Skillet Tortellini with Wild Game Pasta Sauce

Since I am really only cooking for one most of the time during the winter due to Joe’s work hours, I often find myself with leftovers to eat. This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal that takes only about 15 minutes to prepare and makes fantastic leftovers that you won’t mind having around the house. Please note that this recipe can be doubled easily for a family of four. I made this recipe with the thawed ground elk meat that had been sitting in the fridge for a while and needed to be used up. This is a basic sauce because tomato puree was all I had on hand, and it turned out good for this recipe. As an alternative, this spaghetti sauce recipe is a favorite of mine if I have a little time to spare and the ingredients it requires.

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Skillet Tortellini with Wild Game Pasta Sauce

Yield: (3) 1- cup servings

  • 2 cups frozen cheese tortellini (I used Great Value brand)
  • 1/2 lb. ground wild game
  • 1 1/2 c (12 oz.) tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Italian Blend or mozzerella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

Seasoning:

  • Italian seasoning
  • Basil
  • Garlic salt
  • Season salt
  • Black pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano

1. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and brown ground meat with diced onion. Meanwhile, start water boiling in a medium pot for the tortellini.

2. Liberally season meat mixture by shaking in Italian seasoning (about 1 T.), and basil, garlic salt, season salt, black pepper, onion powder, and oregano in smaller batches (about 1/2 tsp.) until you achieve your desired taste.

3. As meat browns, crumble with a wooden spoon and add in tomato puree and half of the parmesan cheese (1/4 cup).

4. Simmer meat and sauce on LOW heat until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.   Taste and add more spices if desired.

5. Measure out 2 cups frozen cheese tortellini and boil for 3 minues until pasta in tender.

6. Drain pasta, rinse, and pour into frying pan with meat and sauce mixture.

7. Stir gently to combine. Top pasta with Italian blend shredded cheese (or mozzerella) and remaining 1/4 c parmesan cheese.

8. Serve immediately.

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The Calm Before the Storm

I hope your Sunday is everything you had planned it to be. This Sunday afternoon we have what I like to call The Calm Before the Storm: when there is eerily no wind at all for an extended period of time, but the skies to the north and west darken in anticipation of the coming storm.

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I could not resist the opportunity to go for a run this afternoon due to The Calm Before the Storm and 41 * temps, even though I had intended to take today off since I have run the past three days. I knew I would regret it if I did not take advantage of these rare conditions, so I set out for a 3 mile out-and-back trip to watch the clouds darken to the north and the storm roll in. And now, and hour later, the storm has arrived and the snow is falling.

Yesterday I decided to flip back to an old recipe and make bread for the week. Molasses Wheat Sandwich Bread is from the cookbook A Taste of Dubois. It has been a while since I have made this bread, the last time being while I was still working as a pastry chef two years ago. When I make a sandwich or put an egg on toast, I like a hearty wheat bread, and this fits the bill. It has a distinct flavor from the molasses but is not overly sweet. This recipe makes a wholesome sandwich bread that would also be a good side for soups just plain with a smear of butter. The only suprise was that the slices do not get as large as store-bought sandwich bread, probably only half the size, which is fine by me because it is a filling bread anyway. Just be prepared for smaller sandwiches!

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Molasses Wheat Sandwich Bread

Yield: 1 loaf (approximately 17 sandiwch slices)

Bowl #1

  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 T butter
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. old fashioned oats

Bowl #2

  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. warm water
  • 1 pkg. yeast (1/4 oz.)
  • 2 T. Molasses
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour + 1 T. for kneading
  • 1 1/2 cup AP Flour + 1 T. for kneading

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1. In a mixing bowl combine boiling water, butter, salt, and sugar. Stir in oats and allow to cool for one minute.

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2. In another larger mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.

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3.  Stir in molasses, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add oat mixutre and the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour to make a stiff dough.

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4. Transfer dough onto pastry mat or board to knead until smooth and elastic. I added another Tablespoon of both whole wheat and AP flour during this stage to get the dough to the desired consistency.

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5. Shape dough into a ball.

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6. Place in a greased bowl sprayed with cooking spray, turning once to coat both sides.

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7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1.5 hours (mine rose for 2 hours while I was out doing errands.)

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8. Remove from bowl and shape into a log. Fold into thirds.

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9. Now fold into half and place into a greased loaf pan.

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10. Bake at 375* for 4o minutes until lightly browned. Check at 30 minutes to see if the bread needs to be covered with tin foil for the last 10 minues if it is getting too brown. Loosen and remove from pan and allow to cool. I don’t have a wire rack, so I simply invert my loaf pan and let the bread rest on it.

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11. Once bread is completely cooled, slice into individual slices using a bread knife, if desired.

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My loaf yielded 17 sandwich slices, which I packaged into ziplock bags to make my own loaf for the week (6 slices per quart-bag, then all bags into a gallon-bag).

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Nutrition Data– From Spark Recipe Calculator, per 1/17 slice:

Calories- 106

Fat- 0.75 g

Total Carbohydrate- 23 g

Dietary Fiber- 0.75 g

Protein- 2.3 g