in a soft and fluffy cornbread. Nutrition stats for my cornbread recipe can be found on Livestrong.

Slow Cooker Mountain Man Beans with Fluffy Cornbread

Servings- 3

Mountain Man Beans

  • 2 slices bacon, cooked & torn into pieces
  • 1/2 pound ground elk or ground elk infused with bacon
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 -15-oz cans of baked beans (I used Bush’s onion baked beans)
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn, drained

Cook the bacon and chop or tear into pieces. Brown the ground elk with the onion, garlic, and spices.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.

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Dump meat mixture into slow cooker. Add in the bacon, beans and corn. Give the mixture a stir and cook on LOW for six hours.

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Fluffy Cornbread

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk + 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg

Spray an 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients and then add in wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Spread into prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes at 400 until top just begins to brown. 

Cut cornbread into nine slices. Scoop up a bowl of beans and sit down to a delicious meal.

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2-for-1: Boozy Crockpot Elk Roast Recipe–> Fajitas

DSC01371While neither of these recipes are my own, both are really good and fairly easy to make, so I am excited to share them with you. The roast makes good leftovers: these Pioneer Woman fajitas were really good!

I found the Elk Roast Recipe from ChipolteChick on Food.com. I halved the recipe and used my crock pot to make. Here’s what I used:

  • 1.5 lb. elk roast
  • 1/2 can beer (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 T. Worcestershire
  • Season salt 
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce

Place roast in crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Pour in chili sauce and brown sugar, layer onion slices and minced garlic on top. Pour beer into crock pot and cook on LOW for 6 hours. The roast was pretty tender, and the juices do have a slight beer taste to them. I served it with mashed potatoes, but you could easily put veggies into the crock pot with the meat.

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The roast was OK, but the leftovers were FANTASTIC! I used the Pioneer Woman’s Beef Fajita recipe as a base for the remaining 1/2 pound of roast that we had.

In a shallow 8 x 8 inch glass pan, I combined:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 T Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar

I had onions left over mixed in with the roast already, but feel free to add more sliced onions if needed.

Then I thinly sliced the remaining roast and placed the meat into the pan, turning it with a fork to coat all sides. I marinated it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, then heated it up in the frying pan for about 40 seconds on high heat.

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I then put the meat into a warm flour tortilla and topped it with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. You could add salsa or guacamole, too. Delicious!

Crockpot BBQ Elk Round Steak with Veggies

I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago after not having had time to marinade the elk steaks I pulled from the freezer, or plan a meal for dinner that night. During my lunch break I threw this together using what I had in the fridge and left the crockpot to do its job during the afternoon. I picked up a brown gravy packet on the way home from work to finish off the meal. Cooking the round steaks LOW and SLOW with the BBQ sauce and steak seasoning made the meat tender and gave it a nice spicy flavor. No gamey taste at all.

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Crockpot BBQ Elk Round Steak with Veggies 

Serves 2

  • 3/4 lb. elk (or venison) round steak
  • ~14 baby carrots
  • 1/4 c yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 head (about 1.5 cups) broccoli
  • 1 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worchestshire
  • 1 package brown gravy mix (I used low-sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp. BBQ Sauce
  • Steak seasoning- I used this from Hi Mountain Seasonings
  • Garlic salt
  • Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • Season Salt
  • Black pepper

Clean and chop vegetables. Feel free to use more onion, I didn’t have time during my lunch break to peel and cut another one, so I just used up what I had.

Melt margarine in frying pan and saute vegetables until carrots, onion, and broccoli are tender, about 10-15 minutes. I had to had a small amount of water to the pan two or three times to keep the veggies from buring. Potatoes should be softer but not yet fully cooked. Season vegetables with montreal chicken seasoning, garlic salt, and black pepper.
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Place steaks in a bowl and season liberally with steak seasoning. Pour on BBQ sauce and swirl steaks around in the bowl so that the meat is coated completely.

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Place cream of mushroom, beef broth, worchestshire, and partially cooked vegetables into the bottom of the crockpot.

Lay steaks on top. Sprinkle everything lightly with a pinch of season salt.

Cook on LOW for 6 hours. Liquid will form in the crockpot while cooking–this is good– you will want to save and use this! Pour off and measure one cup of the liquid that forms in the crockpot to use to make the gravy.

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When ready to serve, prepare the gravy: In a small saucepan, add the 1 cup of liquid reserved from the crockpot to the brown gravy mix and whisk on medium heat for 2 minutes until gravy thickens.

Serve steak and vegetables with brown gravy.

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Interesting Reads:

Viewing Wyoming’s bighorn sheep herds

Primal eating plan

Venison Bratwurst Slow Cooker Style

Grilling outdoors is one of the best parts about summer. We have had some teaser weather lately with temps in the high 40’s, but still a bit too cold and dark for cooking on the grill. But, the good news is the creek is open for the horses so I can stop chopping ice- yay! Although I don’t mind visiting these guys at all…

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Whatcha got there…? Candy? Do I see horse candy?!

There are still about 8 packages of homemade venison brats in our freezer that were made last fall, and I am  slowly using them up. To make the venison brats, we used a kit from Hi Mountain Seasonings and added in frozen hash browns and diced yellow onions while grinding the meat prior to stuffing it into casings.

I saw on a pin on Pinterest a few weeks ago about cooking hot dogs in bulk in a slow cooker, and thought that the crockpot would be perfect for making brats during the winter months when using the outdoor grill is not an option and boiling them takes FORever. In the spirit of warm weather and to use up our remaining potatoes from the garden that are now growing eyes, I served these brats with MO’s Potato Salad.

Venison Bratwurst Slow Cooker Style

Serves 3

  • 3 homemade venison bratwurst
  • 1/4 cup water + 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced into strips
  • Hotdog buns/ bread
  • 3/4 tsp. yellow mustard (optional)

1. Slice onion into thin strips.

2. Pour 1/4 cup water into a frying pan and sear brats in the pan on medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes, turning once just so they start to brown on both sides and do not scorch.

3. Place brats in crockpot with 1/2 cup of  water and chicken broth and top with onions. Squirt in 3/4 tsp. yellow mustard, if desired. I really like the little kick that it added to the flavor of these brats, but the mustard is totally optional if it’s not your thing.

4. Cook on LOW for 6 hours of HIGH for 4 hours.

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4. Serve topped with onions.  (And then buried in ketchup!)

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MO’s Potato Salad

  • 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, or equivalent
  • 3 hardboiled eggs (my parents are nice enough to give me eggs from their chickens once a week!)
  • 3 T. yellow onion, diced
  • ~1/2 c. Hellman’s Light Mayo
  • 1 T. French’s yellow mustard
  • Pickle Juice, to taste (I probably pour in around 1/4 c)
  • salt & pepper

1. Wash, peel and boil potatoes.

Gardening Tip- Our potatoes were harvested in Septmeber in are just now developing significant eye growth. Store extra potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as a closet or paper bag, and they will last for months.

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2. Drain water from potatoes and stick pot in the freezer for five minutes.

3. Add in remaining ingredients and combine. I like to make a creamier potato salad so I use a hand mixer to combine. If you like a chunkier potato texture, combine with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until ingredients are incorporated.

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4. Chill in refrigerator covered and serve.

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.