Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homemade Sauce and Venison Lasagna

This recipe was the inspiration:


Here is my version with some changes:

1 pound sweet Italian Sausage ground (or ground pork)
2 pounds ground venison
1 chopped onion
1 head of garlic, chopped
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
1 cup red wine (I used Anakena Carmenere – it’s a Chilean wine)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (not necessary if it is already in sausage)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons dried oregano

cheese filling

15 oz low fat cottage cheese
1 extra large egg beaten
1 cup grated Romano and Parmesan cheese mixture
2-3 teaspoons parsley
2-3 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
1.Brown all the meat, add chopped onions and cook for a few minutes, then add garlic and cook for another few minutes.

2.Add seasonings and mix well.

3.Mix the wine and tomato paste and pour in the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Add the tomato sauce and can of crushed tomatoes and mix again. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for 1-2 hours.

4.Make filling: Whisk egg and then blend into cheese and spices, stirring well to break up cottage cheese and egg into a smooth mixture.

5.To assemble, spread a good amount of the meat on the bottom of a standard 9-inch by 13-inch casserole pan. Remove the lasagna noodles and lay on the meat sauce. Spread half the cheese mixture on the noodles.

6.Add another layer of meat sauce then the rest of the noodles. Add the remaining cheese mix Spread the remaining meat sauce on this, then sprinkle with the last bit of parm/romano.

7.To cook, cover the lasagna with foil. You might want to spray the underside first with non-stick spray so the cheese doesn’t stick to it. Bake covered for 25 minutes.

8.Carefully take off the foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

9.Let the lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Venison Shepherd's Pie in a pinch...

Do you see the trend here?  Are you catching on?  Venison!  We have a freezer full of it, and baby I'm cooking it!  But here was my dilemma the other night.  A package of straight ground venison was defrosting.  Original plan had to be aborted due to lack of fresh ingredients at the store.  I took stock of what I had, what I didn't have and BAM!

Venison Shepherd's Pie in a pinch was born.  This came out really good, was semi-quick to make and since it is just the 2 of us, provided a good amount of leftovers.  I'm not a huge fan of shepherd's pie.  Some of you may not even know what it is.  I sure didn't.  Not until I went to college in VT anyhow.  Where at the beautiful Huden Dining Hall they served it up.  At the time I was a vegetarian and sadly missed out on it, but a few years later a friend made it with venison and I enjoyed it.  What's not to like?  Meat, potatoes and veggies all in one dish!  Oh and ketchup!  And you know, I love my ketchup.

Venison Shepherd's Pie in a Pinch...

1 pound ground Venison (we do not get ours mixed with anything)
1 onion
1 tablespoon flour
2-3 tablespoons ketchup
Frozen Peas, Carrots and Corn
1/2 cup water
1 tsp thyme

6 cups of boxed mashed potatoes prepared.  I add black pepper and parsley to mine.

Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or whatever blend you have.  We used Fiesta for this.)

Brown venison and onions.  Add flour and ketchup, mix and let thicken up a little.  Add thyme.  Then add water and veggies and cook until heated through.  In a prepared (sprayed with Pam) dish, place in meat/veggie mixture and top with prepare boxed mashed potatoes (I prefer homemade, but we didn't have any potatoes).  Then sprinkle with cheese.  Place dish in a preheated over to 425 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden on top.

Served with homemade biscuits. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

The inspiration for this was a recipe I found for a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.  I had been craving it, and then finally decided to try it as a protein shake.  Uhm, YUM.

1 Frozen Sliced Banana
1/3 cup Pumpkin Puree (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling)
1/3 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
6 oz Vanilla Almond Milk
1tsp of Vanilla
dash of cloves
dash of pumpkin pie spice
1 scoop of Vanilla Protein powder

Blend and serve!

I am a pumpkin fanatic... and this was amazing.  I haven't tried it with my usual spinach added yet, but I plan too.  In the meantime, definitely yummy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Venison Steak... for breakfast!

I've never eaten steak for breakfast.  In the 32 years I've been alive, it's just not my idea of a breakfast meat.  But we had a small among of leftover venison steak from dinner the night before, so I figured I would try it.  I just quickly sauteed the sliced venison in a pan on the stove and served with the following:

I used the Smashed Red Potatoes from the night before to make some really killer home fries.  Just a little EVOO in the frying pan, dump the leftover potatoes in and saute until desired crispness! 

A 2 egg omelet with onions and tomato with a dash of parsley, black pepper and milk.  And a toasted everything bagel thin. 

And... ketchup.  Yes, I am one of those people who eats their eggs with ketchup.  Deal with it. 

All in all, it was a fabulous brunch.  I don't know that I would purposely cook a steak in the morning to have with breakfast, but I enjoyed it. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grilled Venison Steak with Smashed Red Potatoes!

I realize it has been awhile since I've blogged, and I'd love to say I'll be better, but who knows!  Recently I have been cooking and baking more, thanks to cooler weather and lots of venison in our freezer.  We are almost exclusively a venison household at the moment, which has been a lot of fun to experiment with.  Part of the reason I wanted to start blogging again was because there seems to be a lack of healthier recipes for venison. 

Grilled Applewood Rubbed Venison Steak

Venison Steak (these were bone-in)
McCormick's Grill Mates Applewood Rub

Pre-heat grill, rub the rub on both sides of the steak, put steaks on grill (4-5) minutes on each side. 

Smashed Red Potatoess
6 Medium Sized Red Potatoes
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 packet of Potato Topping (usually found in the produce section)

Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender, but not mush with a fork.  Remove potatoes from water, cool.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In the meantime, mix olive oil, butter and Potato Topping in a small bowl.  Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Place potatoes on parchment paper and smash with a fork.  Top each smashed potato with olive oil, butter and topping mix.  Cook in oven approximately 20 minutes.

Served with corn and some low-fat blue cheese dressing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Healthier Shrimp Fried Rice

This was really born out of a need to find a meal that I could eat on Meatless Friday's, that had a decent amount of protein, was still "light" and tasty. There was no clear plan when I set out to make this dish, but it turned out great and I didn't really get sick of eating for the 2-3 days that I did. And it was perfect for a lunch or light dinner.


Steamed Brown Rice
Cooked & Peeled Shrimp
Broccoli (chopped)
Carrots (diced)
Orange Bell Pepper (diced)
Egg Whites
Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Steam the rice, sauteed the shrimp (in a pan with some PAM), whipped up some egg white scrambles, cut the shrimp up, and then mixed everything together.

Between the Shrimp and the Egg Whites there is a good dose of protein. This mean worked really well for me pre-workout!

Aside from trying to make "lighter" more protein filled meals, I'm looking to make things that will stretch to more than 1 meal, even if only a lunch. While I'm trying to avoid carbs (the rice) after 5pm, I try to gauge what I've eaten for the day crossed with what my workout for the night will be and make my decision based on that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spinach and Chocolate and WHAT?!?!

One of the things that was recommended to me was to start drinking protein shakes. I had some chocolate protein powder mix still at home, so I figured might as well try it. Only problem is, there was not way I could JUST mix it with water or milk. YUCK.

I began to look at other options and at saw that a lot of people were recommending a “Green Monster.” At first, I swear, I thought it was an energy drink or something similar. Turns out I was wrong (take note, I admitted I was wrong, this never happens).

So I did some more research, headed to this website (http://greenmonstermovement.com/) and read up on the idea, the recipes etc. Why do they call it the green monster? Well, that would be because you put Spinach in your smoothie. Yep, that is correct, I said you put Spinach in your smoothie.

I found a recipe that would appeal to me, and put my chocolate protein powder to use. Here is the recipe for what I have come up with for myself:

Ice (4-6 cubes)
1.5-2 cups of Organic Spinach (not steamed)
1 cup of Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
1 tablespoon of Natural Peanut Butter (no salt)
1 Banana
1 teaspoon of Walden Farms Chocolate Sauce (fat/calorie/sugar free)

Throw in blender and pray for the best.

Literally I prayed it wouldn’t suck. It was by no means pretty to say the least. Everything I put in should have been good, except for the Spinach, which did leave it with an ominous green tint. I tentatively took my first sip and then my second and I was sold.
Below is a picture of one perched happily in my drink cup holder on my way to work. Sorry the picture is poor quality, blame Steve Jobs and his iPhone.