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!

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.

 

 

 

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.

Elk Chili

This has been home for the past 4 days for me while we have been elk hunting with friends. I had to return to work on Wedneday, but everyone else stayed in for a full week. It has been a snowy, fun-filled trip, ending with two nice bulls harvested, many more we were privileged to see, and a week full of great memories. This was the final trip for the horses this year, who are now officially on “vacation” for the winter, and Jade was a good camp dog, even joining me INSIDE my sleeping bag for the first night.

Last week before going out of town on a conference, I made one of my staple cold-weather recipes, chili, knowing there would be a few days of leftovers. Ground elk, venison, or beef all work great in this.

Elk Chili

Serves 6-8

  • 1 lb ground elk
  • 14 oz. can red beans (around here they are called “chili-ettes”)
  • 4 oz can diced green chilis, drained
  • ~ 8 oz. fresh tomatoes, diced (I used our garden tomatoes that had ripened up) OR 3/4 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • taco seasoning– I use Kittencal’s taco seasoning recipe from food.com
  • 1/4 c medium salsa
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/8 tsp.pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. Worcestshire
  • cheddar cheese & green onion–optional

1. Brown ground elk and season with taco seasoning. While meat is cooking, chop vegetables.

2. Dump meat into crockpot and add in remaining ingredients.

3. Cook in crockpot on LOW 4-6 hours. (My crockpot gets very hot on low, so adjust accordingly). Garnish with cheddar cheese and green onions.

4. Refrigerate leftovers once cool. We like using leftovers in scrambled eggs, in tortillas w/ cheese and salsa, or on hot dogs.

Crockpot Lasagna with Ground Elk

I have recently begun working an extra two hours per day tutoring, and four days per week I now find myself not getting home until 6 pm. By this time, we are hungry, and if dinner can’t be ready in about 10 minutes, I either want to eat leftovers or have something waiting for me when I walk through the door. My crockpot, a $3 yard sale steal, has made a quick re-entry into my life after lying dormant most of the summer, and I am currently making at least one crockpot meal per week. While I enjoy cooking and find it relaxing, when I am short on time, nothing is better than dumping your ingredients in the crockpot and knowing you will have dinner ready when you walk in the door.

I found a straight-forward recipe  from food.com and decided it was time to try lasagna in the crockpot. We waste no food in our house, and I am very conscious of using or freezing leftovers if not eaten within a day or two. I found myself with a leftover cooked elk burger, a mason jar of tomato puree I had frozen earlier, and a bunch of brown-paper-bag-ripened tomatoes from our garden ready to be used.

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Crockpot Lasagna with Ground Elk

Serves 2-3

16 oz. spaghetti sauce– I make my sauce and use “My Mama Iuliucci’s ‘Don’t Skip a Step Spaghetti Sauce’ “  as the basis of my sauce but I do skip a few steps…lol

4 oz. or more ground elk, crumbled (beef or venison would be fine, too)

~ 1.5 c Italian blend cheese

~ 1/2 c Parmesan cheese

~1.5 c 2% Cottage Cheese

Italian seasoning

3-6 No-cook lasagna noodles, depending on size of crockpot

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1. If using homemade, make spaghetti sauce, add in ground elk, and simmer in crockkpot for 3 hours on low. No need to dirty another pan! My sauce was made of what I had on hand and based off the above recipe: 16 oz. tomato puree, diced cherry tomatoes, onion, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, garlic pepper, sugar, salt, Italian seasoning, and parsley. I did not measure exactly.

2. Next, I scooped out 2/3 of the sauce, and left a layer on the bottom of the crockpot.

3. Next, I ran home during my 15 minute break between jobs, and layered non-cooked lasagna noodles (broken to fit the circular crockpot), spread them with cottage cheese, then sprinkled shredded Italian blend cheese and parmesan on top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

4. Repeat this process two more times–sauce, noodles, cheeses, Italian seasoning– and add a little extra cheese on the top and final layer.

5. Make sure your noodles are totally covered with sauce/cottage cheese so they cook and are not hard.

6. I only cooked my lasagna for 2.5 hours on HIGH in the crockpot and it was juuuust done. If I had had more time, I would cook it on LOW as recommended for 4-6 hours.

7. Serve with salad, and enjoy!

Fake Steak!

Hamburger steak with potatoes from the garden is one of my go-to recipes to dress up ground elk meat, and is based off of this recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/hamburger-steak-with-onions-and-gravy/ with slight adaptations.

Process bread in food processor to make bread crumbs. I started out using 1/4 c but added another 3 T or so to absorb into the meat mixture.

Thinly slice about half of a medium yellow onion, and sautee in 1 T vegetable oil.

Add patties to frying pan with onion and cook 4 minutes per side.

Remove patties and set aside. Add flour, slowly whisk in beef consomme and scrape the drippings and onion bits off the bottom to get a flavorful gravy. 5 minutes later…

Add patties and onion back to pan and simmer in gravy for 5-10 minutes until meat is cooked through and gravy is thickened.

Goes great with creamy mashed potatoes (recipe to follow).

Elk Hamburger Steak with Onion and Consomme Gravy

1 lb. ground elk

1 egg

1/3 c breadcrumbs

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. season salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. Worcestshire sauce

1 T. vegetable oil

1/2 c thinly sliced yellow or sweet onion

2 T.  flour

1 can Campbell’s Consomme beef broth

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1. If you are making breadcrumbs, process bread slices in food processor. (I use a combination of wheat and white bread heels, then freeze the leftovers in a ziplock so I always have breadcrumbs on hand.)

2. Slice onion and begin to sautee in vegetable oil on low heat. Combine breadcrumbs, ground elk, egg, spices, and Worcestshire. Form into 4-5 balls and flatten into patties.

3. Add patties to frying pan and cook with lid on for 4 minutes per side. It’s alright if they don’t cook all the way at this point, mine were still raw in the center. They will finish cooking when you put them back in with the gravy later.

4. Remove patties and set aside on plate. Add 2 T of flour to pan and slowly whisk in 1 can of consomme broth. Stir and simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes until broth thickens.

5. Return patties and onions to pan in broth, cover, and simmer another 5-10 minutes until patties are cooked through and sauce is thickened.