Weekend Eats 12-17-12

We are so close to Christmas/vacation time that this particular Monday morning doesn’t feel too bad at all! All weekend I found myself saying things like, “This is the last Friday night we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Saturday we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Sunday….” 

Okay, you get it. 
I’m excited. Can you blame me? I know you are too, right?! 
I kicked off the weekend by cooking a pot of my Tempeh and Bean Chili, with a few modifications. I subbed black beans for the red kidney beans, skipped the garlic, and used a can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers rather than using tomato sauce. 
 I love this stuff. It’s so filling and full of nutrients, not to mention just plain delicious. Win win win!
On Saturday, Greg and I spend most of the late morning and afternoon running errands. It wasn’t too long before we were ready to refuel and grabbed lunch from Chick Fil A. 
I got the Southwest Chargrilled Salad with Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing…surprise, surprise. 
Saturday night was spent at my company holiday party at an art museum downtown. We had a great time. I sipped on wine while eating a mini roll with turkey and cranberry sauce and a pork slider on a delicious little biscuit. There was also a do-it-yourself mashed potato bar. Think: Menchie’s (or any other self-serve frozen yogurt place), but for mashed potatoes. Toppings included gravy, shredded cheese, chives, sour cream, sauteed mushrooms, etc. So fun! 
I spent Sunday creating a few different holiday treats. I’ll be sharing those in more detail later this week, but here’s a preview…
Finally, Greg made venison patties for dinner with meat one of his clients gave him (just like last year). 
I feel so adventurous when I eat venison. Kind of like a cave woman too. Regardless, it’s pretty good. And even though I had already eaten more meat over the weekend than I normally like to, Greg made a point that it’s lean and just about as organic as you can get. 
Okay, fine. 😉
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Juicy Venison Bacon Burgers

I know I told you about my abundance of kitchen appliances already, so I won’t go on about it again. I had to bring it up though because one of these new appliances is a George Foreman Grill that Greg got me for my birthday. We put it to the test last night with venison, something else we happen to have an abundance of.

Even though we have had the most mild winter ever and grilling outside is not completely out of the question, I am so excited about being able to cook some delicious juicy burgers while staying inside.

The grill was so easy to use (and cleaned up easily too, which is always a plus). I loved the marks it left on the meat, like it was cooked on a real outdoor grill.

After a few quick minutes, our burgers were off the grill and ready to be topped! Cheese, onion and bacon for me. I could almost taste summertime.

The burgers were excelente! Deer meat is extra lean too, so there was no need to feel guilty for adding that cheese and bacon and savoring every last bite.

I am quite the happy camper around here with all of my fun new toys like this and this.

Oh, and finally, I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JULIA, Greg’s mom. I know you’re reading 🙂 and I hope you have a great day!!

Juicy Venison Bacon Burgers

Makes about 4 burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground venison

1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked
4 slices cheese (I used Muenster) 
Sliced onion, for topping
1. In a medium bowl, combine meat, onion, garlic, Worcestershire, and spices. Mix to combine.
2. Divide mixture into four even-sized sections and form round patties with each section. 
3. Cook to desired temperature. (Cooking time will vary. Approximately 5-6 minutes for medium on George Foreman Grill.) 
4. Remove from grill. Add to bun and top with cheese, then bacon, followed by other toppings as desired.

Poor Bambi

Here it is…

The mystery meat.

Wanna take a guess at what we (Greg) grilled last night?
Deer! Venison, Bambi…whatever you want to call it. Sorry for bringing up Bambi, but I couldn’t help but have a sense of humor as Greg and I cooked a meal like this last night. 
Greg got the meat as a Christmas gift from one of his clients. Thoughtful, huh? I have had deer meat a couple of times before when one of Greg’s best friends Taylor made it for us…wrapped in bacon. I have to say, I don’t hate it. Definitely not my first choice of meat, but not terrible either.
We made sure to marinate the meat well in advance to get the most flavor as possible. We started marinating it on Thursday night and didn’t start cooking until almost 24 hours later. 
While Greg took the meat to the grill, I was too much of a baby and insisted the almost 60 degree weather in January was too cold to be outside. I had a good excuse anyway, because we needed side dishes for our deer. 

I stayed inside and caramelized some onions and garlic in margarine before adding asparagus spears and a splash of marsala wine sauce. Yuuummmmyy. 
I also whipped up some mashed potatoes using potato flakes! We have had some in the cabinet for awhile now, ever since Greg started experimenting with homemade sourdough bread. I figured this would be a good chance to use some of those flakes up and they were much better than I would have thought! Have you ever made mashed potatoes from boxed potato flakes? So fast and easy. Not a bad copout from the real thing if you ask me. 

Apparently deer meat is fairly lean compared to most other meats. That helped me justify eating a couple extra bites too.

It really did turn out as good as it could have been. Maybe a little pink, but it didn’t look quite that pink in real life. I think that’s mostly from the lighting. And pink is a good color anyway. Only my fave to be exact. Plus, I told Greg, “Well, if we die, at least we die together.” 🙂 
After dinner last night, we stayed in for a quiet evening. Watching movies and eating ice cream. Great combination. Hey, I didn’t want to go too crazy because I have a big morning! Greg and I are going to take a cooking class downtown! He signed us up for the class for one of my Christmas presents. I have been dying to do a cooking class and I can’t wait to let you know how it goes!
Have a great, relaxing Saturday!