A Personal Fave: Roasted Sweet Potato and Venison Pilaf

This was an experiment last fall in my kitchen…take a simple pilaf recipe, add venison, and then think, “Hmmm, sweet potato and cinnamon sound good…” and voila! My crazy whim actually turned out really well and my friend Cara came over that night to witness it. She had two helpings, which I think is a good review!

I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture of the meal so instead I will just share a pic of Brandon and I really excited to eat wild game! (One of us is more excited than the other.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato
  • ½ lb ground venison
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced celery2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1cup brown rice
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange the sweet potato on a pan and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until tender. Brown venison in a pan and set aside on a plate. Add olive oil to pan and sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until onions start to brown, about three minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer approximately 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked and broth is mostly absorbed. Add the sweet potatoes and venison, and stir to combine. Serve with a green vegetable. Enjoy!!

Exotic Japanese Sika Venison Soba Noodles

I don’t know about y’all but sometimes when you eat wild game all the time (two deer can last Brandon and I an entire year), you get tired of the same old recipes. Hence why I love this one, courtesy of my best turkey hunting partner Kristin Parma, a non-hunting Oregonian turned Texas huntress, who writes the blog Anxious Hunter.

Can be done with any type of venison, does not have to be Sika deer.

Ingredients

  • Ground Sika or ground venison of choice
  • 10-14 oz Japanese Soba noodles
  • 5 oz fresh Brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • Handful of bean sprouts
  • 8 oz mushrooms of choice, sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced thick
  • Sea Salt & pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Minced green onion & cilantro for garnish

Sauce ingredients

  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Japanese mirin
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Chili paste to spice preference

Instructions

Boil water and cook soba noodles per package instructions. Drain & set aside. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. If you prefer a lot of sauce, double the ingredients. Add oil to cast-iron round Dutch oven on medium high heat along with the Brussel sprouts. Toast the sprouts. Add mushrooms. Season with sea salt & pepper. Add more oil if needed to brown or a splash of sesame oil for extra flavor. Meanwhile, in a shallow cast iron skillet, brown the ground Sika. Once meat is brown, add half the sauce mix to the meat. Continue to brown until sauce is mostly absorbed. When everything is just about done add the soba noodles and the ground meat to the Brussel sprout and mushroom mixture. Add the rest of your sauce mixture along with a handful of bean sprouts & the tomato. Toss to combine. Dish into shallow serving bowls and top with minced green onion and cilantro.

Three Cheese Venison Lasagna on the Dutch Oven

I love Dutch oven cooking, and this recipe totally hit the spot recently on a camping trip to Enchanted Rock State Park. It got two thumbs up by everyone in our camping crew, including a 4-year-old boy and some very hungry hikers.

I give this recipe my approval because it is easy to shop for at the grocery store, requires minimal clean up, and preparation is simple.

Ingredients

  • 2 jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1/2 lb ground venison or beef
  • 1/2 lb ground sausage (I used a pork/venison mixture but you can use Jimmy Dean ground sausage if you don’t have access to wild game)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cups grated parmesan

Instructions BEFORE you leave on the camp out

Brown the ground meat and store in a plastic container to take with you in your cooler.

Instructions at the camp site

Light 20 charcoal bricquets on fire using a charcoal chimney.

Mix the Parmesan, 2 c. mozzarella, and eggs together in a container. Save remaining mozzarella for top of lasagna.

 

Line the dutch oven with foil.

Layer the pasta sauce, lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, meat in that order three times.

Top with mozzarella.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid.

Put 8-10 hot coal briquettes on top of the lid, and 8-10 underneath the oven.

Cook for approximately 30 minutes.

When you check on the lasagna after 30 minutes, be sure to use a lid lifter! That lid will be hot!

Be sure to check out my Dutch oven cooking tips!

Bacon Chocolate S’mores

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to join bacon and s’mores in holy matrimony.

If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – you’re too late!

Y’all read that right: BACON. CHOCOLATE. S’MORES. The instant I saw this on the internets, I knew these two should become one!

The Review

Was it good? Yes. I love the salty contrast to the chocolate and marshmallow. And bacon is just a wonderful thing.

Was it great?

I wouldn’t rank it in my top 3. Unlike the chocolate chip cookie s’mores I wrote about last week, which are, in general, universally loved by all, this one is more likely to be deeply loved and adored by a select few.

Keys to Making it Turn Out Well

  • Use plenty of bacon. Be warned: the bacon easily gets drowned out by the marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker! Avoid this potentially dangerous pitfall by putting a full strip of bacon on the s’more.
  • Make the bacon before you leave home for your camp out so you don’t have to fry it on site.

Hope y’all enjoy this! Check out my other s’more recipes here: Advanced S’more Recipes.

Venison Mac ‘n Cheese on the Dutch Oven

We tried this venison mac ‘n cheese recently and it was so delicious! Beef can be easily substituted for venison. The best part is that there are only 4 steps, so you don’t have to waste time preparing food when you could be enjoying the great outdoors!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or venison, browned before you leave home
  • 2 cups macaroni, cooked before you leave home!
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used an entire bag)
  • 1 cup milk
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Nonstick foil

Instructions

  1. Cook venison and macaroni before you leave on the camping trip.
  2. Line bottom of Dutch oven with foil.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in the Dutch oven and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
  4. Bake 30-40 minutes; use 10 coals on the bottom of the Dutch oven and 14 on top.

Important Dutch oven cooking basics:

Serve with a salad or something green for some color contrast.

So delish! 6/6 hungry campers agree.

Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores

This weekend while camping with friends in Bastrop State Park I tried chocolate chip cookie s’mores for the first time ever and my mind was blown. How I never thought to try this delicious combination before, I don’t know, but my after-dinner s’more ritual will never be the same. They were seriously so good!

My previous favorite, Fudge Stripe S’mores, still comes in at #2 in my favorite s’mores of all time list but these win the top spot.

There were some key aspects to these s’mores which made them stand out:

  • The cookies were home made. Need I say more.
  • The cookies were thin. Having a thin cookie kept the cookie-to-marshmallow proportion just right, so the cookies didn’t overpower the marshmallow.

Making the perfect s’more is an art!

Ingredients

  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • Telescoping skewers

Instructions

  • Roast your marshmallow to your heart’s content
  • Put the chocolate chip cookies near the fire to warm them up
  • Sandwich the marshmallow between two chocolate chip cookies
  • Enjoy!

So good it should be illegal.

PS. In order to get these pictures for the blog, I have to make my s’mores in daylight, which means eating them before I’ve actually had any dinner. It’s the cross I must bear.

Venison Ossobuco with Saffron Rice

I found inspiration for this ossobuco recipe in the pages of Afield, one of my go to wild game cookbooks. It is a collection of recipes and outdoor photography, with step by step guidance on how get your food from the field to the table without sacrificing taste or sophistication.  I recommend it to all you lady hunters out there.

Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish. Amazon.com

Aside from being a fun word to say, ossobuco is an Italian dish traditionally made with veal. But, since we’re kind of into wild game around here, I’m substituting venison backstrap. And I changed it to be done on the slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole venison backstraps (I recommend marinating them)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c. flour
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 onions (Save 1/4 c for the rice)
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • lemon zest (1 lemon’s worth)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced

For Saffron Rice:

  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 1 package Uncle Ben’s Instant Basmati Rice
  • 1/4 c onions from above
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c. hot water

Instructions

  • Season the venison with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour

  • Remove the venison from the pot and put the sage, bay leaves, carrots, onions, and celery in the pot

  • Cook until the vegetables are tender (10 minutes)
  • Pour in the chicken stock and wine, and bring to a boil.
  • Put everything in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for three hours until done.

Saffron Rice

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan
  • Throw in the onions and cook until they sweat

  • Crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle if you have it, or the end of a fork and a bowl will do!
  • Put 1/4 c hot water in the saffron pestle
  • Microwave the rice according to package instructions
  • Put rice in the pan with the onions, drizzle the saffron and water mixture over the rice, and stir together

Serve venison over rice.

Yum!

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Chocolate Caramel S’mores

Mmmmm…s’mores. Caramel lovers, this one’s for you. While it doesn’t have the wow factor that peanut butter cup s’mores or Nutella s’more have, this is still delicious.

For other unique s’more recipes see the Advanced S’more Making section of this blog.

What You’ll Need

Instructions

  • Drizzle the caramel sauce over the chocolate and graham cracker (you’ll want to have a plate handy)

  • Toast your marshmallow to your heart’s content (do you like it burned or golden brown?)
  • Enjoy!

Fudge Stripe S’mores (The BEST ones yet!)

One of the crosses I have to bear with this blog is testing out s’more recipes for the Advanced S’more Making section. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it! So far I’ve tried Strawberry Nutella S’mores, Chocolate Reeses S’mores, and many others, but I’m excited to announce today that I’ve tried my favorite one yet: I present…drumroll please… the Keebler Fudge Stripe S’more.

How could this be better than a normal s’more?! you may be wondering. To this I respond:

  1. The consistency of the fudge stripe cookie is softer than a graham cracker and therefore harmonizes better with the soft gentle texture of a roasted marshmallow.
  2. The cookie comes with chocolate already applied, so you don’t have to juggle a second package of chocolate while also dealing with the marshmallow and cookie. Simplify your life.
  3. The chocolate melts faster than a typical chocolate bar and we all know that melted chocolate tastes better than cold chocolate! No unpleasant crunch, just warm gooey goodness.
  4. The fudge stripe cookie is the exact width of a normal roasted marshmallow, so you don’t have any bites of s’more that don’t have marshmallow. And for those of you OCD types like me, it’s more pleasing to the eye to have the ratios precise. One compact little marshmallow and cookie experience with all of the proportions perfect. (Is it weird that makes me really happy?)
  5. Lastly, it takes up less space in your camping gear and is less expensive! Not that s’mores break the bank…

As you can see, I’ve thought through this. Here is the recipe, I hope you try it out!

What You’ll Need

Instructions

  1. Roast the marshmallow according to your heart’s desire. (Are you a burnt mallow person or a lightly toasted mallow person?? I’m a burnt person myself.)
  2. Slide it off in between two fudge stripe cookies.
  3. Enjoy.

Here’s the before and after:

Before…

After…

Nom.

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A Delicious Breakfast Casserole for Camping

A few weeks ago I did a dutch oven cooking demonstration for the Stewards of the Wild trip to the coast, and made a breakfast casserole. Today I wanted to share the recipe and pics.

Dutch oven cooking may sound intimidating but this recipe is just as easy as cooking over a Coleman stove. Nothing beats starting the day with a good hot breakfast when you’re out on a camping trip or at the ranch, and this can even be made at home in the city.

Before you start, here’s a primer on Dutch oven cooking

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter (I recommend keeping bacon grease on hand for dutch oven meals, with the exception of desserts–in that case use crisco)
  • 1 bag frozen hash browns
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lb Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage (or venison sausage)
  • 1 dozen eggs, whisked
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (I recommend getting the pre-diced containers of these ingredients at the store)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional add-ins
    • Mushrooms
    • Spinach
  • Optional toppings
    • Sriracha
    • Salsa
    • Quesa fresca
    • Chopped cilantro
    • Avocado

To Do Before You Leave the House

  1. Chop onions and bell peppers
  2. Crack and whisk eggs
  3. Brown the sausage in a skillet
  4. Store in separate containers

Instructions

  • Prepare hot coals by either:
  • Prepare a cooking space where you can safely put hot coals without catching anything on fire. The ground works well as long as it is bare and not within a foot or so of the grass.
  • Place a layer of non-stick foil inside the dutch oven, pressing it out with your hands so that it hugs the sides and bottom of the oven
  • Layer the ingredients!
    • Place the sausage in the bottom of the oven
    • Place a 1″ layer of hashbrowns on top of the sausage
    • Add the bell peppers and onions on top of the hashbrowns

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  • Pour the whisked eggs over the top

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  • Spread a thick layer of shredded cheese over the top
  • Put the lid on the oven and place 10 coals underneath and 10 coals on top, ensuring the coals are spaced out evenly both under and on top of the oven (to ensure the heat is evenly disbursed)

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  • Cook for 30 minutes or until done
  • If conditions are windy/cold, you may need to add a few additional hot coals midway through the cooking process
  • Serve with hot sauce, sriracha, salsa, pico, guac, quesa fresca, cilantro, or whatever your heart desires.
  • Serves 8, give or take depending on serving size and how hungry your party is.

It looks like I have no “After” photo, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was delicious. I hope you get the chance to enjoy this on a future camping trip!

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