Seafood Pasta

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Seafood is always a nice treat. Seafood is somewhat available where I live, but it’s not always fresh or terribly affordable. For that reason I find flash frozen seafood to be both affordable and just as good in quality as fresh. Seafood goes great with oil, that’s what there are so many recipes for seafood with an oil and butter sauce. This tilapia and shrimp also have a very light flavor, so adding chives adds a nice flavor that might get lost if you choose a stronger fish like salmon.This recipe takes only as long as it takes to cook your noodles. The tilapia cooks up very fast and the shrimp, if frozen and pre-cooked, only takes about a minute to cook before you’ll have to start worrying about over cooking. This recipe made 4 Adult sized servings.

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What You Will Need

  • 2 Fillets of Tilapia
  • 1/4 Cup Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cup Shrimp, Frozen, Shelled, and De-Veined
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Chives
  • 3 Cups Cooked Pasta

Directions

1. Begin boiling water and cooking pasta of your choice. Add oil to a frying pan and place over medium heat. Once hot add tilapia and butter. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

2. Break up tilapia into large chunks. Add the shrimp, coat, and heat until warmed, Stir in Chives, then remove from heat. Strain pasta, plate, then top with seafood and some oil. Top with grated parmesan if desired.

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Burger Taste Test – Venison and Pork

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This was a fun little experiment I tried with my husband last week. If you’ve ever cooked with venison, you will know that people love to add pork to their venison, and people love to cook with bacon fat. For this taste test, we tried 3 different burgers. The first one was just venison fried up with a little vegetable oil. The second burger was a venison burger that was fried up in bacon fat. And the final burger was half venison and half ground pork fried in bacon fat. To make this test fair, I served all burgers on the same type of bread with no cheese, condiments, or even salt! Check out my findings down below!

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Pure Venison Burger

The pure venison burger was just that, only venison. I made this burger on the side in it’s own pan so I didn’t have any crossing with the bacon fat. I used about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to fry this burger since venison has very little fat, and I cooked this burger for 4 minutes per side. This inside was medium well compared to the other burgers that were all well.

What did I think of the burger? Honestly I thought this one was probably the best. It tasted most like a burger. The other burgers were very good and had their own unique flavors, but this one was unmistakably a burger. To me, I guess a burger should taste like beef more than anything else, but you can chose on your preferences what you might like most.

Venison Burger in Pork Fat

This venison burger was also fried on it’s own in a skillet with some pork fat rendered from bacon. Like the last burger, I cooked this burger 4 minutes per side. This burger cooked well, though the inside wasn’t completely gray.

This burger tasted like bacon. The crisp and browned parts of the burger tasted exactly like bacon. The inside of the burger had a slight bacon flavor, but still tasted like venison. This burger was juicy and had a good texture. This was a very tasty burger, and if you really enjoy bacon, I think you would like this probably more than the plain venison. As for my taste, I like bacon, but I don’t believe everything needs to taste like bacon.

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Half Pork, Half Venison in Pork Fat Burger

Finally, this franken-burger was fun to make and had a unique appearance before cooking that I had never worked with before. I ground some pork chops to get some ground pork. I mixed half a pound of venison with half a pound ground pork, then I hand mixed them together to the best of my abilities. I divided it in half then cooked each burger in the pork fat pan for about 6 minutes per side because these burgers were the biggest. This however, left this burger the most well done of the three types.

This burger was the juiciest of the three burgers. Not only that, but it was a good tasting burger. The pork covered some of the natural venison flavor while also not making the entire burger taste like pork. It seems to be a great way to make venison taste more like burger. That being said, in my opinion, I think this mixture would make an amazing meatloaf, but it just didn’t taste like a burger to me.

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Conclusion

Each person could look at this and come to a different conclusion. If you like bacon, fry your burger in some bacon fat to make a savory bacon burger. If you like burger and not so much venison, mix venison with pork to hide some of the flavor. Or, mix venison with pork to get a delicious and juicy burger. You could also chose just plain venison if you enjoy the taste of lean venison burgers pure of other flavors. The important thing to note with this trial was that I didn’t season these burgers at all. Seasoning added to any of these burgers would have changed the test completely.

Inconsistencies in Testing:

  • How much each burger was cooked
    • For more consistent testing, cook to a set internal temperature
  • Bread Used
    • I used my homemade white bread which was way too big and sweet, for more consistent results, burgers should be eaten on their own without bread, or on a very neutral flavored bread
  • Amount of Fat per Burger
    • If the test is to see the difference in flavor, they should all have the same fat content. Fat is flavor and to truly judge which burger is tastiest, the amount of fat per burger should be equal.
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Pan-Fried Meatballs and Spaghetti

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Spaghetti and meatballs is such a classic and easy meal, but sometimes we just don’t have the time to wait the 50 minutes it would take to bake them in the oven. So, why not make your meatballs like you would make a burger? Cook it in a frying pan with some oil for 4 minutes a side, and bam! You’ve got yourself and your family a delicious and easy topping for your spaghetti. Most spaghetti takes 6-10 minutes to cook, which give you plenty of time to make these meat balls. I liked the recipe that I used below, but feel free to use your own meatball recipe with this pan-frying method. This dinner was made with just under 1 lb of meat, so by following the directions, you should get about 11-12 meatballs. The recipe below made 4-5 adult sized portions.

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What You Will Need

  • 1 lb Ground Beef/Venison
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp A1
  • 5 Tbsp Oil
  • 12 Oz Spaghetti
  • 1 Jar Pasta Sauce
  • Medium Mixing Bowl
  • Large Frying Pan
  • 2 Medium to Large Sauce Pans
  • A Colander

Directions

1. In the mixing bowl, add meat, egg, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and A1. Mix by hand until combined. Roll out about 3 Tbsp into a ball and add to the frying pan. Once done, add the oil to the frying pan and place over medium heat. Cook meatballs 4 minutes on each side.

2. Cook Pasta as directed, then strain. Add sauce to second saucepan and place over medium heat until beginning to simmer. Add the meatballs once they are done and coat in sauce. Plate noodles, then top with sauce, meatballs, and grated Parmesan.

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Fried Rice

Fried Rice is so easy and can be made in so many different ways. This fried rice has a little bit of everything. I used up the remaining ingredients from the hot pot, but I also added new flavors. Fried rice is a great way to use leftovers and still be able to feed your family. For this recipe, I used two meats, sliced venison steak and diced bacon. I cooked my bacon before adding it to the dish, so I did have to add a bit of bacon fat just to keep everything from burning. As for veggies, I used a bit of everything. I used sliced mushrooms, sliced water chestnuts, diced cabbage, sliced carrot, sliced onion, and diced bell pepper. I also used 6-8 cups of rice in this dish and it was still very flavorful. If your really wanted to feed a crowd and stretch the dish, you could easily use 10-12 cups of cooked rice. This recipe makes 8 adult sized servings.

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What You’ll Need

  • 1/2 lb Sliced Steak/Venison
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Bacon
  • Sliced/Diced Veggies
  • 1 Cup Stock
  • 1 Clove Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp Ginger paste
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 6 Cups Cooked Rice
  • Large Wok
  • Oil/Bacon Fat, As Needed

Directions

  1. Begin by heating the wok over medium high heat. Once it’s hot, add your steak and bacon. Once your meats are both browned, add your veggies, and stir fry until your meat begins getting a nice maillard crust on it, add about 1/2 Tbsp of oil at a time if needed it during this time. Then add tha stock and remaining seasoning until stock comes to a boil.

2. Once the stock is boiling, add your cooked rice. Make sure the rice is fully broken up and everything is coated. Cook rice for 2-3 minutes, then serve.

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Hot Pot

Hot pot is a very popular dish all across Asia. It includes making a tasty, and sometimes spicy, broth and cooking prepared items in the boiling broth. Hot pot is eaten usually in a group, it does take a while to eat, and does take a good amount of prep time, but hot pot makes great food and a fun experience. First you need a good broth/stock. You can make your own by simmering bones for 4-6 hours, or you can used pre-made broth/stock, either way works. You’ll need some veggies, usually whatever you have. I highly recommend potatoes because they were very good. Mushrooms are a classic addition, and so is cabbage or bok choy. A thin sliced meat is a classic additions, and some bacon cut into thirds provided that. We also had hot pot the next night and was able to cook 1/2 inch strips of venison too! Frozen dumplings aren’t as common, but taste great in the hot pot, and to serve, having one or two varieties of dipping sauce was very nice. The spread above was enough food for 8 servings.

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What You’ll Need

Broth

  • 1/4 Finely Diced Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Pork Belly
  • 8 Cups Broth/Stock of Choice
    • I made 8 cups of pork stock, then added 2 chicken Bouillons and a sazon goya MSG Packet
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Finely Minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce

Other Ingredients

  • Peeled and Thin Sliced Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Inch Celery Sticks
  • 1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts, Strained
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Cabbage
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Bell Peppers
  • 8 Oz Sliced Mushrooms
  • 8 Frozen Dumplings
  • 1 lb Bacon Cut into Thirds
  • Packets of Ramen Noodles, For Just the Noodles

Equipment

  • Serving Plated and Bowls
  • Small Bowls for Dipping Sauce
  • A Bowl for Each Person
  • Fork/Chop Sticks and Slotted Spoon for Each Person
  • Hot Plate/ Rice Cooker
  • Dutch Oven/ Large Pot for Broth
  • Separate Utensils for Any Raw Meat

Directions

  1. First make a flavorful broth. I started by boiling 10 cups of water with 2 lbs of pork bones for 5 hours. I started the broth by sauteing the onions with the diced pork belly. Once the onions were soft and the pork belly mostly rendered, I strained the broth through a sieve into the pot with the onion. I then added the minced garlic and ginger, and brought that to a boil.

2. Next, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. The measurements above are for one portion, I made two for our meal, but one shared would suffice for 2 people. Place in a small bowl for dipping. Then prep and plate your ingredients. Presentation is important with this meal. Add a hotplate in the middle and add the pot of broth, heat until it is heated thoroughly.

3. Cooking with the hot pot is rather easy. First, always start with the veggies and dumplings. Raw Meat is cooked on their own after, and finally, noodles are eaten at the end. Soft greens like spinach only need 5 seconds before they can be removed. Otherwise, all veggies can be added to the pot and eaten as they are found. Potatoes may take 2-3 minutes to soften before they are soft enough, and same goes for carrots and celery. You can add frozen dumplings at any point, just wait for them to rise to show they are heated enough. Bacon cooks in about 1 minute, and sliced venison was done in 4 minutes. Noodles only take about 2 minutes to be ready. You can eat ingredients straight from the hot pot, or transfer them to your personal bowl before chowing down.

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