Elk Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I made these enchiladas with a use-up-what-we-have mentality and they turned out pretty good. I think they tasted better the second day, actually. They would be good using chicken and cream of chicken in the sauce recipe, too.

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Elk Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 2/3 lb ground elk/venison/meat
  • 5 medium flour tortillas ( I use Mission Carb Balance)
  • 1 c. shredded cheese ( cheddar / cheddar jack)
  • season salt
  • Green onions, optional

Homemade Enchilada Sauce:

  • 3/4 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 c. tomato puree
  • 3/4 c Mild Rotel
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper
  • cilantro

Preheat oven to 350.

1. First prepare the sauce. On medium heat combine mushroom soup with tomato puree, 1/2 c Rotel, and spices in a frying pan. I did not measure the spices, so add a little at a time until you get the level of desired heat.

2. Transfer enchilada sauce to a small bowl. Spray the pan with cooking spray and cook meat until no longer pink. Season with season salt.

3. Add half the sauce into meat and stir to combine.

4. Begin assembly: Scoop meat into each tortilla and top with a big pinch of shredded cheese. Roll and place into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Repeat five times or until all enchiladas are assembled.

5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top and sprinkle the remaining cheese.

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5. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Gardening Tip-  These green onions are from the garden. After harvesting them, I washed and finely chopped the onions put them into a clean, empty pop bottle that I keep in the freezer. That way I can shake out however many onions I need throughout the year.

Spicy Venison Sausage Pasta

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I have been wanting to make this recipe for the past few weeks since I came across it on Pinterest, and tonight was the night. This dish is a winner and I will definately be  making it again. The original recipe uses turkey sausage, and can be found over at Kevin and Amanda’s blog. I made a couple tweaks and  followed the recipe using venison bratwurst made with my deer last year. The brats were made with a sausage kit and have hash browns and onion mixed in with the venison to add flavor. This pasta was delicious but it does pack some heat, but nothing overwhelming as long as you stick with the mild Rotel. I was skeptical about using the entire can, but am glad I did. If you don’t like some spice, this is not for you : )

Spicy Venison Sausage Pasta

  • (2) venison bratwurst
  • 1  1/3 c uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 can Rotel, mild (10 oz.)
  • 1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz)
  • 1/2 c Half and Half ( I use fat-free)
  • 1 c. Three Pepper Cheese= colby jack
  • 1 c. diced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 T. diced Green onion
  • 1 T. olive oil

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1. Pour 1 T. olive oil in medium saucepan and saute diced onion and garlic with brats. I kept my brats whole at this point, as in the past when I have sliced them into round pieces first, they have gotten burnt and chewy.

2. Once onions/garlic are tender (3-4 minutes), remove from pan and set aside. At this point, the brats should be expanding and beginning to brown.

3. Now it is safe to slice brats into 1/4-inch round pieces and return to frying pan. Add about 1/3 c water to pan so that brats continue to cook for 7-10 more minutes without burning.

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4. Add onions/garlic back into pan, along with the can of Rotel, can of chicken broth, half and half, and pasta, salt and pepper, and allow to rise to a low boil. Your half and half will curdle slightly and then combine into the mixture–I was worried at first adding the cream here, but it turned out fine.

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5. Keep at a low boil until pasta is tender, about 8 minutes.

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6. Remove from heat, sprinkle with 1 c. cheese, and cover with lid to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with green onion* and enjoy!

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*Garden Tip!! Green Onions can be diced and the extra can be frozen in an empty plastic water bottle so that when you need just a sprinkle, you can pour the onions out frozen and be on your way with zero waste! I used green onion left from our garden this summer in this dish.

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.

Grilled Elk Steak w/ Bacon Wrap

These steaks came out extremely tender with great flavor, and a little kick.

You will need:

  • 1 lb elk steak, butterflied (this was backstrap)
  • 1 slice bacon per steak
  • toothpicks
  • Dry Rub= A Shake of the following: cumin, onion powder, chili powder, salt, Mrs Dash lemon pepper, Hi Mountain Seasoning Elk Seasoning, garlic pepper, cayenne pepper, and worcestshire (not pictured)

1. Marinade meat in refrigerator with the dry rub for desired length of time (we did 2 days).

2. Preheat grill. Wrap each butterflied steak with a slice of raw bacon and secure with toothpicks.

3. Grill steaks 15-17 minutes to medium-rare. Mine were pretty thick, so adjust time accordinly if your steaks are on the thin side. I flipped each steak twice.

Cajun Elk Backstrap + Elk Camp

This past Sunday Joe and I rounded up our four horses and headed into elk camp. After a 4.5 hour ride we arrived and set up camp, where we spent the next three nights with Strawberry, Yolanda, Taz, and Ruger in some beautiful, rugged, wild country at 10,000 ft. among the bighorn sheep, mule deer, and elk.

On opening day we rode down the canyon of the drainage we were camped in and saw once nice bull headed for the hills, literally. On day two we saw three cows, and several bighorn sheep, including a group of six rams. We moved camp a few miles further up in preparation for our final day.

With frost on the inside of our dome tent, we were up early and headed out while the full moon was still high in the sky. We began the ascent up the switchbacks that would lead us over the top of a pass and into the next drainage, which we were confident that no one else had recently been in. About 2/3 of the way to the top, at 11,300 ft in elevation, two raghorns appeared in front of us on the skyline. After a look through the binos, Joe cow-called as we stepped off the ponies to observe. As the elk walked behind a small hill, I moved another 40 yards closer before they reappeared on the horizon, putting me within 330 yards. I laid down and got as comfy as I could resting on a rock, lying just above an old rock Indian blind we rode by as we came up the canyon. Holding steady, my first shot went through the lungs, the second through the spine, resulting in an immediate downward tumble. Joe’s whoop of celebration echoed off the mountains around us as the remaining elk scurried away across the canyon. After three years, I had my first elk.

“Look at where we are right now, this is what matters,” Joe said as I walked back down to him and the horses. And he is right. The experience is what matters most, beyond whether an elk is harvested, or how big it is. Being out in the backcountry and living simply off the land, appreciating the cycle of life, and respecting the wilderness and its inhabitants for all that it is. While riding 40 miles and packing an elk out horseback is a lot more work than dragging and loading it into the back of a pickup, the reward is also greater, in that the experience is fuller and more intense. More sore backs and sore horses, too. But I appreciate the hard work of the horses and humans involved, and respect the elk and the life it was living in the mountains. I am grateful for its harvest, as it will feed our family for the next year, and that bull will graciously enable us to continue to make meals from the mountains.

This afternoon we butchered the elk at the shop, and made our first meal with our fresh elk meat this evening.

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Cajun Elk Backstrap

1. Cut backstrap into 1/2-inch  steaks and marinade in Italian dressing for at least 4 hours.

2. Heat oil in frying pan until it bubbles, I use just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

3. Dump in steaks and season with Cajun seasoning; we use “Cajun Campfire” from Hi Mountain Seasonings.

4. Fry on medium heat for 2 minutes, flip, cook for 2 minutes, and repeat cycle once. Steaks should be cooked to medium-rare at this point.

I served these steaks with Ranch and Bacon Diced Potatoes.

Chipotle Elk Enchiladas

Today I took a detour from the typical “taco Tuesday” routine and experimented with my standard enchilada recipe by incorporationg chipotle peppers. This is one of those fairly common “specialty items” not available at the local grocery store and many recipes I have tried in the past have called for them and I have always had to omit or substitue green chilis. So, I was excited to give these babies a try after buying some during my last trip over the mountain. The results were positive, with distinctly restaurant-tasting enchiladas.

1. Gather spices to make taco seasoning if making your own. You will need 4 tsp. of homemade taco seasoning or packaged.

2. Combine spices and save extra in a sealed container or glass jar.

3. Cook ground elk with yellow and green onions and seasonings.

FYI- Save money and grow your own green onions, never buy them again!  I keep two green onions growing in my house year-round. I started them from store-bought ones over six months ago and they are still going strong, even after being transplanted outside for the summer. They do require a lot of sunlight and a lot of water, so plan you window-placement accordingly!

 4. Now, the enchilada sauce: combine tomato sauce, 1 T. salsa, and 1 chipotle pepper in food processor and blend until smooth.

5. Add enchilada sauce to ground beef mixture and simmer.

 

6. Lay our four medium flour tortillas and fill each with ground beef mixture. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar.

7. Roll each tortilla and place into a greased 8×8 inch pan. Top with 1 T. of salsa and coat evenly, then add remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350, covered with foil. Broil one more minute.

8. Garnish with green onions and pour yourself a margarita–These were very tasty and filling with a distinctly smoky, savory flavor from the chipotle.

Chipotle Elk Enchiladas

Serves 2

1 lb ground elk (ground beef or chicken will work too)

1 T. medium salsa

1/3 c shredded cheddar

1 oz. pepperjack cheese

1/4 c yellow onion

2 green onions

4 medium flour tortillas

Cooking spray

4 tsp. of homemade taco seasoning or packaged

Enchilada Sauce:

Chipotle in adobo- 1 pepper

8 oz tomato sauce

1 T. salsa

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Preheat oven to 350.

1. Combine seasonings to make taco seasoning.

2. Chop onions and sautee with ground elk on medium heat. Season with taco seasoning.

3. Make the enchilada sauce by combining the tomato sauce, 1 T. salsa, and 1 chipolte pepper in adobo in a food processor and blending until smooth. 1 pepper added quite a punch and unless you like it very spicy, I would not recommend adding any more.

4. Add enchilada sauce and pepperjack cheese to ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Simmer 2-3 minutes on low.

5. Prepare enchiladas by scooping roughly one-quarter of the ground beef mixture into each tortilla and top with 1 T. shredded cheddar each. Fold tortillas and place into greased 8×8 inch pan. Top tortillas with 1 T. salsa and spread with the back of a spoon to coat the tortillas completely. Sprinkle remaining cheddar on top.

5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 1 minute to lightly brown the cheese.

6. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Venison Potato Brat Omelet

I have eaten my fair share of deer brats over the past 10 months and still have about 15 packages to go. While I am so thankful for the deer, harvested last fall with my late season deer tag, and for the meat it provided us, I am a little tired of eating brats in the traditional form on a bun (or in a rolled up piece of bread if you too cheap to buy buns, wink wink). To use up the rest of the stockpile, I have gotten creative. This is the second time I have made Venison Potato Brat Omelets. I really like eating brats this way, and it is a filling, quick, and inexpensive meal that would be great for breakfast, too. This is a basic recipe, so of course feel free to add additional vegetables, different cheeses, etc. to suit your taste.

Venison brats, thanks to this guy:

For this recipe you could substitue non-game brats just as easily. 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. Hi Mountain is a local company that has a variety of products to process your own game.

Venison Potato Brat Omelet

Serves 2

2 Venison brats

1 T. olive oil

1/4 c. diced yellow onion

2 diced green onions (I had just harvested them from the garden and needed to use them)

3 eggs

1 T. milk

2 oz. pepperjack cheese, slices torn up or shredded

1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 c water

salsa, optional

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1. Dice onions and sautee in 1 T. olive oil. Slice up uncooked brats into round pieces and add to onions.  Add 1/2 c water to frying pan so that the brats don’t get scorched. Cook on medium heat covered with lid. Stir gently with a spatula every few minutes and add more water if necessary.

2. Meanwhile, scramble 3 eggs with 1 T. milk. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

3. The brats take about 10-15 minutes to cook through. Once they are done, turn down the heat to low and add in the egg mixture.

4. Cover with lid, cook on low for 1-2 minutes until eggs begin to set and turn off heat.  Once eggs begin to set, add cheeses and cover with lid to melt the cheese. DO NOT STIR. Make sure the heat is low enough here that the bottom does not burn.

5. Remove from heat and use a spatula to cut omelet into pieces. Serve with salsa if you like.