Freezer Clean-Out Meals: Venison-Parmesan Flatbreads

Like many people, I have a freezer full of partial bags of peas, single breakfast sandwiches, leftover spaghetti sauce, unidentifiable plastic containers, and ziploc bags of mystery.  However, rather than leave these things until it’s time to buy a new refrigerator, I try to clean out periodically and cook with what’s there.  Over the years, I successfully created week-long menus based on the freezer’s & pantry’s bounty.  This past week, while the kids were gone, I tackled the freezer again with the goal of creating dinners for two based on what was on-hand. It’s like having your own little version of a Chopped challenge!

On-Hand in the Freezer This Week
*one puff pastry sheet
*small container of meat sauce
*half a bag of fish sticks
*quarter bag of tater tots
*a small bag of strawberries
*leftover cornbread (I save it for stuffing)
*leftover roasted chicken
*frozen kale
*frozen brussels sprouts (still not sure why I have this)
*one bison ribeye
*leftover ham shank
*one container of something dark, but looks like beans
*one chicken taquito (why would someone just leave ONE!?!?!)
*one waffle (again, why just ONE!!?!?!)
*leftover fried cube steak

So what did I make?

The chicken became chicken salad. The taquito is still in solitary confinement. The fish sticks and tater tots became lunch.  The strawberries are becoming jam. The meat sauce became spaghetti for lunch. The bison ribeye was actually a 2-pack of venison chops that joined up with the puff pastry and became a flatbread for dinner.

Venison-Parmesan Flatbread

1 medium sweet onion
1 garlic clove–minced
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
1 thawed puff pastry
2 venison chops-thinly sliced (discard the bones or save them for a stock)
1/4 c. jalapeno cream cheese (found that in the fridge)
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1/2 c. bacon bits (found in the pantry)
2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (not the powdered stuff in a can)
1 egg + a little water to make an egg wash
12 oz porter (we always have beer on-hand)
3/4 c. sugar
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out puff pastry to remove folds and enlarge by an inch on each side.  Tranfer pastry sheet to a parchment lined cookie sheet and set aside.

In a small skillet, cook onions and garlic in olive oil and butter over medium heat until onions become soft and light brown (caramelized).  Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, combine porter, sugar, red pepper flakes, and butter in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes to thicken.  Remove from heat to cool. Beer syrup will be drizzled over the flatbread just before serving.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften.  Stir in mayonnaise. Spread cream cheese mixture onto puff pastry, leaving a 1 inch margin around all edges of the pastry.  Sprinkle the cream cheese with bacon bits and caramelized onions.  Top with venison slices and Parmesan cheese.

Brush the edges of the puff pastry with egg wash.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry puffs, is golden brown, the cheese melts, and the venison cooks.  Cool briefly before drizzling with beer syrup.  Slice the flatbread into quarters and serve!


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