Venison Lasagna

Venison Lasagna

I grew up in Wisconsin in a family that hunts deer. Specifically a family that deer hunts to get that delectable venison to eat 🙂 Now a lot of people are totally turned off by the thought of eating venison. If you’re one of those people, we can’t be friends. Kidding. But I’m thinking you haven’t tasted it or that you had a bad deer. Once a deer is over about 2-3 years old, I wouldn’t eat them. From personal experience, younger does taste better, the older you get (such as bucks with huge spreads) the “game-ier” they taste. It’s all preference but this is not actually a post about hunting so I’ll shut up 🙂

My younger brother was gracious enough to give me some of his vension from a kill this year and this is one of the ways I used it. Of course you can substitute the venison for beef if you so choose.

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Yummmmmmmmmm- such good comfort food

Bolognese Sauce
a glug of olive oil
a Tbsp of butter
1 medium onion – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – minced
2 stalks of celery – finely chopped
2 medium carrots – finely chopped
pancetta or thick bacon cut into cubes
1 # venison, cut into a small cubes
1 cup milk (Full fat will make it creamier but any kind will work)
a glass of dry white wine(to drink while cooking- kidding you actually need it for the sauce. Probably about 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup)
2 cups tomatoes – chopped, with the juice. Or you can use a large can of diced tomatoes too
a sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of vegetable stock

White Sauce
2 & 1/2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of flour
salt

Lasagna
Either strips of already cooked lasagna pasta or the ready to bake lasagna noodles (*or if you’re Betty Crocker you could use freshly made lasagna noodles- if you do this, we should be friends)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions

First make the bolognese sauce, which needs a long cooking time but it really does make for the most tender and succulent sauce, plus you don’t have to cook it all in one session, you could do the first stage in the morning and the final cooking later the same day. It can also be cooked ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen.

– In a large, heavy bottomed pan melt the butter and oil, add the onions and gently saute until they become translucent . Add the garlic, celery and carrots, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

– add the pancetta or bacon cubes and sautĂ© gently for a further two minutes.

– add the venison, a large pinch of salt, some pepper and cook until it has lost its raw red color

– add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has reduced almost completely.

– add the wine, let it simmer until mostly evaporated then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients.

– when the mixtures starts to really boil, turn the heat down to low and cook, uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time and topping up occasionally with vegetable stock to keep it from completely drying out. *You could totally speed make this and just cook all together for about 30 minutes to an hour, and it would still taste great I’m sure but you get deep complex flavors the longer you cook it 🙂 *

Next, make the deeelish white sauce;

– warm the milk gently in a saucepan on medium, low heat

– in a another large pan melt the butter gently on a very low heat and once it’s melted add all the flour, stirring it in completely. Cook and constantly stir for 2 minutes.

– take the pan off the heat and add the milk in small measured batches, letting the flour mixture soak up the milk while you stir. Do this slowly and stir continuously while you do so you don’t get any lumps.

– place the pan back on a low heat and stir until the sauce gets a thick and creamy consistency.

Now, let’s build the lasagna!!

You’ll need a large oven-proof dish, you could use a variety but I used a Pyrex 13×9. Pre-heat your oven oven to 375 F.

– smear the bottom of the dish with a little of the bolognese sauce and then place a layer of the pasta sheets on the bottom.

– ladle over a thin layer of each of the sauces, sprinkle with paremsan and a little mozzarella then add another layer of pasta

– continue this until you have used all your sauce, the top layer should be the bolognese with the rest of your cheese.

– bake in the oven until golden and bubbly, this should take about 40-50 minutes.

*Note- if you are using the ready to bake noodles I would probably prepare your bolognese to be a little more liquidy so your noodles cook fully. Or you can add a little tomato sauce/juice to the bottom of the pan before your noodles.

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Get in my bellllllly

Admittedly, not the lowest fat meal in the world- but sometimes you just have to indulge. It tasted delicious!!! Jake was VERRRRRYYYYY skeptical of the venison befor he tried this, but he really enjoyed it and said it tasted like really really good beef. I’ll take it 🙂

Hope you enjoy and of course thanks for checking out my blog!

xoxo

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Easy Chocolate Lava Cake

Chocolate Lava Cake

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Happy Saturday! 🙂 As we all know Valentines Day was recently. Now, we(FiancĂ© and I) don’t really do much for Valentines day, just a sweet card to each other usually. BUT I did take the day this year as an excuse to make and extra special meal for me and my fiancĂ©- AND I actually make dessert which is something that I never do. It was relatively easy, and tasted really decadent. Here it is!

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons (plus more for greasing ramekins) butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 egg yolks
2 cage-free eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons A.P. flour
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
raspberries for garnish (optional)
vanilla ice cream(optional)

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 425. Grease ramekins well with butter and coat with a layer of sugar. (This trick works wonders and those babies will slide right out!)

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium sized bowl either in the microwave (make sure to only this is on 50% power and in 30 second increments so that you don’t burn it!!) or double boiler method.

3. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, and sugar until frothy.

4. Then stir in the melted chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk ,just until combined. Set aside.

5. In a small bowl combine cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Then sift into the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.

6. Stir in the vanilla.

7. Pour the mixture evenly into the ramekins, you can use 5 oz ramekins to make 4 servings or use 8 oz ones to make 2 servings. Tap them lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles.

8. Refrigerate them for about 30 minutes.

9. Place the ramekins in the casserole dish and carefully pour hot water (can be hot just from the faucet or boiled) into the casserole dish until it goes half way up the side of the ramekins.(Careful not to get them IN the ramekins… not that that happened or anything… 🙂 )

10. Bake for about 18-22 minutes.(Ok the recipe I read said that you’d know they were done when the middle still looked a little jiggly but the rim was firm- I didn’t find that to be true(see pic below)- my whole top looked and felt completely cooked, but the underside and middle was still gooey. I think you may just have to trial and error the time with your oven….) When they’re done, remove ramekins from the casserole dish and let them cool for about 5 minutes. Turn it upside down over a plate and tap the bottom firmly until the cake slides out. This should happen easily with your coating of sugar, but if it doesn’t just slide a knife around the edge to loosen things up.

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11. Garnish with fruit and or ice cream and any other topping you’d like. Enjoy!

This was amazing. I couldn’t finish mine. I’m not a huge chocolate person(don’t hate me) and I used 8 oz ramekins which is actually a pretty big serving. Jake however had no issues finishing his. He was very impressed 🙂 Kept asking what it was, I kept answering Chocolate Lava Cake but he kept wanting more details. He was like ” no but it’s all gooey and perfect. I mean this is like so good, you could charge $10 for this at a restaurant and it would sell out”….awwww what a good fiancĂ© 🙂

Hope you all enjoy!

xoxo

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Caramelized Pear, Prosciutto & Blue Cheese Pizza

Caramelized Pear, Prosciutto &  Blue Cheese Pizza

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Ingredients:
1 semi-ripe pear(still want it a little hard) – thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (I prefer unsalted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated (could sub grated mozzarella too)
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 slices prosciutto
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
balsamic glaze for drizzling

Oh and a pizza crust of your choosing 🙂

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 F (this is a little dependent on the pizza crust you choose so make sure to check the packaging/instructions).

Heat a large skillet over low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add in the pears with the salt and nutmeg and cover, cooking for  about 10 minutes and stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat more if they begin to brown too much. Stir in the brown sugar and cook for 5 more minutes or so, until golden. Set aside.

Add about three fourths of the fontina on the crust along with the garlic and shallots. Spread the pears all over the pizza and cover them with the prosciutto. Crumble the blue cheese over top and add the rest of the fontina. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Remove and drizzle balsamic on top.

Um. Then die and go to heaven. So freaking tasty.

I adapted this recipe when I made it and did a smaller portion and just did a mini pizza for me, Jake was hanging out with some guys friends so I got to enjoy this beaut all on my own. Seriously I could have eaten like 4 of the the mini pizzas. Deeeeeeee-licious. If I do say so myself 🙂

Hope you enjoy too!

xoxo

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POMEGRANATE, KALE, AND WILD RICE SALAD

POMEGRANATE, KALE, AND WILD RICE SALAD

Ummmm, seriously you guys, this is one of the best things on planet earth. It caught my eye at first just becuase of how pretty it was but then once I made it, ohhhh maaaaannnn oohhh mannn. Probably could’ve eaten the whole thing myself. The dressing to this is amaze-balls and I’m gonna make it for my regular salads all the time!

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INGREDIENTS
For the salad
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 cups chopped(not tiny)baby kale
2 cups cooked wild rice (you can use leftover rice or buy precooked)
ÂĽ cup toasted walnuts
ÂĽ cup feta or crumbled goat cheese

For the dressing
½ cup minced onion or shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 squeeze lemon or orange juice

INSTRUCTIONS
Prep the salad ingredients (chop, rinse, toast, etc). Chill the ingredients in the fridge while you’re making the dressing if you want a cold salad.

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This is more walnuts than I used for the salad, but I toasted about a cup to use for various things, while I was at it anyway 🙂

Mince the shallot or onion and saute in ½ tablespoons olive oil to reduce the ‘bite’ of them. When soft and fragrant, remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. (If you want a stronger flavor for your dressing, skip the sauteing altogether. The shallot in particular works well for not sautĂ©ing method as they are milder)
Pulse the onions or shallot with the remaining olive oil, water, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and orange juice until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust. Add additional olive oil or water to keep the mixture moving through the food processor.
Toss the salad ingredients together with the dressing just before serving. I prefer to serve this at room temperature or chilled slightly.

Then: Eat. It. All

Please tell me you guys like this one as much as I did!!!!

xoxo669058772380712020613

Black Bean & Pepper Polenta Bowl

Black Bean & Pepper Polenta Bowl

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gluten-free, vegan option // yields 4-5 servings

for the onions + peppers
1 tablespoon coconut oil or any kind of oil you want
1 large red onion, sliced
1 1/2 sweet bell peppers, sliced
sea salt

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and peppers and stir frequently until just softened. 5-7 minutes.
Generously sprinkle with salt, stir, then reduce heat to med-low for about 25-30 minutes until fully golden brown and caramelized. Stir every few minutes. Seriously I know you’ll be tempted to use them right away before they are fully caramelized but the time it takes to caramelize is totally worth it!! DO ITTTT.

for the black beans
2 tablespoons coconut oil or any kind of oil you want
1 3/4 cup cooked black beans, if using canned- rinsed + drained
1 small can diced mild green chiles
1/4 cup no/low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
sea salt

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until fragrant and ever so lightly(seriously hardly at all or it will taste bitter)browned.
Stir in the black beans, green chiles, veggie broth, salsa, chipotle, and cumin.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes until thickened and almost all of the liquid has cooked off, stirring occasionally.

for the polenta
1 cup dry polenta aka “corn grits”
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups low/no-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, * totally optional
few splashes of hot sauce (I used a little Franks and a little Siracha)
black pepper

**I used Bob’s Red Mill polenta grits, so be sure to check your package for exact instructions.**
Bring water + veggie broth to a boil.
Slowly stir in the polenta grits, reduce heat to simmer ( low)
Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
Stir in the cheese [if using], hot sauce, and a few pinches of black pepper, then cover for 5 minutes before serving. If it thickens too much add a bit more water and heat over med-low until smoothed out and creamy.

The cheese is not necessary at all if you need this dairy-free or vegan. Honestly if I was making this just for me, I’d leave it out. I thought Jake would be more willing to try ‘scary’ polenta if it was cheesy 🙂

Once all the items are done, serve it up! I just put the beans and onion/pepper mix on top of the polenta and garnished with some cilantro and sliced avacado! It was verrrry good. Lots of flavors all coming together. Jake told me it tasted like a restaurant meal 🙂 awww love that man ❤

As always, thanks for stoping by my blog !

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