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Better than beef: Dietitian-approved appetizers for game day that use game meat

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MILWAUKEE -- You don't need to go hunting to enjoy game meat -- but you might want to add it to your shopping list. Kerry Clifford with Fresh Thyme joins Real Milwaukee with red meat alternative that are not only tasty -- but also better for you.

The average American eats 222 pounds of red meat and poultry per year. There are other types of red meat like bison, venison and elk that were commonly eaten during the Paleolithic era. Eating bison, venison and elk are nutritious and delicious, too!

Bison
a. Bison is more lean than beef (for the same portion you save 30 calories), but has more iron and Vitamin B12 than Chicken, nutrients for keeping you energized.
b. Bison makes a great burger, meat ball, or here, for game thyme nachos!
c. Thaw the bison in your refrigerator for 48 hours and then sauté it with some onions. Then arrange over plantain chips with some cheese, jalapeno, and meat. Bake for about 6-8 minutes. Then, you can top with avocado, salsa and Greek yogurt as a swap for sour cream.
d. Taste: Bison tastes similar to beef, but is a little bit more sweet.
e. The plantain chips are roasted and salted, which give a great flavor. They also are packed with potassium and are on a paleo and gluten free diet.

Recipe: Bison Nachos
Ingredients
• 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small white onion, finely chopped
• 1 (1 lb.) pkg. frozen ground bison, thawed
• 1 (15 oz.) can Fresh Thyme organic black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 (1.25 oz.) pkg. Fresh Thyme taco seasoning
• ¾ cup water
• 2 (6 oz.) pkg. Fresh Thyme sea salt plantain chips
• 1 cup Fresh Thyme shredded Colby-Jack cheese
• 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced*
• 2 radishes, thinly sliced
• 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
• Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
• 2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme habanero hot sauce
• Fresh Thyme organic black bean and corn salsa, for serving
• Lime wedges, for serving

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add bison and cook until browned. Stir in beans, taco seasoning, and water. Cook for 6 minutes or until meat mixture is thickened and heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. On an oven-safe serving platter, arrange chips. Top with meat mixture, cheese, and jalapeño slices. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven; top with radish slices and avocado. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Drizzle with habanero hot sauce. Serve with salsa and lime wedges.
4. * Note: Chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn skin and eyes. When working with jalapeños, wear protective gloves.

Venison
a. It has a third of the fat of beef and half the calories of beef when comparing the same portion size. A 3 oz portion has about 24 grams of protein with all of the essential amino acids. It also is higher in iron and B Vitamins, which are important for energy.
b. You`ll have to thaw any of these different meats, they`re found in the frozen bunker section.
c. Taste: it's darker colored and more richly flavored than beef.

Recipe: Venison Sliders with Blueberry Sauce
Ingredients
• ½ cup Fresh Thyme blueberry preserves
• ¼ cup Fresh Thyme Smokin` Sweet BBQ Sauce
• 10 slices Fresh Thyme smoked uncured bacon, divided
• 1 Fresh Thyme large egg, beaten
• 1 (1 lb.) pkg. frozen ground venison, thawed
• ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
• 2 tsp. chopped Fresh Thyme fresh rosemary
• 2 tsp. chopped Fresh Thyme fresh thyme
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 tsp. Fresh Thyme organic ground black pepper
• 3 oz. Fresh Thyme natural smoked Gouda cheese, cut into 12 slices
• 1 (12 ct.) pkg. Hawaiian sweet rolls, split
• 1½ cups baby arugula

Directions
1. In a small bowl, stir together blueberry preserves and BBQ sauce; set aside.
2. Finely chop 4 slices of bacon. In a large bowl, gently combine chopped bacon, egg, venison, onion, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and black pepper. Be careful not to overmix. Form meat mixture into 12 patties. If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours.
3. Cut remaining 6 bacon slices in half. In a large skillet, cook bacon slices over medium heat until desired crispness. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels
4. Add 6 venison patties to skillet; cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through (160°F), turning once and topping each with a cheese slice during the last minute of cooking. Repeat with remaining patties and cheese slices.
5. Serve venison patties in buns, topped with bacon, arugula, and blueberry-BBQ sauce.

Elk
d. Similar to bison and venison, lower in fat, higher in quality protein, but less of a game meat flavor
e. Taste: very dark meat and the sweetest
f. Chili is a great way to incorporate game meats, since they are more lean and sometimes have a bit of a different taste, your family won`t notice in chili or pasta!

Recipe: Pumpkin Elk Chili Recipe
Ingredients
• 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme olive oil
• 1 1/2 lbs. Ground elk
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 1 poblano Chile pepper, seeded and chopped*
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 Tbsp. ancho Chile powder
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme fine sea salt
• 1 (28 oz.) can Fresh Thyme crushed tomatoes, undrained
• 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 cup Fresh Thyme low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 cup Fresh Thyme solid-pack pumpkin
• 2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh pumpkin or butternut squash
• 1 recipe Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Directions
1. In a 4-quart. Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add elk, onion, bell pepper, poblano Chile pepper, garlic, ancho Chile powder, cumin, and sea salt. Cook for 10 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
2. Add tomatoes, black beans, chicken broth, solid-pack pumpkin, and fresh pumpkin or squash. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Serve chili warm topped with Spicy Pumpkin Seeds.
4. Spicy Pumpkin Seeds: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds on baking sheet. Coat with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. cayenne pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted.
5. *Note: Chile peppers contain volatile oils that irritate skin and eyes. When working with poblanos, wear protective gloves.

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