Category Archives: Recipe Success

Venison Sloppy Joes – NOM!

My husband is a big deer hunter.  A friend of his manages a ranch in South Texas, which means Brad goes deer hunting at least 3 times a year, if not more.  He doesn’t hunt for trophy bucks, he hunts for the pure joy of waking up at 4am to sit in a deer blind in complete silence for hours on end and to bring some deer meat home.  Personally, I don’t think a zombie apocolypse could get me out of bed at 4am, but to each their own I suppose.  I’m actually thankful for Brad’s hunting skills, because I know that in the event of a zombie apocolypse, natural disaster, or if the Hunger Games really happened, Brad wouldn’t die and and we wouldn’t starve – yay!

Anyway, since Brad hunts often, we have a stash of frozen deer meat in our 2nd freezer at all times.  Eating venison isn’t my fave, but it’s tolerable.  Brad can throw a marinated slab of backstrap on the grill and eat it like it’s no big deal, but I can pretty much only eat venison that is fried or cooked in the crockpot.  Which brings me to the resason for my blog post – yesterday was Brad’s birthday and his birthday dinner request was shredded venison sandwiches.  A few years ago, I found a recipe for shredded venison sandwiches on tasteofhome.com.  I make these sammys once or twice a year, and they are actually quite good.

Each time I make them, I change things up a little bit because the recipe calls for several different spices and I usually get creative and just use what I have in the house.  This time around, I soaked the meat in milk overnight to help remove gamey flavor that venison has. I accidentally overcooked the meat (very easy to do with venison because it is so lean) so I ended up mixing the meat and juices together in my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  I added a bit of water and some BBQ sauce to moisten the meat a bit it turned out to me more like a venison sloppy joe, which I actually preferred to the shredded venison sandwich!

Sidenote: If you’ve never used your stand mixer to shred beef or chicken, you really need to try it.  Anytime a recipe instructs me to grab two forks and shred meat that I have just cooked, I say, “psh, yeah right” and throw everything in the stand mixer bowl.  If you use the blade attachment, you will get finely shredded meat at the flip of a switch.

I’m always looking for new venison recipes to try. If you have one to share, I’d love to read it!

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Breaking in the KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Last night, I decided that it was finally time to use my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  Brad and I received the mixer as a wedding gift and for about 2 months now, it has been sitting in the corner of my kitchen counter, quietly collecting dust.  I guess I was a little intimidated by the mixer because I had always done my mixing the old school way with a bowl and a wooden spoon.  The reason that I’ve been hesitant to use this specific kitchen gadget, you ask?  Well, I remember walking into my friend Kristin’s apartment one day while she was in the process of baking cupcakes.  She is an excellent cook, but every time she baked it looked like a flour bomb went off in her apartment.  I’m a total neat freak and I envisioned that the moment I switched my mixer to “on”, I would have a batter disaster.  I was surprised because what I thought would be complicated turned out to be quite easy!

“What should I bake as an excuse to use my Stand Mixer?”, I asked myself.  “I know!  The recipe for Snickerdoodle Bread that I saw on Pinterest!”

I guess what sets me apart from other “pinners” that I know is that I pin recipes and crafts that I actually intend on making.  Maybe everyone else refers to their pins to cook and craft as well, and they just don’t tell me about it?  Who knows.  I realize that Pinterest is a virtual pin board designed for inspiration (I think?), but what’s the point of inspiring yourself if you don’t plan on taking action?  I may not travel to the vacation spots or buy all of the clothes that I pin because I’m far from being a gazillionaire, but the crafting and the cooking ideas definitely inspire me to try new things!

I found this little gem – a recipe for Snickerdoodle Bread – on Lil’ Luna’s Blog.  What a treat!  I immediately knew I wanted to make this bread because Snickerdoodle cookies (specifically Snickerdoodle cookies from Tiff’s Treats ) are TO DIE FOR.  I’m talking, a melt in your mouth, buttery, cinnamony, sugary delight.  For some reason, I feel less guilty eating dessert bread than eating cookies, so that is how I can justify that this Snickerdoodle bread isn’t bad for you (nevermind the 2 sticks of butter that the recipe calls for).

So yeah, the only change I made from the recipe on Lil’ Luna’s blog was that I opted not to include cinnamon chips.  I couldn’t find cinnamon chips at the grocery store because apparently they are a seasonal item.  Luna suggested white chocolate chips or toffee chips, so I bought some white chocolate chips but used them as a pre-cooking snack instead of an ingredient.  The end result – the bread tastes just like a Snickerdoodle cookie.  I was in absolute heaven last night when I snuck a taste. 🙂  I cooked the bread in 2, 9×5 loaf pans because I don’t have mini loaf pans and the recipe suggested cooking for 60-70 minutes.  I cooked the bread right at an hour and the edges were a little crisper than I had hoped, so next time I bake this bread I will try to cook it for maybe 45-50 minutes.  Here is a picture of the deliciousness:

I have a list of craft projects that I am going to get started on next week so stay tuned for a post or two next week – Have a great day! 🙂

Baked Oatmeal Cups – Perfect for Breakfast on the Go!

During the week, Brad and I never have time to eat a good breakfast.  On the weekends, we take advantage of having time to make breakfast tacos or omlets but weekday mornings are a different story.  We are both in a horrible habit of repeatedly pressing the snooze button until we absolutely have to get out of bed to get ready for work, which usually leaves us fighting over who gets to shower first, who is going to make coffee and let the dog out, etc.  Making breakfast never crosses our weekday-morning minds.  On occasion, we will make what we call a “scromlet” which is our name for an omlet on a toasted English muffin or a biscuit (it puts McDonald’s Egg McMuffin to shame), but even those breakfast treats take too much time to make and when I do make one, I have to sacrifice blow drying my hair.  Lately, breakfast to-go options in our home have been nothing but granola bars and/or yogurt.  Brad has a weird obsession with granola bars and usually eats 2 each morning, which is totally fine because I’d rather him eat a box of granola bars than no breakfast at all.  I racked my brain (and consulted Pinterest) to try and find something that I can make in bulk to satisfy a hurried breakfast on our busy weekday mornings, and also save us a little money because those boxes of Nature Valley Sweet & Salty nut bars are like $4 for 6 granola bars.  A little pricey for 6 stupid granola bars.

Alas – I found a recipe for baked oatmeal.  But not just any baked oatmeal, baked oatmeal cups!  A perfect alternative to pre-packaged granola bars and much, much better for you!  The recipe is courtesy of Sugar-Free Mom and can be found HERE.  Be sure to click around her site for other delicious recipes!

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the option to get creative with the toppings.  My least favorite thing was wandering around Kroger for 30 minutes looking for flaxseed meal.  Moving on.  The recipe yields 18 oatmeal cups, but I actually got 23 cups out of my mix.  I probably could have gotten to 24 if I hadn’t over-filled a few cups, but oh well.  I topped the first batch of oatmeal cups with white chocolate chips and sliced almonds and left the second batch plain – they turned out great!  I popped these suckers out and let them cool, left a couple in the fridge to be re-heated this week and put the rest in the freezer.  I stuck one in the microwave this morning for about 30 seconds and it was delish.  Hopefully these will last me a little longer than 2 boxes of store-bought granola bars!

 

Crock Pot Chicken Fajita Taco Goodness

I LOVE cooking in my crock pot.  Why do I love crock pot cooking so much?  Because it is so E-A-S-Y.  I’ll be honest, crock pot cooking does take a smidgeon of time for preparation and planning, but it is so nice to have food ready and waiting for me at dinner time!  Another reason I’m obsessed with crock pot cooking is because I get home from work about 6:00pm and by that time all I want to do is sit on my fanny, crack open a beer or a bottle of wine and watch The Wheel.  I’m lazy, and standing in my kitchen for 30 minutes to an hour to cook something is the least of my concerns even though by that time I’m so hungry I am about ready to eat my arm.  Moving on.

I had been wanting to try out a recipe for crock pot chicken fajitas that I found on the blog Stacy Makes Cents via Pinterest.  At my bi-monthly grocery shopping trip last weekend, I bought everything I needed for this recipe because I knew I would make it when my craving for chicken fajitas hit, which happened to be last Sunday night.  Side note: Whenever I make a crock pot meal for the first time, I like to make it on a weekend so that I am at home to monitor the time and progress, which actually worked out in my favor yesterday.  I eneded up shortening the cook time by about 45 minutes and the meal was amazing!

I followed the receipe from Stacy’s blog (which you can find here), and here is how it went down:

I used these things –

 

Then I did this:

 And I mixed it all together like this:

Then, I mixed the seasonings together and sprinkled them on top:

And then I set the timer on my crock pot for 8 hours and skipped off to do things around the house:

A few hours later, the house started smelling so good that I was drooling.  I checked the crock pot around the 7 hour mark and decided to shred the chicken and let it soak in the juicy goodness for the last hour.  And when I say shred the chicken, I mean attempt to pick it up with a fork and watch it fall apart all by itself.  My dinner looked like this after 7 hours:

I know, it doesn’t look too appetizing.  But, when you shred it – it looks like this!

Not too long after the chicken shredding and the juice soaking, I came into the kitchen and found my husband eating out of the crockpot with his hands.  So, thanks to Stacy for sharing this delicious and easy meal for lazy people like me!  Brad and I scarfed down our dinner (we each had 3 tacos – oops) and we are having the leftovers tonight as a topping for baked potatoes.  Yum yum!