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Montana's Winning Recipe: Bison in a Field

“I love to go hunting with my dad. One of my favorite meals to help make is mini meat loaves with ground venison. For this recipe, we decided to use ground bison, which is raised here in Montana, and is healthy. I had an image of a mini bison in a field of green. If you don’t have a bison cookie cutter like we do, you can use any shape—we also like to use heart shapes. I also used cherries, goat cheese, sage, and whole wheat, which are all ingredients from Montana.”  

Brooke DuCharme, Age 8, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Montana 

Makes 4 Servings


For the Mini Meat Loaves:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound ground bison (you can substitute with ground turkey)
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (you can substitute with plain breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup nonfat milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of ground sage (optional)

For the Salad:

  • 8 ounces mixed greens and spinach
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 11 ounces mandarin orange segments, packed in juice
  • Raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing or balsamic vinaigrette


  1. To make the Mini Meat Loaves: In a medium nonstick skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mix all the remaining Mini Meat Loaf ingredients, including the sautéed onions. Combine well using your hands. Line a 9 x 11-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, or grease with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place cookie cutter on paper or pan and fill with meat loaf mixture. Remove cookie cutter and repeat. Bake meat loaves for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. To make the Salad: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and toss well. 
  4. To Assemble: On each serving plate, arrange salad and place the Mini Meat Loaf in “the field” (on the salad).

592 calories 30g fat 42g carbohydrates 38g protein

Brooke serves this with salad and toasty dinner rolls.