October 2015
Your Next Meal From the Wildside

A Helping Hand

To Bring Home the Next Meal

Children don’t always understand what it is that their parents do for work. Sometimes young children may not even make the connection between the job you go to every day and the meals you put in their lunchboxes and on their plates. As Rolley Len and Cason get older, Jason and I talk to them more and more about how money is earned and where it is spent. We try to explain what it means to have a job, to keep up health and home, and how to make it all last so you can enjoy it.

As adults, Jason and I know our regular jobs and the additional side work we do are necessary to provide for our family now, and also to plan for what is yet to come. Nothing is ever certain, so we work today knowing we also must be ready for any hurdles we could face as a family in the future.

Rolley Len and Cason have both already expressed their interest in various careers, but Cason has revealed an unexpected interest in renovating houses and "picking." Every time we pass an older vacant house, he describes how he would fix it up from start to finish. He explains what abandoned contents he would keep to sell or donate as if he has years of experience culling old houses. Then he goes on to explain all the steps of preparing the house for a new family from clearing out spiders to repairing the roof.

Many people say that one of the joys of having children is to be able to see the world through their eyes. That could not be truer than when I hear Cason talk about his plans to do hands-on work restoring houses. Knowing he isn’t afraid of hard work makes me proud and is a reminder that he is his Daddy’s son. Jason has always been skilled at building and making sure what he builds is just right, even if it takes extra time. So it also makes me very joyful when Cason is able to lure his Daddy away for a break from whatever he is working on to hunt, fish or explore for a while instead.

Cason’s desire to hunt for his own food combined with his interest in hard work means he is likely going to be helping Jason for years to come at our house, the farm and the hunting camp. As bow season has approached, the timing has been perfect for him to show his skills by helping Jason prepare the hunting camp for a while.

Preparing for hunting season is a lot of hard work that needs to be done in a fairly short period of time. They have to plow firebreaks and get the green fields ready before the end of September. The camp itself has to be cleaned thoroughly and stocked with supplies to get ready for all the hunters visiting throughout the winter. In the woods, there is more to be done. Cameras must be checked, batteries changed and new camera cards inserted. Stands must be cleaned out and checked for safety.

This year Cason is old enough not only to help with more of the cleanup but also to understand how the time and work put into preparing the hunting camp relates to bringing home our family’s next meal.

  Mother-in-Law Goulash

Mother-in-Law Goulash

1 pound ground deer meat (turkey or beef may be substituted)

Garlic powder, to taste

Salt and paper, to taste

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in small cubes

2 Tablespoons oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 can tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, drained

Season ground meat with garlic powder, salt and pepper while browning in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Place potatoes into a large, deep skillet with oil and cook over medium heat until halfway cooked. Add onions and bell pepper to potatoes. Continue cooking, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Add browned meat. Add beans. Allow the flavors to blend as it simmers until ready to eat. Salt and pepper to taste. Hot sauce is optional.

Note: Jason’s mother would make this goulash for their family to eat at the hunting camp. It is very hearty, easy to make and can simmer until the hunters return from their stands.

Traditional Goulash

1 pound ground deer meat

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 Tablespoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 pound macaroni

1 cup cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Brown meat with onion and pepper. Add garlic salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Boil macaroni while meat mixture simmers for 10 minutes. Drain macaroni after 9 minutes of boiling. Return macaroni to pot, add beef mixture. Serve with cheese on top.

Tex-Mex Goulash

1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1 pound ground deer meat

1 onion, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup frozen corn

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions then drain. In a soup pot over medium heat, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 3-4 minutes, or until heated through. Add macaroni to meat mixture, stirring to combine. Serve with cheese on top.

Christy Kirk is a freelance writer who lives in Little Texas.