Cheesy Venison Enchiladas

Venison abounds in this household.  Mostly because of the men in my family who all happen to be a great shot.  My yankee husband got pulled into it a couple years ago as well and has since become quite the hunter.  I think he feels really in touch with his manliness providing meat for the family (but that's just my theory).

Seriously though, venison is lean, organic (when harvested in the wild), and can be delicious when combined with the right ingredients.  Enter, "Cheesy Venison Enchiladas..."
I served this with Gallo Pinto and sour cream + cilantro and our guests insisted they take home the leftovers :-) We gobbled it up (except the few leftovers the guests took home) and I will definitely make this again.

Cheesy Venison Enchiladas
9 servings (I made a 9x13" casserole dish for 6 & another smaller pan for 3 to stock in the freezer for later)
Modified by Emily Lodes (that's me :-) from  various enchilada recipes

- 2T olive oil
- 1 lg onion (half chopped & half minced; separate the chopped from the minced)
- 1.5 lbs ground venison (can also use ground beef)
- 1 pkg taco seasoning
- 1 (29 oz) can of tomato sauce
- 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
- 1 lb shredded cheddar
- 4 oz can of green chilies
- 1/2 c of sliced/minced black olives
- 1 pkg of corn tortillas
- 2 oz of shredded mozzarella (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil on the stove & add ½ the onion (chopped).  When onions are translucent, add the venison.  When the meat is almost completely cooked, add ½ the packet of taco seasoning.

In a medium bowl, stir together the large can of tomato sauce & the can of tomato paste along with the other ½ of the taco seasoning packet.

In another medium bowl, mix together the other ½ of the onion (minced), the can of green chilies, the minced/sliced olives, and about ½ the bag (8oz) of cheddar cheese.  When the meat is cooked through, add the meat mixture in as well.  (You may need to drain the meat mixture first - mine was lean enough to skip that step).

Take a 9x13” casserole dish and coat the bottom with a layer of the tomato sauce.

Zap the corn tortillas in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds to soften them up.  Then, one at a time, dip a tortilla in the tomato sauce, scoop about two spoon-fulls of meat mixture into it, roll it, and place it in the casserole dish.  

Repeat, placing each rolled tortilla tightly side by side until the dish is full.  (Repeat this step with a smaller baking dish as well to use up the leftover ingredients and freeze a meal for later). 

Top all of the enchiladas with another layer of the tomato sauce mixture, a sprinkling of the leftover meat mixture, and with a light layer of cheddar cheese (& mozzarella if you like).

Bake for 25-30 minutes (broil it on med heat at the end for 2 min, rotating half-way, for a crispy top).

Serving suggestions: gallo pinto, sour cream + fresh cilantro, & a fresh salad

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