Archive for November, 2015

Venison Recipes You Need To Try This Season

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Another deer hunting season has come and gone as the firearm season comes to a close. Hopefully you were able to come home with a deer (or two), or at least were able to get out and enjoy nature. Now, with your freezer stocked, here are some of our favorite ways for you and your family to enjoy venison this winter.

Slow Cooker Venison Chili

We love crockpot recipes for the ease they provide, especially in the midst of the busy holiday season. This slow cooker venison chili recipe is no exception. First, brown your ground venison. Second, add the venison and other ingredients in the crockpot. Leave the crockpot on low for 8 hours and then enjoy! It’s that easy.  This hearty chili recipe guaranteed to warm you up and keep you full.

Photo and Recipe by Sarah Olson via The Magical Slow Cooker

Venison Tacos

Tacos for dinner are great because they are simple and not a great deal of cooking is needed for the meal (beyond chopping and dicing). Switch up your normal beef or chicken tacos for venison tacos. Venison tacos are incredibly versatile, as various cuts of the meat can be used to make them. That means venison tacos are great for using up left over venison you may have hidden in your freezer. Once the meat has been cooked, you’re ready to personalize your new favorite tacos and enjoy.

Photo and Recipe by Hank Shaw via Honest Food

Venison Jerky

Change up your favorite grab-and-go snack with this venison treat. The recipe from Ann’s Entitled Life, walks you through step by step on how to make venison jerky at home. The whole batch doesn’t have to taste the same, either. Feel free to switch out your seasonings so you can have a wide variety of jerky flavors when you are finished. While many other jerky recipes include fat from other meat (most commonly pork), this recipe includes only venison leaving you with a tasty, lean snack.

Photo and Recipe by Ann via Ann’s Entitled Life

Bacon Wrapped Venison Backstrap

Venison backstraps can be a very versatile piece of meat. The backstraps can be cut into steaks, they can be pan fried, or you can leave them whole and grill them. For this recipe, you’ll leave the backstraps whole, wrap them in bacon, and drizzle a jalapeno and molasses glaze on them while they are cooking. This spicy and sweet recipe is a great main dish for dinner.

Photo and Recipe by Malcom Reed via How to BBQ Right

Venison Burger

Change out your normal hamburger routine with a venison burger. Follow this recipe to create the best burger you’ve ever had. Combining venison with bacon for its patty and topped with grilled onions, cheese, tomato and lettuce – this burger is a great rendition of the American classic.

Photo and Recipe by Hank Shaw via Honest Food

Now that you are nice and hungry, what is on the menu for dinner tonight?

Also, don’t forget that many of our resorts are open year round. Plan your winter vacation now!

5 Family Fun Winter Activities in Leech Lake

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

It’s hard to believe with this unseasonably warm weather that winter is right around the corner. But before you know it, we’ll be bundled up and shoveling snow. But that doesn’t mean you have to be trapped inside your house all winter. Here are some of our favorite winter activities to keep you busy and get you out of the house.

1) Ice fishing

Leech Lake is the third largest lake within Minnesota’s state boarders. It is great for walleye fishing and the expansive lake won’t make you feel crowded while out on the ice. Ice fishing doesn’t just have to be for adults, it can be a great family outing as well. The Minnesota DNR has a great ice fishing activity book to get your little ones familiar with ice fishing terms and safety. Be sure to check in with the weekly fishing reports, so you know what to expect when you are out on the lake.

2) Snowmobiling

With miles of trails groomed specifically for snowmobiling, Leech Lake is a perfect place for your next trip. We love snowmobiling on the Heartland and Paul Bunyan State Trails. Those two trails alone have over 150 miles of trail to be explored by you this winter, and connect to multiple other trails. After a long day of snowmobiling, warm up while checking out some of Leech’s Lake local restaurants. Many restaurants will cater to riders with parking and even have a heated spot to store your gear.  Check the trails before you head out so you can get enjoy the best of snowmobiling.

Snowmobile in Leech Lake on miles of snowy, groomed trails

1) Cross Country Skiing

The hundreds of miles of trails in the Leech Lake area offer cross country skiing to all levels of skiers. We love to go cross country skiing on the Chippewa National Forest trails as it offers skiing of all levels. In the Walker area alone, you can enjoy miles of groomed trails on the Heartland trail, the Shingobee Recreation Area and the Goose Lake Hunter Walking Trail. You may just even see a red fox or a white tailed deer. Remember, if you are 16 years old or older you must purchase a ski pass to ski on any trails in Minnesota state parks or forests. Get moving this winter and enjoy the beauty of winter from the woods.

2) Sledding

The Shingobee Recreation Area isn’t just for cross country skiing. The Shingobee Hills was originally one of the first downhill ski areas in Minnesota, but is now enjoyed in the winter by sledders. The hill is fairly steep, so you can start closer to the bottom of the hill and work your way up as you are feeling a little more adventurous. On the weekends, you can warm up after sledding in the chalet at the bottom of the hill.

3) Ice Skating and Hockey

If it’s too cold to go spend the day outside, but you are still looking to get moving and out of the house, The Walker Area Community Center has you covered. You can watch a youth hockey team, participate on an intramural team, or skate for fun.  Rental skates are available for just one dollar and you can purchase a skating card (good for 12 sessions) and use the indoor rink for $50.

Many of our Leech Lake resorts are open year round, and are looking forward to see you this winter. Plan your winter vacation now!

Robin on berry tree branch in winter woodland in Minnesota

Traditions of Hunting

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Deer opener is right around the corner, and hunters around Leech Lake are preparing for the hunt. While the ultimate goal of hunting is often to bring venison home for you and your family, it is not the only reason to get out in the deer stand this weekend. Many people get out to hunt to disconnect from the fast-paced way of life and to honor family traditions.

A family’s hunting tradition often brings three generations of families together. Through making lists, divvying up responsibilities, and gathering supplies – comradery is born through the simple act of planning. Once up north, hunters have yearly traditions they honor. Some traditions include visiting the same bars and restaurants, others include cooking and enjoying traditional meals (such as a venison steak from a deer from the previous year), while others involve storytelling and teaching young hunters about all that hunting has to offer. Lessons and rituals are taught throughout generations, and life time memories are made.

While out in the deer stand, you have the ability to experience nature in its truest and most simple form. Sitting quietly while waiting for a deer, other wild life will lend itself toward you. Foxes may come play around your feet, and squirrels will seem as if they are having conversations with you. You  have the time to sit and enjoy the crackling of the trees and the rustling of the leaves that may have otherwise been tuned out. Hunting often provides hunters a time to slow down and disconnect. With the need to stay silent and focused, there is no consistent bing of the phone reminding you of what you should be doing, and no WiFi to keep you distracted. Hunting provides some of the only time when we can truly disconnect with our fast paced every day and reconnect with things that really matter: traditions and nature.

Do you have any hunting traditions? Share with us in the comments below.

Good luck and be safe, hunters! We’ll see you in Leech Lake soon.