Monday, October 31, 2011

My First Deer!

Pin It        Growing up, I've always been around hunting and guns.  My dad taught my sister and I how to target and trap shoot and we both went through hunters safety as soon as we turned 12, but I'd never really had the urge to go out and actually shoot a deer until this fall.  My opportunity came a few weekends ago when I got to spend the weekend with my dad deer hunting.

It was the best weekend I've had in a long time and to top it all off... I shot my first doe!

       It was quite the experience let me tell you: learning to gut, skin, and package my doe, trying bear steak and limburger cheese for the first time, and even getting initiated into the "Killers Club."  The best part of all?  Free (sort of), local, and sustainable protein to fill my freezer with.  I love venison!  It is so easy, lean, and versatile.
       My choice last night: Eggplant Casserole.  My inspiration for this came from a recipe for eggplant lasagna my mom had recently sent me.  Like usual, I started with a recipe and ended up adapting it so much that the end result turns out to be something totally different, hence the name change to Eggplant Casserole.  In any case, my creation turned out delicious!  I couldn't help, but to have two servings in one sitting.  Haha whoops.  As delicious as it was however, there is always room for improvement, so let me know of any changes or adaptations you use.


1 Medium eggplant
1 lb. Ground venison (I didn't have ground, so I just used small cut cubed venison)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Medium green pepper, diced
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
10 oz. Frozen spinach
1 1/2 cup Tomato sauce (I used Light Smart Prego spaghetti sauce)
1/2 cup Low fat ricotta
1/2 cup Fat free cottage cheese
1 Large egg

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Wash and slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.
3. Place slices on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes on each side.
4. Once the eggplant is done turn the oven down to 375 F.
5. While eggplant is baking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
6. Brown the venison, onion, and garlic in the oil for roughly 5 minutes.
7. Add in the pepper, mushrooms, spinach, and seasoning and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
8. Stir in the tomato sauce.
9. In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, cottage cheese, and egg.
10. In a greased 9x13 inch glass casserole dish, spread half of the venison mixture on the bottom.
11. Layer half of the eggplant slices on top, followed by half of the cheese mixture.
12. Repeat each layer using up the remaining ingredients.
13. Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
14. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes to brown the top.
15. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Note:  Next time I make this recipe I will up the amount of cheese and tomato sauce a little.

Nutrition Facts
** Check out all that protein, vitamin A and vitamin C!!**
Calories: 195
Total Fat: 5.9 g
     Sat. Fat: 1.7 g
     Poly. Fat: 0.3 g
     Mono. Fat: 1.6 g
Cholesterol: 95.8 mg
Sodium: 376.3 mg
Potassium: 71.5 mg
Total Carbs: 13.8 g
     Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
     Sugars: 5.7 g
Protein: 23.6 g
Vitamin A: 25.8%
Vitamin C: 31.8%
Calcium: 8.1%
Iron: 4.6%

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