Salsa Topping for Venison Burgers

I have never dated a deer hunter before.  Now I’m engaged to a wonderful man who loves, loves, loves hunting.  My family doesn’t hunt.  My dad owns a few guns but I’ve never spent any time at the hunting range.

Now I’m learning to shoot and loving every minute of it.   I’m also enjoying cooking my hunter’s fresh deer meat.  Venison is a lean meat.  For me, this is wonderful news because in the last year I’ve become more conscious of my health.  And I love burgers.  I love meat.  So needless to say, I’ve come up with lots of variations on the venison burger.

Salsa/Shrimp Topping

This one combine my love for mexican with my love of seafood.  Just imagine guacamole met up with a fisherman and it was love at first sight.


1 bag salad shrimp

1 cup homemade salsa

1 cup guacamole

2 strips crumbled bacon

1 tbsp. butter


Take a small saucepan and melt the butter on med. heat.  Set the guacamole aside in a mixing bowl.  Once the  butter has melted, add the bag of salad shrimp.  Make sure the shrimp is thawed and rinsed.  The shrimp can be thawed quickly by running them under cold water for about ten minutes.

Add salsa to the shrimp.  Allow to cook until warm.  Drain if you find there’s extra water in the pan.  Do this by pressing a lid over the shrimp and salsa.  Allow the extra liquid to drain into the sink.  Be VERY CAREFUL.  Remember you are dealing with a hot pan.

Dump the shrimp and salsa into the mixing bowl.  Mix the guacamole and bacon in.  Top on your venison burger.  Enoy!


How to Make Gluten Free Tomato Gratin

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

1)  Heat oven to 425 degrees. Chop 1 large sweet onion. Set aside in a bowl. Finely mince two garlic cloves.

2)  Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil. When the oil has been heated through, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. Add one teaspoon of maple syrup while cooking the onion. A good test is to take your spatula and cut an onion in half. If it cuts easily, it’s ready. You’ll want the onion tender but not brown.

What the onion should look like after about 10 minutes.

3)  Remove the onion and mix in two teaspoons of honey. Set aside.

4)  Take some gluten free crackers, either ones you’ve made from a mix or bought, and crush. You’ll want about a cup. Mix with 1 cup of Parmesan cheese.

5)  Take a medium baking dish out. Cover the bottom with ½ of the onion mixture. Slice two small tomatoes into half slices. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the onions in a layer. Top with the other half of the onions. Top with the crackers/cheese. Finally, top with six small pats of butter.

6)  Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Enjoy!

How To Make Elk Tostadas

  Tostadas are a great option for anyone cutting out gluten from their diet.  Elk is a wonderful meat with very little fat.  For those who enjoy their hunting (like my fiance) using elk to create a unique tostada is satisfying and healthy.    So, gather your fry pan, spatula, cutting board and a good chopping knife and get to work!

1)  Put a small bowl next to your cutting board.  I use this to keep my chopped veggies separate from any raw meat.   Take a good, sharp knife and slice a red bell pepper in half.  Tear out the seeds and white core, this is very easy to do by hand.  If you have a garden consider using the seeds and core in a compost pile.  Slice the bell pepper into long strips.  Place in aforementioned bowl.

2)  Cut a tomato into chunks.  Make sure the tomato has been thoroughly rinsed. If you’re not a fan of tomato substitute with a yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, or red onions.  Your options are endless.

3)  Take a bag of fresh baby spinach and cut off the top.  You’ll use about a cup for four tostadas.  Store the rest in a large, Ziploc bag.  Place in a clean colander and rinse in the sink.  Make sure you pick out any wilted leaves.  Rinse thoroughly and set next to the bowl with your veggies in it.

4)  Rinse off your cutting board and knife.  Make sure the Elk tenderloin has been tenderized and marinated in a dressing of your choice.  A simple mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, and rubbed sage would also work well.  For fresh ideas google, “homemade dressing.”  Take the tenderloin out of the marinade and cut into thin strips.  You can also cut the tenderloin into strips beforehand and marinate in a large, Ziploc bag if desired.

5)  Take your fry pan and heat to medium.  Coat with a thin layer of canola oil.  Make sure the oil has a chance to heat before you place the meat in it.  A good test is to wet your fingers and sprinkle some water into the oil.  If it sizzles, the temperature is perfect.  If your oil splatters, turn the temperature down a little.

6)  Cook the elk until tender.  This generally takes about 10-15 minutes.  I use very little oil and put the remaining marinade in the pan.  It gives my meat a great flavor.  After the meat is cooked, place the strips on a plate with paper towels on it.  Doing this will let the excess oil drain off the meat.

7)  Allow your oven to preheat to 350 degrees.  While it’s heating, take a cookie sheet and cover it with foil.  Place 4 or 5 tostadas on the foil.  Put the Elk on first.  You’ll want to cover the tostadas but not overload them.   Top with the bell peppers and tomatoes (or your veggie of choice) next.  Finally take the baby spinach and rip into bite size pieces, place this on top.  Finish with a few tablespoons of salsa and your choice of cheese.  I’ve used feta, shredded cheddar, and even goat cheese.

8)  Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes.  I usually check them after fifteen minutes, if the cheese is melted they’re ready.   Enjoy!

A Word About Elk:

I’m a recent convert to Elk as a food group.  My fiance was the first one to introduce me to Grilled Elk steak and Elk burgers.  I fell in love, if that’s possible.  When you’re cooking with Elk, keep in mind it’s low fat content.  If you’re using Elk as a minute steak, tenderize it first.  Elk benefits from marinades too.