Jalapeno Popper Pasta

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As much as I hate to admit it, this should probably be my last post for a while. It’s time to start packing and getting ready to move, so I’ll leave you with this last new recipe until we get settled in to Leakey. Don’t let that stop you from using the other 250-plus recipes here at MyWildKitchen.com. I think I have enough to keep you covered until I get back at it in a few weeks… And you can still keep up with me on all the social media outlets:  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you haven’t followed along there yet, please do! You can also subscribe to my email list to know exactly when I get back to sharing new recipes!

I feel like I’m about to start bragging and making some of you very jealous. You see, we still have venison tenders in the freezer. I know, I know, we are SO lucky!

But I’m also stingy. I hoard our tenders because I know when they’re gone, they’re gone. I don’t cook them up all at the beginning of the season. Plus we keep wild pork tenders in stock too when possible.

This Jalapeño Popper Pasta is perfect for so many reasons.

Have you ever had a get-together and ended up with so many leftover jalapeño poppers that you really weren’t sure what to do with them? According to my Instagram friends, they freeze and warm up in the oven really well. But if you just have a handful, this Jalapeño Popper Pasta is a delicious way to use them up! I used six in my pasta, but Coach said I could have used a lot more.

The other reason this pasta is handy is because we all know that there aren’t nearly enough tenders on a deer. There’s only two! And they aren’t exactly huge. Two small tenders will barely feed Coach and I on stay-at-home date nights. The rich, filling pasta in this dish allows the meat to go a little bit further because everyone can fill up on the pasta. Everyone gets to taste the tenders, too, but they get stretched a little further than if they were just grilled and eaten as the main dish.

If you don’t have venison tenders you can grill some venison steaks or backstraps instead. Remember:  aim to grill them to medium-rare. We’ll talk more about grilling in a minute.

Here’s your ingredient list:

Venison Tenders  |  Garlic  |  Mozzarella  |  Fettuccini  |  Half-n-half
Leftover jalapeño poppers  |  Pepper  |   Butter  |  Sea salt {not pictured}

These were plain Jane leftover jalapeño poppers:  half a jalapeño {seeded}, stuffed with softened cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, then grilled. I know, it’s weird that you would have any leftovers, but it does happen from time to time.

Nothing in this meal prep takes long to cook, so make sure to have everything ready when the cooking actually starts.

Let’s get started!

 

Step 1 ~ 15 minutes

Build a HOT fire in the bbq pit. We cook with real wood, but, whatever you choose, just keep it hot.

Also, set a large pot of water on to boil, seasoned with salt and garlic powder.

Because venison tenders are so delicious on their own, I often keep the seasoning to a bare minimum:  cracked black pepper and coarse sea salt. Sprinkle it over both sides of the meat and set it aside.

 

Step 2 ~ 5 minutes

You’ll need a couple cloves of minced garlic when we make our sauce. I prefer fresh minced garlic for alfredo sauce, but you can use the jarred stuff, too. And I’m still in love with this mincing plate. It turns garlic into butter. Mince 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and set it aside.

Grab your leftover jalapeño poppers and a sharp knife,

and chop them up into little pieces.

 

Step 3 ~ 10 minutes

Stir 1 lb fettucine pasta a handful at a time into the boiling water, and cook it according to the package directions.

The pasta takes the longest to cook out of any of this.

 

Step 4 ~ 7 minutes

Using a large skillet that you can use metal utensils in {or any skillet if your whisk is rubber coated}, melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

Add the minced garlic and sauté it for about a minute.

Gradually stir in 1½ c half-n-half, or heavy cream or milk, or any combination of the three.

Allow the sauce to simmer for about five minutes.

 

Step 5 ~ 6 – 10 minutes

Meanwhile, place the tenders on the hot grill. Allow them to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, getting a good sear on the outside before flipping them.

My tenders cooked for about 9 minutes total. This will all depend on how hot your flame is, how big your tenders are, etc. Without pressing on the meat, observe the juices coming out of the top of the meat.

If the juices are still dark red, the meat should cook a little longer. If the juice is slightly red or the second it turns clear, take those babies off the fire!

Unless you have someone else cooking the tenders, keep a close eye on them as you go back and forth between the sauce and the pit. And we don’t want the sauce to burn either! Quick! Get back inside!

 

Step 6 ~ 5 minutes

After the sauce has simmered for about 5 minutes, gradually sprinkle in 2 c shredded mozzarella cheese,

whisking it in and melting it as you go.

Once the cheese is melted in smooth with the sauce add the chopped jalapeño poppers

and stir.

 

Step 7 ~ 5 minutes

Things are starting to come together now. Drain the cooked pasta and place it in a large bowl.

Pour the jalapeño popper alfredo sauce over the pasta

and toss it to coat in the sauce.

Slice the perfectly grilled venison tenders into half-inch medallions.

Try not to eat too many slices as you go. Save some for the rest of your family.

Serve the pasta topped with a few slices of venison tenders and sprinkled with a few slices of green onion, if you wish, and enjoy!

Who knew something so flavorful and delicious could come together in the amount of time it takes to boil some pasta?! Quick, but oh-so fancy!

How’s your freezer inventory looking these days? What favorite cut have you been holding out on using? Tell us in the comments below!

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