Archive for September, 2013

Easy, Cheesy, Whitetail Pockets

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Whitetail Pockets Plated

Easy, Cheesy, Whitetail Pockets

Take those frozen pockets to the next level with this very simple recipe – a couple all natural ingredients, one spice blend, and pre-made dough. While we had these freshly made for dinner, this recipe also makes for a great make-ahead lunch. Or you could be everyone’s favorite carpool mom and give these as a hearty snack to kids between school and sports practice. Once you whip up a batch of these wholesome, savory, cheesy pockets, you’ll discover for yourself how easily this handheld deliciousness satisfies every hungry mouth in your house (or carpool).

Ingredients

  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits (Pillsbury or the like. Comes 8 to a can.)
  • 1 lb. whitetail venison, ground
  • 1 Tbs. Michigan Venison Company All Natural Original Blend Venison Seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

 

Instructions

Preparing Filling:

Pour 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil into large sauce pan. Once pan reaches medium-high heat, add ground venison and Michigan Venison Company All Natural Original Blend Venison Seasoning. Brown thoroughly, remove venison from pan, and set aside. To the now seasoned pan, add rutabaga, carrot, and onion. Cook covered over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until carrot and rutabaga are ‘al dente’.  Combine meat with vegetables, stir in cheese, and remove from heat.

Preparing Pockets:

Preheat oven according to refrigerated biscuit instructions.

Flatten each biscuit until it is 1/4″ thick, or about 6-7″ in diameter. Place in foil-lined baking sheet. Scoop one heaping spoonful, or about 2 Tbs., of filling onto one side of the dough round. Fold the other side over, stretching as needed until outside edges meet. Pinch outer edge closed using the end of a fork (photo below). Bake according to biscuit instructions, or until pocket crust is golden brown. Serve hot.

Photos and Feedback

We prepped the pocket rounds by hand while we impatiently waited for the root veggies to cook through. This way, as soon as we combined all the filling ingredients together, we had the pockets all lined up and ready to fill. Our whitetail pockets were a beautiful golden brown after a short 13 minutes. We were not able to stuff all of the filling into our whitetail pockets, but polished off what was left with spoons. After passing the taste test with flying colors, we loved how we only needed one bottle from our spice cabinet to enhance the flavors.

Substitutions: Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of rutabaga or carrots. You could easily swap these out for other vegetables: peas, spinach, squash, sweet potato, anything that suits your palate. As far as cheese goes, you could cut back on the amount of cheese you add, or substitute mozzarella for the cheddar to make a leaner pocket.

Let us know what you think of our latest creation! As always, we love feedback and sharing venison cooking tips! Cheers!

 

One rutabaga, one large carrot, one onion: chopped.

One rutabaga, one large carrot, one onion: chopped.

Once venison has been browned, remove from sauce pan to make room for veggies.

Once venison has been browned with Michigan Venison Company All Natural Original Blend Venison Seasoning, remove from sauce pan to make room for veggies.

Whitetail Pocket filling, ready to go.

Whitetail Pocket filling, ready to go.

We just used our fingers to flatten and stretch the pre-portioned pocket dough. Doesn't get much easier!

We just used our fingers to flatten and stretch the pre-portioned pocket dough. Doesn’t get much easier!

Scoop about 2Tbs. of filling onto bottom half of pocket round. Fold top half of round over filling and align edges of pocket. Seal the pocket by pressing the end of a fork along the outer edge.

Scoop about 2Tbs. of filling onto bottom half of pocket round. Fold top half of round over filling and align edges of pocket. Seal the pocket by pressing the end of a fork along the outer edge.

One can of refrigerated biscuits makes 8 whitetail pockets - just enough for a hungry family of four.

One can of refrigerated biscuits makes 8 whitetail pockets – just enough for a hungry family of four.

Bake pockets according to refrigerated biscuit directions, or until pockets have a beautiful golden crust like this.

Bake pockets according to refrigerated biscuit directions, or until pockets have a beautiful golden crust like this.

You can eat your Whitetail Pocket either with a fork and knife, or just with your hands. We explored both options, without a definite preference of style.

You can eat your Whitetail Pocket either with a fork and knife, or just with your hands. We explored both options, without a definite preference of style.

Venison Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash

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Venison Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash

This is a great meal for those of you trying to cut down on carbs, or those of you who get serious cravings for vegetables! This paleo-friendly dish is packed with flavor and nutrition, without the those carbs that leave you feeling heavy after a meal. Not only is it low in fat, it is packed with protein, fiber, iron, vitamin C, and many more essential vitamins and minerals to keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground whitetail venison
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, chopped
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (we chose ‘fire-roasted tomato and garlic’ sauce)
  • 2 spaghetti squash, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 1 Tbs. basil
  • 1/2 Tbs. oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs. thyme
  • water (for squash)

Instructions

Sauce

Pour oil into bottom of a large sauce pan and bring to medium-high heat. Brown ground venison with black pepper, paprika, and red wine. Remove venison from pan and set aside. Keeping pan at medium-high heat, add zucchini, onion, basil, oregano, and thyme. Sauté vegetables until caramelization begins on zucchini. Add venison back to pot. Add spaghetti sauce, cover pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.

 

Spaghetti Squash

Place spaghetti squash halves face down in microwave-safe, glass dish with walls about 2 inches high. Add 1/2 inch water to bottom of dish. Microwave squash on high for 10 minutes and check for softness. Checking for softness: use kitchen tongs to gently squeeze the outside skin as squash will be very hot. If squash is not completely soft, return to microwave at 5 minute increments on high until soft. Scrape meat from squash into a large bowl using tongs for holding and a fork for scraping (see photo below for reference). The spaghetti squash should come apart very easily into strands that look like spaghetti. Load your plate with spaghetti squash as you would pasta, top with sauce, and dig in!

 

Photos and Feedback

Okay, so we went and ruined the paleo-friendly part of the meal by adding parmesan cheese on top of the awesome smelling venison spaghetti with spaghetti squash. Guilty as charged. But this last little detail is NOT necessary in order to thoroughly enjoy the delicious and nutritious meal you just made with love. Another handy garnish would be hot pepper flakes for those at your table who enjoy a little more kick in their sauce. Lastly, if your jar of sauce doesn’t come loaded with garlic like ours did, you may want to toss some minced garlic in while you’re sautéing your veggies.

 

Ground venison with paprika, ground black pepper, and red wine. Make sure venison is browned thoroughly before removing from pan.

Ground venison with paprika, ground black pepper, and red wine. Make sure venison is browned thoroughly before removing from pan.

Once venison is transferred to a bowl, add zucchini, onion, basil, oregano, and thyme to large sauce pan. Cook until zucchini begins to caramelize, and onions begin to turn translucent.

Once venison is transferred to a bowl, add zucchini, onion, basil, oregano, and thyme to large sauce pan. Cook until zucchini begins to caramelize, and onions begin to turn translucent.

Once veggies have been sautéed, add meat back to sauce pan. Add jar of spaghetti sauce.

Once veggies have been sautéed, add meat back to sauce pan. Add jar of spaghetti sauce.

Once you add the jar of spaghetti sauce, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes - or just as long as it takes to get the spaghetti squash prepped and ready to serve.

Once you add the jar of spaghetti sauce, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes – or just as long as it takes to get the spaghetti squash prepped and ready to serve.

Above: Spaghetti squash not cleaned. Below: Spaghetti squash properly cleaned with a spoon.

Above: Spaghetti squash not cleaned. Below: Spaghetti squash properly cleaned with a spoon.

Place squash halves face down (or skin up) in glass baking dish. Add water until about 1/2" of squash is submerged in water. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, then in 5 minute increments as needed until squash is soft for scraping.

Place squash halves face down (or skin up) in glass baking dish. Add water until about 1/2″ of squash is submerged in water. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, then in 5 minute increments as needed until squash is soft for scraping.

How to make 'spaghetti' out of spaghetti squash: Step 1) hold squash with tongs. Step 2) scrape inside of squash with fork until skin is completely hollowed out.

How to make ‘spaghetti’ out of spaghetti squash: Step 1) hold squash with tongs. Step 2) scrape inside of squash with fork until skin is completely hollowed out.

Spaghetti squash ready for sauce.

Spaghetti squash ready for sauce.

After simmering low and slow, your sauce will not only smell fantastic, but the veggies will be fully cooked and the flavors of each ingredient will come together to delight and comfort your taste buds as well.

After simmering low and slow, your sauce will not only smell fantastic, but the veggies will be fully cooked and the flavors of each ingredient will come together to delight and comfort your taste buds as well.

Finished product! Guilt-free second helpings were enjoyed by all.

Finished product! Guilt-free second helpings were enjoyed by all.