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Friday, April 29, 2011

Creamy Beef Penne Casserole

A few days ago I decided to try my hand at a casserole recipe I stumbled upon at, found here.  I adapted it to include deer meat and penne pasta, and I made a few unexpected last minute changes as I started cooking (as you'll see below).  Here goes!

Creamy Beef (or Deer!) Penne Casserole

  • 4 cups penne pasta, uncooked [essentially one box]
  • 2 cups pasta sauce [essentially one jar]
  • 1 pound ground beef [deer meat in this case]
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained [Here's where I made a substitution for a can of Rotel instead since I discovered we were out of diced tomatoes!]
  • 1 package Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups KRAFT Mozzarella Shredded Cheese [I applied it liberally ;) ]
  • 1/3 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese (And since I realized we were also out of Parmesan, I substituted another bag of shredded cheese)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt. Remove from pan; drain.

Cook beef [or deer meat! =) ] in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crumbled, stirring frequently; drain.  (I added some fresh onions and minced garlic for extra flavor.)

Meanwhile, add pasta sauce, ground beef, tomatoes and cream cheese to same pan; cook on medium heat 5 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently.

Return pasta to pan; mix well.

Layer half the pasta mixture in 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of 3/4 cup mozzarella and remaining pasta mixture.  Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake 20 min. [I covered the dish with aluminum foil for ooey-gooey cheese rather than a hard crust] or until heated through.

Serve immediately and enjoy -- which is exactly what Mr. L did :)

Next time, I'll probably make sure I actually have diced tomatoes on hand, since the Rotel made the whole thing a little spicy for my taste.  For the record, though, Mr. L loved it, as did the rest of my family after they sampled the leftovers I brought them :)

Looking at these pictures makes me want to make it all over again!  Maybe next week...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Deer Meatloaf

I recently discovered this recipe for Mini Skillet Meatloaves on, and after drooling for a little bit, I decided to give it a whirl with my own touch -- ground deer meat.

As I've mentioned before, we've been substituting ground deer meat for ground beef everywhere we can, and it's paid off since we haven't purchased any ground beef since December!  This recipe was very easy to follow, and I'm excited about trying it again, but next time substituting brown gravy for the ketchup-apple cider vinegar glaze in order to turn it into salisbury steak.

Here's the full recipe with minute changes I incorporated.  If you decide to try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as Mr. L and I did!

Mini Skillet Deer Meatloaf


  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 pound ground deer meat (this was enough for four loaves instead of the six the recipe originally called for)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (I added a little bit extra to make it sweeter)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Mix the breadcrumbs, milk, parsley, egg, Worcestershire sauce, onion, chili powder and garlic in a large bowl.  Add the meat, season with salt and pepper and mix with your hands until combined.

Shape into four 3-to-4-inch oval loaves.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add the loaves and brown about 3 minutes per side.

Whisk the ketchup, sugar and vinegar in a bowl.

Brush a few tablespoonfuls over the meat.  Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet, cover and simmer over low heat until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the loaves to a plate.  Add the remaining ketchup mixture to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring, until thick, 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve over the loaves and enjoy!