Mystery Meat and Croquettes

Mystery Meat and Croquettes

Mystery Meat and Croquettes

In an effort to get to the bottom of the freezer, we discovered three bags of meat. So, two bags were identifiable and then other not so much. Our Mystery Meat and Croquettes will give us at least three or four meals because of how much it made.

Taking a Gander in my Freezer

As I was trying to get my groove back on this Friday morning, I hurried to check the freezer and pull out the bags of meat that were in question. Now, my husband didn’t know what any of the bags were, so I was going in blind. While my granddaughter was playing, I scurried out to the garage and found the three gallon sized baggies and a 1/2 bag of yeast rolls.


Once in the house, I pulled out my instant pot. I normally do not use it on the crockpot function because I don’t believe it works so well. However, my crockpot was dirty and my other one has seen better days, so I had no option. Completely frozen, I put in the mystery meat. From the looks of it, it was stew meat but from the smell of it, it was deer. I never cook deer meat. Ever. My son-in-law kills them and cooks it but not me. He does throw things in my freezer from time to time. Once, I opened it and an entire hind quarter was staring at me.

Texting the Man Child

I texted him and he said it could have been him, it could be deer meat, it could be something else. Really, zero help. So, I got a cup of water in their and set the crockpot function on low for about eight hours. He said if it was deer meat, to cook it low and slow to get the gamey taste out and to soften it up.


I mean, that’s what I did because I do not like to waste or throw food away. Whilst his daughter was running about my feet, I gagged a bit while I fit this all in the instant pot. The smell was not my favorite. Once the lid was on, I really didn’t think about it anymore.

Onto the Other Two Bags

One baggie had leftover ham in it. The other baggie, I sort of giggled at when I started looking closer. On the bottom of the bag were two slices of ham. However, the rest of the bag had turkey. I am guessing this was leftover Thanksgiving meat from my mom’s house because I rarely cook turkey. It just is never moist (you are welcome, Susan for using that word).

I let them thaw out while I pondered what on earth I could do to make it work. While I was pondering, I was cleaning my house. Again, it’s Friday and I typically clean the house on Friday. I have been so busy lately that I clean when I have the chance. Today, I cleaned around my girl baby (best helper ever).

Cleaning Out the Fridge and Pantry

I finally tackled the pantry and pulled out all the bits and pieces that I didn’t even know I had. For next week, I will do something with this huge bag of tortilla chips. It was a little bag and about a 1/2 bag but I combined them and now they need to go in something.

Nacho night? Maybe. I dunno yet.

There was a couple of good sized onions and one weenie one. I set it out to use. There was also two little bags of instant garlic mashed potatoes. Gluten free, so I pulled those out. Once I was in the fridge, I found a zucchini that needed to be eaten, a tiny bag of green onions, a bit of cheddar…really, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that in all the places.

Croquettes it is (well, my version of it anyway).

Croquette Recipe

Leftover ham

Leftover turkey



Green onions


Minced garlic


3 eggs

Gluten Free Flour

Italian Seasoning

Seasoning Mix


Mashed Potatoes (I used Instant Idahoan Garlic Mashed Potatoes)


First, I got my water started for the garlic mashed potatoes. Once that was boiling, I through in the instant potatoes, mixed, and set aside. Then, I got a huge mixing bowl out and cut up my meat into small pieces. There was a lot of meat (hence using three eggs to bind it). I added the chopped up onion and green onions. Also, I added in the minced garlic and seasoning. I did not heavily use my seasoning mix because the ham was pretty salty and so were the mashed potatoes. From there, I added the cheddar and mashed potatoes.

I had to leave to pick a kid up, so I covered that and it just hung out in the bowl while I was being mom. When I got home, it was cool enough to add in the eggs. If you add those eggs in with the hot mashed potatoes they will scramble up and that is not what you want.

Assembling the Croquettes

Once all of this was done, I got my hands in there (gross) and mixed it well. Like a meatloaf, do not overmix this stuff. I got a plate out and put my gf flour on it. While I was patting away, I was melting a pat of butter in a nonstick pan. I could fit seven croquettes in my skillet. Let them cook for about four minutes (or until golden brown) on each side. I had a lot of meat, so it made about 28. We ate it tonight, will probably eat it tomorrow night with some corn and leftover rolls. I also got a bag and will be freezing some for next week. Cook once, an ample amount, and eat that night and freeze for another night. Key to frugal living and shelf-cooking.

What I Will Add if I Make This Again

Next time, I will cut up some fresh mushrooms, a bigger onion, and some spinach. I could be wild and add in some cream cheese. Honestly, I wanted to add in the rest of the Feta cheese but didn’t want to waste it if these sucked. They didn’t suck, so I might add that next time. Oh, a mushroom sauce or brown sauce would be good over it. The possibilities are endless.

As for the Mystery Meat

My son-in-law checked it and it is definitely deer. He said to keep on cooking it and then decide what to do. I have a person I know that is super sweet and she lives on deer meat. When I saw her today, I asked her what she thought. She said to drain it, season it, and then pour bbq sauce over and make sandwiches. Easy enough. So, currently, that meat is marinating in the bbq sauce and I will reheat it tomorrow for lunch and then for meals on Sunday.

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Making Magic Out of Leftovers

Since I made the huge mistake of having Ham and Hashbrown Casserole two weeks in a row, tonight we are Making Magic Out of Leftovers. This is such an easy recipe and everyone really does enjoy it but I am not one to repeat meals too often (with the exception of pizza night). So, Zuppa Toscana will be, once again, pushed off until next week. God forbid we have two different soups in a week. Here is how I transformed my casserole into a fantastic soup using bits and pieces from my fridge as well (hence the shelf-cooking tag).

Ham and Hashbrown Casserole

Last night, we had ham and hashbrown casserole. I had fully intended to have it again tonight with the lima beans and some garlic bread (gf bread for one of my people). However, as much as we like this recipe, I was kind of over it. My family would never tell me they were tired of eating it but I know I am therefore I am sure they are as well.

When I did my bulk freezer cooking, I had enough ingredients to make this casserole twice. In making it twice, we ate on it, at least, four times because it made so much. We would have it as a main dish one night and a side dish the next. Wasting food, around my house, is not something I will do if I can help it. We eat it until it is gone or I freeze it. This time, I am repurposing it.

Realistic Shelf-Cooking with Leftovers

I looked in my fridge and I had a half a bag of bacon bits, some heavy cream I needed to use up, the casserole from last night, a few green onions, and some lunch meat ham that was ending its life. One child grabbed my crockpot and I set out to see what I could do. Normally, I would create a roux and add some sour cream, cream of chicken (or mushroom), and play around with the seasonings. This time, however, I didn’t have sour cream and I didn’t want to make my gf cream of chicken.

First, I dumped the leftovers into the crockpot. I then cut up the ham and tossed it in there. From that point, I added some water to loosen it up and the heavy cream. Since I added liquid, I did sprinkle in some chicken bouillon powder (nutritional yeast would have worked as well). I really wanted to saute up some fresh mushrooms, garlic, and onion but I didn’t want to take the time to do it. The mushrooms will be used for pizza night and the rest, I was just to lazy to do it.

I popped on the lid and set it to low. After a bit, I stirred it up and tasted it. It needed no seasoning but I did add some cheddar just because cheese makes everything better. My fear was that my potatoes would turn to mush but since I used cubed hashbrowns, they have kept their form. I’m restraining myself from stirring too often. Once you take the lid off the crockpot, you lose that seal and it takes a while to heat it back up.

I ate a bowl for lunch. For mine, I sprinkled on some green onions. It is fantastic! So now, we will ate it yesterday, today, and likely tomorrow for lunch. I serve one of my kids’ soup with gluten free saltine crackers.

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