Meals with Marge

I feel fortunate that we had two opportunities to enjoy the transformation of summer to fall.

Three weeks ago we drove to Lac du Flambeau. We were rewarded with an exceptional display of fall colors.

This past weekend we drove to Goodman to stay with Travis and our daughter Melissa at their cottage on Hilbert Lake. I love the lush green of the forests in the middle of summer, but I think I am enjoying the vivid colors of autumn even more. We arrived on Saturday, just in time to enjoy a lunch of bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches that Melissa had waiting for us. We ate, visited and then unpacked our belongings.

Later in the afternoon we drove to Armstrong Creek, about five miles from the cottage, and watched the Badgers game before ordering dinner. The Blue Roof Bar and Grill was a very friendly place with good food.

Our granddaughter Claire, who is 2, loves to watch “Shrek” movies. I rented one from the library before we left home. After watching “Shrek,” we watched “Grumpy Old Men.” It had been years since I had seen that movie and I had forgotten many parts of it. That was the first time I have watched two movies without being interrupted. It felt good.

We enjoyed sitting in front of the crackling fire while visiting and gazing out at Lake Hilbert. Most of the tourists have left. Many people live in houses surrounding the lake year-round, so it is quiet, but not deserted.

Hopefully, when we turn our clocks back an hour on Nov. 6 this year, it will be the last time we need to “change time.” Here is a guide to falling back as daylight saving time ends. Humorous, but very true reminders.

• If you have a smartphone, sit back and let it work its magic.

• If you have a sundial, move one house to the left.

• If you have a microwave, do not attempt, unless you have a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.

• When you get in your vehicle to change the time, remember, it’s not worth it. Live with it for six months.

Bow hunting season has begun and gun season is just around the corner. Hopefully, you’ll need these recipes for preparing venison.

Autumn Venison Stew

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 pound venison or beef stew meat, cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth
  • ¾ cup apple cider or juice
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 cup peeled winter squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 cup sliced parsnip
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

In a Dutch oven (or casserole), cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon; drain, crumble, and set aside; reserve drippings. Brown meat and onion in drippings. Drain off fat.

Add broth, cider, thyme and a dash of pepper. Cover and simmer 1 hour or until meat is almost tender. Add squash, parsnip, apple, raisins and bacon. Cover, simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Blend cold water into flour; add to stew. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook 1 minute more.

Venison Chili

To serve now, freeze or preserve in jars…

  • 8 cups ground venison
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 large onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 cans (28 ounces) tomatoes
  • 4 cans (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 3 cans (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 10 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 18 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dry chili pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 cans red kidney beans
  • 4 cups water

Saute meat, onions and garlic in oil until meat loses its redness. Add other ingredients and simmer two hours, stirring often. Serve with favorite garnishes, breads or crackers.

To can in jars, simmer ingredients 30 minutes. Fill hot, sterile jars. Seal and pressure cook one hour and 15 minutes for pints and one hour and 30 minutes for quarts at 10 pounds pressure.

To freeze, simmer 30 minutes, allow to cool, fill freezer containers to within one inch of top. Cover, label and freeze. To serve, simply thaw the chili and heat it.

Creamy Fall Spaghetti

Serves 4 or more

  • ½ box thin spaghetti
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, regular or Italian variety
  • ½ to 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
  • shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • cream cheese or sour cream
  • butternut, summer or acorn squash
  • rosemary and garlic

Boil spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, peel and cube squash. Saute in olive oil and then microwave for 2 minutes—set aside. You can buy the squash in a cellophane pouch in the produce department at some stores, if you want to skip the peeling and cubing step.

Mix tomato sauce and tomatoes with 2 tablespoons cream cheese or sour cream. Add rosemary and garlic to taste. Add squash to tomato mixture. Pour tomato mixture over spaghetti and serve with parmesan cheese.

Enjoy the simple pleasures of life and, of course, eat well.

Call or email me with questions or comments. I can be reached at 920-980-3885 or email owl.mcp@gmail.com.

Send your favorite recipes to be included in this column to me at The Sheboygan Sun, 606 Fremont St., Kiel, WI 53042. Please include your name and phone number in the event I have questions.

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