Venison Stew

Over the last month, there have been many new additions to my little kitchen that I’ve been waiting to share with you.

We got a few new plates for Christmas! We broke a few dinner plates over the last year. We had three plates left around October. I began to worry how we were going to have friends over for meals if we didn’t even own enough plates to eat said dinner on. I love having a full set again, even if they aren’t an exact match.

I also got a lovely, pre-seasoned, cast iron dutch oven as a Christmas gift. Actually, it’s what I used to cook this lovely stew. I love it as well! I’ve read through the instruction manual and am fairly confident I will be able to take care of it. Any tips for maintaining cast iron cookware?

Finally, I splurged after the holiday… but it’s totally worth it! A department store in the area is going out of business (actually, I think the final day was over the weekend). I went in looking for a potato masher. And once I found this small appliance, I completely forgot about the potato masher and contemplated a bigger purchase… a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! The pros: It was half price and worked. The cons: No package or instruction manual and there’s a missing screw, so the KitchenAid decal does not fasten to the front of the mixer. I’m pretty excited about this purchase and have already used it to make breakfast (potato pancakes) and am planning some banana bread for later this week.

Venison Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, divided – approximate cost $0.10
  • 220 grams (about 1/2 pound) bacon, chopped – approximate cost $3.00
  • 575 grams (about 1 1/4 pounds) venison stewing meat (chopped into approximately 1/2 inch cubes) – approximate cost $12.00
  • 5 small carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 large sweet onions, roughly chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 220 grams (about 1/2 pound) crimini mushrooms, quartered – approximate cost $2.50
  • 2 cups red wine (I used Catastrophe Red, made by Cattail Creek Winery) – approximate cost $6.00
  • 4 cups beef broth – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 156ml can of tomato paste – approximate cost $0.60
  • 8 small potatoes, quartered (I used Klondike Gold Dust potatoes) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the bacon and cook until crispy.
  3. Remove and set aside.
  4. Brown the venison meat
  5. Remove and set aside.
  6. Heat 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a large pot.
  7. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften and brown (about 5-7 minutes).
  8. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  9. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).
  10. Add the bacon and venison back into the pot.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Add the carrots and mix in.
  13. Add the red wine, beef broth, rosemary, and thyme.
  14. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  15. Cover and cook for at least 2 hours.
  16. Prepare the potatoes about half way through cooking the stew.
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Place the potato pieces in baking dish.
    3. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil and salt.
    4. Roast for about 40 minutes (or until potatoes are browned and tender).
  17. Stir the tomato paste into the stew, stirring constantly until it is mixed in.
  18. Add the potatoes and mix well.
  19. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $5.24 per serving).

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AcroYoga Workshop and Pasta with Bacon and Greens

Over the weekend, I attended an AcroYoga workshop hosted by Queen Street Yoga. 3 hours of intense work-shopping. The workshop started with some of the less scary exercises to get us warmed up. Check out this super awesome people-stacking (plank pose)!

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

At one point, I tried to be the third person in the stack. Turns out it’s not so easy for a person of average height…

Chair pose – it was surprisingly hard to get to this pose, but fairly easy (at least for me) to maintain once there.

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

Transitioning from one pose to another was probably the most difficult part. It took a lot of strength (and trust) for both the “base” and the “flyer.”

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

Throne pose was probably my favourite one to learn at this workshop. It was stable. As the “flyer,” there was a lot of stretching and core work.

Photo credit to Leena and Emma from Queen Street Yoga

The class was so much fun! I got to catch up with a few of my yogi-friends before and after class. Learned some new yoga poses. Got a good workout. And most of all, had a lot of fun while learning! If you ever have an opportunity to try an Acro-Yoga class, give it a try! It’s very different from a more traditional class, but tons of fun.

Understandably, at the end of three hours I was exhausted… so I went to Dad’s for dinner (and had a long walk with the dogs). Thanks dad! I probably would not have made a nutritious dinner on my own that night, I very much appreciated having someone else cook for me. 🙂

What does this have to do with the dish I’m sharing today? Absolutely nothing. Except that, after this class, I was craving a meal that was both healthy and filling, which reminded me of this pasta that I made a few weeks back and am just getting a chance to share with you today.

Pasta with Bacon and Greens

Ingredients

  • 500 grams whole grain spaghettini – approximate cost $1.50
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.40
  • 6 slices of bacon, diced – approximate cost $3.00
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 3 fresh eggs – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese – approximate cost $1.00
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 zucchini, sliced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 300 grams crimini mushrooms, sliced – approximate cost $1.25

Method

  1. Cook the bacon pieces in a wok over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the bacon pieces to a plate when crispy.
  3. Bring a pot of very salty water (about 4 tablespoons of sea salt) to a boil.
  4. Cook spaghettini according to package.
  5. Add diced onion to the wok, cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add minced garlic to the wok, cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  7. Add slices of crimini mushrooms, cook until softened (about 4 minutes).
  8. Add slices of zucchini and Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix, cook until softened (about 3 minutes).
  9. Return bacon to the wok and mix well with the vegetables.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Combine fresh eggs, Parmesan, and olive oil in a mixing bowl, whisk until completely combined.
  12. Place the cooked spaghettini in a large mixing bowl.
  13. Drizzle with the egg mixture, stirring constantly so the noodles are covered in the sauce and the egg cooks (pasta should still be hot).
  14. Add the vegetable and bacon mixture and mix thoroughly into the pasta.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 3 servings (approximate cost: $3.57 per serving).

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Guest Posting on Lady Behind the Curtain

Today, I’m guest posting on Lady Behind the Curtain!!! I’m very excited that Sheryl invited me to post on her lovely blog. Sheryl is the host of the Cast Party Wednesday blog hop, which I began participating in over the summer. I love Sheryl’s blog because it focuses on delicious recipes, but also features party and gift DIY ideas. A few of my favourite recipe posts on Sheryl’s blog are:

Head on over to Sheryl’s blog, Lady Behind the Curtain, and check out my Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf recipe!

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

These burgers are from a few weeks ago. I delayed posting them because I didn’t want all of my posts to be about burgers. I didn’t want you to get bored… and I didn’t want to get bored of writing about burgers. I’ve been making a lot of burgers in the last few months. I make burgers at work and then come home and make more burgers (mind you, mine are a bit more fun because I can put all kinds of ingredients in them).

These burgers in particular were not planned. They were a last minute “you’re leaving at what time and need burgers!?” creation. I was going to roast some Anaheim peppers and add them to the mixture, but there just wasn’t enough time. I hadn’t panned on adding bacon or onion for that matter. I wasn’t very happy with the burger mixture because I had to make last minute changes. Despite that, they were very good. Bryan took two over to a friend’s place to cook for dinner… he tells me everyone else thought they looked and smelled amazing.

I kept two at home for us. I was much less disappointed with the burgers once they were cooked and served for dinner.

Have you ever had to make an unplanned meal in a hurry? How did it turn out?

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 slices of bacon – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 slices of old cheddar cheese (about 200 grams) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cheese buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I baked it in the oven).
  2. Grate the red onion.
  3. Crumble the bacon.
  4. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, bacon, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  6. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  7. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  8. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  9. Serve on cheese buns with two slices of old cheddar cheese and your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Spanish onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Dill relish

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.79 per serving + toppings and condiments).

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Guacamole Sauce Over Spaghetti Noodles

A few weeks back I bought everything to prepare guacamole for dinner… or so I thought! Turns out I forgot one of the most important ingredients: the tortilla chips. At that point, I was hungry and didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store. I have this bad habit of spending too much on items I didn’t necessarily mean to buy if I go to the store while hungry.

Instead, I started browsing through recipes I’d bookmarked to see if there was something else I could make to use up the three perfectly ripe avocados that were on the counter. That’s when I came across the recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta from Two Peas and their Pod. The original recipe calls for everything that I already had on hand to make the guacamole, and I decided to make a few adjustments: I added some tomatoes for colour (also, because I had them and they looked like a delicious addition), and a few slices of bacon (really, what doesn’t go well with bacon? I also wanted to add some meat to make the dish more appealing to Bryan).

Initially, I had a few hesitations about this one. Could pasta and guacamole really go together? Was I about to use the avocados that I had been looking forward to for a few days while they ripened on my counter in a dish I wouldn’t enjoy? Was I about to ruin the original recipe by making a few changes to include ingredients I had on hand?

How did it turn out? Delicious!

Would we make it again? Definitely!

What would I do differently? For one, I’d make a smaller portion. Half of what the recipe calls for. This was way too much food for two people. And because the avocado turns brown quite quickly, it doesn’t keep for more than a day.

If you do try this and want to save a portion for later, cover the leftovers with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap firmly against the pasta/sauce so that there is very little air in contact with the avocado. Then, cover it was foil so the avocado is kept in a dark place. Then, put it in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours.

What is your favourite way to enjoy avocados?

Guacamole sauce over spaghetti noodles

Adapted from and inspired by Creamy Avocado Pasta by Two Peas and their Pod

Ingredients

  • 4 servings of spaghetti – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 ripe avocados – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
  • 8 slices of bacon – approximate cost $2.50

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I like to bake it in the oven to avoid grease splatters) and, if desired, crumble the bacon when completely cooked.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package (prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking).
  3. Prepare the avocados by removing the pit and scooping out the delicious green “meat” into the food processor (alternately, you can use a blender).
  4. Add the lime juice, garlic, cilantro and sea salt to the food processor.
  5. Process (or blend) until smooth.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine one serving of pasta and sauce, tossing until the pasta is well coated.
  7. Place in a serving bowl and top with tomato slices and bacon.
  8. Repeat for the remaining servings.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes  4 servings  (approximate cost: $2.40 per serving).

Rumaki

Rumaki tends to be served covered in delicious sauce. Growing up, mom would prepare it plain. No sauce, no spices. The bacon added so much flavour that nothing else was needed to make this dish delicious.

As a child, I claimed to dislike beef liver. However, I had no qualms about eating rumaki. I was aware that mom had stuffed it with beef liver. But it didn’t taste anything like the liver and onions that I was adverse to at the time. I’d gobble it up and ask for more. This dish is a good way to introduce liver to those who are timid about trying it for the first time.

Over the last few years, rumaki somehow became a fond childhood memory and I hadn’t really thought about making it on my own. I’m not sure why. It’s delicious, though a bit time consuming to wrap each individual rumaki. Put on some good music, or have a friend join you in the kitchen for this part and it won’t seem to tedious!

I won’t wait so long before making rumaki again!

Rumaki

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of bacon – approximate cost $5.00
  • ½ pound of beef liver – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 can of water chesnuts – approximate cost $1.25
  • Toothpicks – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the beef liver into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Arrange a slice of bacon, piece of liver, and water chestnut on your cooking surface.
  4. Carefully roll the bacon slice so the other ingredients do not fall out.
  5. Secure the roll with a toothpick and move to a baking pan.
  6. Repeat until you run out of bacon (will make about 2 9×13 baking trays of rumaki).
  7. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the bacon starts to become crispy.
  8. Flip each rumaki and return to the oven for an additional 12-15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and ensure the rumaki is cooked all the way through. If not, return to oven and continue to bake until cooked through.
  10. Let stand for a few minutes before enjoying. It will be very hot!

Makes about 6 servings as a meal (approximate cost: $1.38 per serving) or 15 servings as an appetizer (approximate cost: $0.55 per serving).

Uncooked tomato sauce served with raw zucchini or spaghetti noodles

This tomato sauce is among my favourite dishes. It’s easy to make, healthy, tasty, and versatile. There’s so many ways to present it and it can be enjoyed for either lunch or dinner.Since finding the recipe on TheKitchn last summer, I’ve prepared the sauce a number of times with slight variations each time to suit whomever is enjoying the dish.

Here are a few variations you can try:

  • Make it a raw meal by making zucchini “noodles” with a spiral turner
  • Serve with cold or hot spaghetti noodles
  • Make it vegetarian by excluding the meat
  • Include a salty, cured meat such as prosciutto, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • Use a blender to puree the ingredients into a sauce-like consistency (do this after marinating the mixture)

This sauce is fantastic because you can make a large portion, set some aside in a dish and pack it for lunch. By lunch time, it’s marinated enough to enjoy! You can also let it marinate all day and simply prepare your choice of pasta when you arrive home and dinner is ready in 15 minutes!

Try not to put the tomatoes in the fridge at any point. I find that chilling them takes away from the flavour of the finished meal. However, I do always store the leftovers in the fridge and let it warm to room temperature before enjoying.

Uncooked tomato sauce

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 pint of mixed tomatoes (any combination of yellow, orange, pink, green, etc.) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 medium-sized Roma tomatoes – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 10 leaves of basil, cut into fine strips – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 cup olive oil – approximate cost $1.50
  • Salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05
  • 200 grams of meat, such as prosciutto or bacon (Optional) – approximate cost $3.50
  • Parmesan cheese (optional) – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Slice all of the various tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Place garlic, basil, and olive oil in a large serving bowl. Stir mixture well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow mixture to sit on the counter for 3-4 hours.
  3. Place tomatoes in olive oil mixture. Stir mixture until all tomatoes are coated with oil and garlic is evenly distributed throughout the sauce.
  4. Recover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mixture marinate for 2-4 hours (leave on the counter).
    1. Note: If you don’t have time to marinate the basil in the oil before adding it to the tomatoes to marinate, you can skip this step and mix it with the tomatoes immediately. But there’s more flavour if you can include the step.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles or spiralled zucchini “noodles” (for a raw dish) and, if desired, top with more fresh basil leaves, meat of your choice, and Parmesan cheese.

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $1.55 per serving of sauce without meat, or $2.13 per serving of sauce with meat).

You can use almost any tomatoes you have on hand, but having a small variety of tomatoes tends to give the dish more flavour. If you’re not using smaller tomatoes, use 6-7 medium-large sized tomatoes.

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