Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Barbecue Pulled Venison Recipe


Kevin and I were both craving barbecue pulled pork. Unfortunately, our freezer was fresh out of any suitable meat. That is, until a crazy idea popped into my head. What if I used that venison stew meat? Would that be any good? Would it ruin the meat? I wouldn't know unless I tried. 

And WOWZERS, I'm so glad I gave it a try. With my homemade tangy barbecue recipe on hand and this beautiful, lean venison stew meat, we ended up with an irresistibly tender pulled venison. Who would've though? Browning the meat in a skillet is key to developing the best flavor before transferring the meat to the crockpot. Then, that slow cooker does all the work for the next few hours. Once the venison is falling apart, a pair of forks does the rest of a work. I can't wait to try this again! 

Barbecue Pulled Venison Recipe
Makes 4 servings 

1 pound venison stew meat
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat. Once heated, add in stew meat, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and brown on each side. 

Spray a 4 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray and add cooked meat. Stir in barbecue sauce, onion, and garlic. Cook on high 6 hours. Using two forks pull each piece of meat apart until evenly shredded. 


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Tangy Barbecue Sauce Recipe


There's just something satisfying about making your own basic ingredients. Yes, it's "normal" and oh-so-simple to pick up a jar of your favorite barbecue sauce off of the store shelves. I've done it. I have my favorites. But knowing exactly what is in my delicious sweet, sticky, spicy sauce makes me feel that much better about what I'm eating. (Even if there is a lot of sugar involved. :D)  

Homemade Tangy Barbecue Sauce Recipe
recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes 4 cups sauce 

1-1/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder 
2 tsp Italian seasoning 
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper 

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and whisk together until even. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (or freeze)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garlic Ginger Beef Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe


Sometimes I find meat in the back crevices of the freezer and I am embarrassed to admit how long it's been stored. I'm some sort of a weird combination of bargain-hunter and food-hoarder. I find great deals, but then don't want to actually use it up. Ridiculous, right? 

Anyways, I found these lovely strip steaks, and knew they would need some fantastic flavor to overwrite their age. :) This sweet garlic-ginger stir fry was the perfect solution! This is a fast and easy dinner idea. The longest part is cooking the rice. 

Garlic Ginger Beef Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe 
recipe inspired by Rebecca on Tasty Kitchen
Serves 2

2 Tbsp canola oil
2 New York Strip steaks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 1 inch piece candied ginger, finely chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups steamed broccoli 

Slice each steak into thin strips, working against the grain. 

In a large skillet add the canola oil and heat over medium. Once hot, add in garlic and ginger and cook 1-2 minutes. Arrange the beef slices in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle in brown sugar and soy sauce. Stir to coat the beef with the sugar. Cook another 5 minutes until sticky, like syrup. 

Serve beef atop brown rice and steamed broccoli. Add additional soy sauce if desired. 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vegetable Beef (Venison) Barley Soup Recipe


As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big meat lover. But can I just be honest with you--this was THE BEST stew I have ever had in my entire life (or at least the best stew I've ever made.:D) The taste of venison sometimes weirds me out, but this was melt-in-your-mouth perfection. I stopped Kevin in the middle of a sentence to express my love for the bowl of stew in front of me. It's THAT good. 

The trick is to brown the meat in a hot skillet to form a beautiful crisp edge to seal in that flavor and add to the tenderness. Don't skip that step! The tender meat, combined with the thickness of the barley and the hearty vegetables make this stew incredible! Go on, now, TRY IT! 

Vegetable Beef (Venison) Barley Soup Recipe
recipe from Betty Crocker Cookbook
Serves 6

canola oil
1 pound venison or beef stew meat
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup 1-inch pieces of fresh or frozen green beans
1/3 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup uncooked barley
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thymed
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup beef broth or bouillon
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz tomato sauce

In a large skillet, drizzle canola oil and heat over medium. Cut the stew meat into smaller, bite sized pieces if necessary. Add in stew meat and cook on each side until crisp and browned. This is the key to delicious depth of flavor and tender stew meat!

Combine the meat and the remaining ingredients in a 5 quart slow cooker and cook on high 6-7 hours. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mexican Style Avocado Hamburger Recipe


I have come to love fresh avocado. Once a week or so, Kevin and I love to enjoy a freshly made guacamole along with homemade salsa and chips. I no longer consider the storebought super-green stuff real, true "guacamole." I'm not sure what's in that stuff, but I'll leave it on the shelf. 

Anyways, all that to say, this creamy fruit/vegetable (?!) is amazing and delicious. Why not place it on top of a spicy burger?! If you're unfamiliar with how to select an avocado, check out this post.


Mexican Style Avocado Hamburger Recipe
serves 2

1/2 pound ground chuck, sirloin, chicken, or turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce
1 avocado, sliced
2 slices of tomato
2 leaves of lettuce
Thinly sliced onion
Taco sauce

Place the ground meat in a medium bowl and add in garlic, cumin, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chili sauce. Using your hands (remove your rings), combine the seasonings into the meat. (But do not overwork or this will result in tough burgers.) Score the meat down the middle and separate into two equal sections. Form into burgers, making an indent in the centers so that they cook evenly and don't bubble up. 

Bring a skillet up to medium heat and cook the burgers, 4-5 minutes on each side. 

Meanwhile, slice the avocado in half. Remove the pit. With the flesh still attached to the skin, use a knife to slice thinly. Then, peel back the flesh and transfer the avocado slices to a serving plate. 

Place the lettuce, tomato and onion on the serving plate along with the avocado. 

Lightly toast the buns and place the cooked burgers on the bottom half. Top with avocado, tomato, onion, and lettuce. Drizzle with taco sauce. Top with remaining bun and serve along with chips and salsa. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vegetable Stew Recipe (Slow Cooker)


Perfect for a chilly winter's day, this hearty vegetable stew will fill your belly and warm you to the core. I love anything that is loaded with vegetables. I don't feel the need to have meat in every meal, but I think this stew would fill even the carnivorous eater. 

I tossed the ingredients together at 6am on Sunday morning and it was beautiful cooked and thickened by noon when we returned from church. I hope you and your family enjoy this stew as much as we did. 

Vegetable Stew Recipe (Slow Cooker)
recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
Serves 6

1 -14.5 oz can stewed or diced tomatoes
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped cabbage
1 cup chicken broth or bouillon
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients into a 4-5 quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours. Serve with crusty bread and butter.

Fresh Cabbage and Veggie Wrap Recipe


I have been on a bit of a cabbage kick lately. I used to think this heavy head of lettuce-like leaves were only for my grandma and her really smelly cabbage rolls (which I probably thoroughly enjoy now.) But I have had an extreme change of heart toward cabbage. I LOVE it. It's perfect to use in the fresh form as well--so crunchy and filling and fairly mild in taste. 

This veggie wrap is an amazing lunch, over flowing with vegetables and nutrients. I can't wait for another chance to make one for lunch. 


Fresh Cabbage and Veggie Wrap Recipe
Serves 2

2- 8-10 inch soft flour tortilla
1/2 whole carrot, grated
1/4 whole green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup freshly shredded cabbage
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
thinly sliced onion, to taste
2 Tbsp light Ranch dressing
freshly grated pepper

Arrange the vegetables down the center of each tortilla. Drizzle lightly with Ranch. Sprinkle with pepper. Tuck in the bottom edge and then wrap each side tightly around the toppings. 


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Friday, February 3, 2012

Deep Dish Sausage and Pepper Pizza Recipe


Pizza is a Friday night must-have in our house. No questions asked. Most of the time our pizza is the same. (I like routine). Crust a la bread machine, sauce, cheese, green peppers, pepperoni, onion. The result is a nice crispy crust on the thin side. We love it. 

But every once in a while I like to switch it up. And if mention DEEP DISH Kevin is drooling instantly. (Ok, so I'm the drooler, but whatever). :)  This crust has a phenomenal flavor and the sausage and pepper topping is reminescent of my Italian roots. 

Hey! It's Friday night! Try this recipe!



Deep Dish Sausage and Pepper Pizza Recipe
recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Makes 1 medium pizza, plus dough for a second (or even third) pizza


For the dough:
1 cup milk 
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp  sugar
1 tsp salt
2-1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup of water--added incrementally 

For the pizza topping:
2 Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped 
1-1/2 cup (divided) mozzarella cheese, shredded 
1/2 cup (or more) pizza sauce


In a small saucepan heat the milk to just before boiling (to scald.) Turn off heat and stir in butter, sugar and salt. Remove from heat and allow the milk mixture to cool until it is just warm to the touch. Stir in yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.

Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of stand mixture and, using the beater blade, mix in one cup of flour at a time, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Add the cup of water one tablespoon at a time. At this point, add additional flour if the dough is still wet and sticky. Change to the dough hook and knead for 8 minutes. The dough should be soft and springy when touched. 

Grease a second large bowl and transfer the dough to this new bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. 

While the dough is rising, heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet to medium heat. Once preheated, add the ground Italian sausage to the skillet and brown. Don't over-stir. Allow a nice crisp crust to form on the edges. Remove the sausage to a plate. 

Once dough is risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Punch the dough down to remove the air bubbles. Knead for 1 minute on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 2 or 3 separate pieces, reserved the extra dough balls for another time. (Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze.) 

Roll out the dough to a 14 inch circle. Butter the cast iron skillet on the sides and bottom. Press the dough into the skillet and up the sides of the pan. 

Spread with pizza sauce and 1 cup cheese, reserving 1/2 cup of the cheese for the top. Then sprinkle the remaining toppings--sausage, peppers, onions, garlic. Top with remaining cheese. (You may roll down the high edges of the crust in you wish.) 

Bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the pizza sit in the pan for an additional 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. 

Serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping.