Healthy Veggie Lasagna

Healthy Veggie Lasagna

Cooking at McFarland Creek Outdoors

Amanda Hatcher prepares hearty and delicious meals for guests at McFarland Creek Outdoors. Here Amanda shares a guest favorite, Healthy Veggie Lasagna.

1 box of lasagna

1 bag of thawed (Frozen) spinach

1 bag of chopped carrots (cooked)

2 bottles of Alfredo sauce

1 16 oz container of sour cream

1 16 oz ricotta 

1 medium bag of mozzarella cheese

Cook the lasagna, cook the carrots until tender, thaw the frozen spinach. Mix the container of sour cream and ricotta together. Then start the layers. Lasagna noodles on the bottom and then put a layer of the sour cream, ricotta mixture, spinach, carrots, drizzle the Alfredo sauce and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese. Continue to do the layers until the cheese is the last layer. Bake at 350 until the cheese is good an melted and the lasagna is heated completely through. About 45 minutes. 

Veggie Lasagna

Amanda Hatcher, who provides onsite meals for guests at McFarland Creek Outdoors and caters many special events throughout the region, has offered the recipe for one of her quick and healthy favorites to try at home.


1 box of lasagna

1 bag of thawed (Frozen) spinach

1 bag of chopped carrots (cooked)

2 bottles of Alfredo sauce

1 16 oz container of sour cream

1 16 oz ricotta 

1 medium bag of mozzarella cheese

Cook the lasagna, cook the carrots until tender, thaw the frozen spinach. Mix the container of sour cream and ricotta together. Then start your layers. Lasagna noodles on the bottom and then put a layer of the sour cream, ricotta mixture, spinach, carrots, drizzle the Alfredo sauce and sprinkle the mozzarella cheese. Continue to do the layers until the cheese is the last layer. Bake at 350 until the cheese is good and melted and the lasagna is heated completely through. About 45 minutes. 

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potato

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potato

Take 5 boneless/skinless chicken breast and cook in Crockpot on high for 4 hours.

A couple of hours prior to the chicken being done, put baking potatoes in the oven on 350.

Cook then until soft. When chicken is done, drain broth. (I freeze to use later in other dishes.)

Shred chicken.

Take a block of softened cream cheese and mix together with a bottle of buffalo sauce of your choice and a bottle of ranch dressing.

Once mixed together well pour over the shredded chicken and mix.

Stuff potato, drizzle with ranch dressing or shredded cheese (optional)

Recipe by Amanda Hatcher, McFarland Creek Outdoors

Marinades for Meats and Vegetables

Marinades for Meats and Vegetables

Looking for Marinades for game, steak or chicken? Marinades can add a great taste to meats. They can be made up ahead of time and stored in the fridge in zip lock bags. Meats generally require at least one hour to soak up the flavors. Allowing for an overnight soak in your fridge makes flavors more robust. Turn the meat in the marinade several times to make sure that you soak all of the meat. Then grill or broil as you normally would.

Barbecue Favorite Marinade

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup garlic flavored BBQ Sauce

½ cup Vermouth

¼ cup Soy Sauce

¼ cup Wine Vinegar

1/8 Teaspoon Ginger


The Thanksgiving Marinade

½ cup cranberry juice cocktail

½ cup dry red wine

¼ cup oil

1/ tablespoon rosemary

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

½ teaspoon salt


A Little Sweet and A Touch of Hot

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon allspice


Summer Marinade

8 oz lemon yogurt

1 teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon coriander

This recipe was  provided to our blog compliments of Dee Reed, chef for the former Bill Hall Land and Lakes television show from WSM Channel 4 Nashville.

Venison Meatballs

Venison Meatballs

Another recipe from the Bill Hall’s Land and Lakes Nashville Channel 4 Television Show and chef Dee Reed was Venison Chili. Hall included a reminder to viewers that “you should never kill what you don’t intend to eat or share with others.”

1 ½ pounds ground venison

½ cup dry bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

½ cup mashed cooked potatoes

½ teaspoon brown sugar

Salt, Pepper, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger to taste

2 tablespoons melted margarine

Combine venison with bread crumbs, egg, potatoes, brown sugar, salt pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in bowl; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Brown in margarine in skillet, turning to brown evenly. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes, Serve over rice or noodles or as appetizer. Yield: 6 servings.

Never making a secret of his diabetes, Bill Hall always included the Diabetic exchanges and dietetic information about all the recipes used on his program.

Approx Per Serving: Cal 228; Prot 28g; Carbo 10g; Fiber 1g; T Fat 8 g;32%Calories fromFat; Chol 131 Mg; Sod 226mg

Dietary Exchanges: Bread 1/2 ; Lean Meat 2.5

Santa Fe Spanish Rabbit

Santa Fe Spanish Rabbit

For decades Channel 4 personality Bill Hall took viewers on hunting trips to the great Tennessee countryside with his show, Bill Hall Land and Lakes. The show followed Hall and friends on fishing trips and hunting trips across middle Tennessee. In it, the hearty eater would brag about ribs, chops, ham, chili and other favorite outdoor foods. On the show, often with Tom T. Hall’s wife, Dixie, Hall would spotlight a favorite recipe as a routine part of the show. Hostess and outdoor cook Dee Reed was another frequent cooking segment guest. Below is her favorite on air recipe for Rabbit:

1 3-pound rabbit, cleaned

Salt to taste

¼ cup flour

Freshly Ground pepper to taste

4-6 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, chopped

4 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1 cup white wine

2 cups beef stock

10 black olives, cut into halves

10 green olives, cut into halves

Cut rabbit into pieces, discarding fat, sinew and larger bones. Soak rabbit in salted water to cover in bowl; drain. Coat lightly with mixture of flour and pepper. Brown lightly on both sides in hot olive oil in skillet; drain. Add onion, celery and garlic to drippings in skillet. Sauté for 3 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and oregano. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until tomatoes are tender. Add wine. Cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by ½. Stir in beef stock and olives. Bring to boil; add rabbit. Simmer for 30 minutes or until rabbit is tender. Garnish with freshly roasted slices of red bell pepper. Serve with black beans and rice. Yield: 6 servings

Bill Hall made no secret of his battle with diabetes. All his recipes on the show listed the contents and dietary exchanges. Approx. per Serving: Cal 435, Prot 36g; Carbo 10g; Fiber 2g; T Fat 25g; 552% Calories from Fat; Chol 93mg, Sod 534mg. Dietary Exchanges: Lean Meat 4; Vegetable 1; Fat 3.5

Enjoy Dale Hollow Lake on Your Trip

Enjoy Dale Hollow Lake on Your Trip

We want you to spend as much time with us at McFarland Creek as possible on your visit here, but there’s a lot more going on in our area besides deer and turkey hunting. The region is known for its wide variety of outdoor activities. We’re fortunate that the reserve is near Dale Hollow Lake. Dale Hollow has long been renowned as a vacation and fishing spot, and lays claim to the World Record smallmouth bass.

Spend time on the water
Dale Hollow is most widely-known for its fishing, and that monster smallmouth caught by David Hayes back in 1955. The lake, and the Obey River directly below it, holds multiple records for other species. Dale Hollow holds the state record for lake trout (12 pounds, 13 ounces), and the Kentucky muskie title (43 pounds). The Obey River below Dale Hollow Dam has produced a state record rainbow trout (14 pounds, 8 ounces) and brown trout (26 pounds, 2 ounces).

A rainbow trout hatchery that stocks waters around the entire Southeast is located on the Obey River and is open to the public. If you want to fish for something else, there’s largemouth and Kentucky bass, walleye, crappie, drum and a variety of other species to choose from. If you would like some assistance from one of many experienced guides on the lake, we can help you make arrangements.

If you like to do something besides fish, boat-riding, skiing and jet-skiing abound. If you happen to be a diving enthusiast, divers come from hundreds of miles away to take advantage of the lake’s clarity.

The photo above was made at Sunset Marina on Dale Hollow Lake.

McFarland Creek Outdoors Helps Hunters Bag Trophy Whitetail Deer

McFarland Creek Outdoors Helps Hunters Bag Trophy Whitetail Deer


Courtesy Crossville Life Magazine

CELINA – Some people hunt to put meat in the freezer, but most whitetail deer hunters have something else in mind when they hit the woods: bagging a trophy that will be mounted on the wall and talked about for years to come.

There’s a whitetail hunting ranch located on each side of the Kentucky-Tennessee border near here, less than two hours from Cumberland County, that can help whitetail hunters bag that ever-elusive monster trophy.

“At McFarland Creek Outdoors, we’re all about helping serious deer hunters harvest that once-in-a-lifetime buck, the one you simply won’t see in a normal hunting situation,” said McFarland Creek owner Shane Smith. “We think you’ll find whitetail ranch hunting at its best here, and our goal is to help you have a memorable hunting trip.”

The area that has become basically a hunting preserve was a talked-about spot for whitetail (and turkey) hunters for decades.  Trophy whitetail deer have been harvested here since before most of us were born, and they’re still around today, and many of them are “bigger and better” than ever, Smith said.

The remoteness of the location helped what has been for generations prime farm land produce an outstanding bloodline of whitetail deer.

Despite this remoteness, McFarland Creek is only about three miles off State Highway 52 a few minutes west of Celina, and it’s still very much a working farm, with hundreds of acres used for that purpose.

“Since McFarland Creek Outdoors was started, deer harvesting has been controlled and monitored,” Smith said. “We offered limited deer and turkey hunting for several years, and we started ranch-style hunting for the first time in 2014. We had a banner year in our first season of that type of hunting, with several of our hunters booking for 2015 before they left the premises.

“Our goal is to make sure our phenomenal whitetail population will be around for decades to come, and we have practices in place to make sure that happens,” he said.

Over the past several years, owner Smith and his staff have mixed selective breeding and genetics with the already-strong bloodline to produce a prize herd.

“We’ve just taken the best of what Mother Nature has to offer and made it a little bit better,” Smith said. “Our herd is well taken care of, and is under the supervision of a veterinarian. They basically are treated just like a cattle farmer would take care of their herd, receiving checkups and appropriate vaccinations.

“The past several years of good management has given us a superior deer herd, with some fantastic trophies ready to be harvested,” Smith said. “When you combine that with our environment, and the experienced guides you need, we think it all adds up to a great hunting experience.

“All of our guides are very experienced hunters themselves, with a lot of local knowledge,” Smith said. “We want to give hunters the trophy whitetail they’ve been looking for, and they’ll help you do that. We have some true trophy bucks in our herd here – deer we’ve seen grow and mature each year under the watchful eye of our staff.”

How it works

Reservations for three-day hunts for a wide variety of prices are available, with that specific information found on the company website. Hunters confer with McFarland Creek staff on the classification of deer they want to harvest, and pricing is based on that.

Hunting packages include lodging, meals, a shoulder mount for the kill and the use of the weapon of your choice – gun or bow. There is no license necessary.

“We have some really nice lodging, which is a mix of very old and rustic and very new and modern,” Smith said. “We’ve got some decades-old farm houses and up-to-date cabins, all of which will keep you comfortable. The farm houses are scattered throughout the preserve and farm, and the smaller cabins are located near our entrance, next to our modern, log-cabin lodge, which has complete kitchen and bathroom facilities. Wherever you choose to stay on the premises, we promise you’ll come away with stories of your own to tell.

“Our meals speak for themselves,” Smith said. “Aside from the hunting, this will be one of the best parts of your stay with us. Our husband and wife team of Jeff and Amanda Hatcher has prepared hundreds of meals for guests at the lodge and we can promise you’ll be full and very satisfied.”

Where is McFarland?

McFarland Creek is almost equidistant between Celina, the nearest town, and the unincorporated village of Moss. Most of the hunting territory at McFarland Creek is located in Kentucky.

“We’re really not that far off the beaten path, despite our great hunting location,” Smith said. You can drive to Interstate 40 in less than an hour, and I-65 isn’t much further away in the other direction.

“The thing is, when you get here, you’ll see that McFarland Creek has some of the greatest scenery around. You’ll see everything from bottom land to high peaks. Not only will you enjoy your hunting experience, you’ll get to see some of God’s beautiful creation in the process,” Smith said.

Call (931) 397-5293 or visit for more details.

Homemade Venison Summer Sausage

Homemade Venison Summer Sausage

This recipe and commentary is provided by food blogger, Denise Grisham, whose blog Man, That Stuff Is Good, encourage cooks of all skill levels to prepare good food quickly and inexpensively and use it as a way to reconnect with family and friends. Click here to enjoy her entire blog.

Denise said, “Last year, our brother-in-law Don started sharing his homemade deer sausage. We went nuts over the flavor and couldn’t get over how good it was. Since then, Andy has been thinking about processing his own summer sausage.We have toured every sporting goods store checking out and comparing different meat grinders and sausage stuffing machines. And you know the spice options are just more than you can even begin to pick from. Since the weather this winter has been pretty miserable, Andy did some searching and came across “Bud’s Homemade Summer Sausage” which used beef. It took him two tries, but Andy has hit a home run with his variation incorporating deer meat. And the kicker? If you’re using ground meat, it doesn’t require any equipment or a casing to process! The recipe below is for a 1 lb. roll. You might as well double or triple up. It doesn’t last long.”

1 lb ground venison (deer meat)*
1 Tbsp Liquid smoke 
1 Tbsp Morton Salt Tender Quick
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper 
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds  


Day 1:
The day before you want to process the summer sausage, mix the meat and spices in a bowl. Place the seasoned meat in a gallon zipper bag and roll into a 2″ loaf. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 2:
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with some aluminum foil. Place a rack on top. Place the loaf on the rack.

Bake for approximately 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Allow to cool completely. Vacuum seal and freeze or refrigerate and use. 

*We used deer meat processed with a small amount of beef fat.

McFarland Creek’s Associate Company Celebrates 50 Years

McFarland Creek’s Associate Company Celebrates 50 Years

The Smith Companies, based in Moss, celebrated its 50th anniversary on Oct. 27 with a community event attended by more than 200.

“My heart was so full seeing so many people from our community and our employees, past and present, come out for this event,” said April Smith Patterson, who along with her mother, Janie Smith and brother, Shane Smith, own and operate the family of companies launched by her late father, Doug, in 1968. Shane owns McFarland Creek Outdoors.

The Smith Companies currently include Honest Abe Log Homes, Barky Beaver Mulch and Soil Mix, GF Hardwoods, Happy Trucking, Green Forest Products, Southern TimberCraft, The Wood Store and Moss Sawmills.

The celebration began with the Clay County FFA conducting a flag raising ceremony. Patterson’s husband, Nick Patterson, President of Barky Beaver, opened the event with a prayer.

“Nick thanked the Lord for all his blessings and for allowing us to be stewards over these companies that have had such an impact on our the community and the families in this region,” Patterson said, adding that following the prayers, she, her mother and brother welcomed their guests.

“It was a great day to celebrate a legacy that started from such sweet and small beginnings,” Patterson observed, explaining that her father’s first business was manufacturing broom handles.

In honor of that endeavor, each guest received a miniature reproduction of Smith’s original wooden broom handle. A broom maker was on hand to demonstrate the making of brooms as well as use some of the reproduction handles to create truly incomparable keepsakes. The tag on each handle is pictured below.

“We had customers and suppliers from our various companies who came for the day,” Patterson said. “There were even people who drove three hours who had seen the feature story announcing the celebration in Farm Bureau’s summer issue of Home and Farm Magazine.

A highlight of the day was remarks by Sen. Mark Pody, who presented a proclamation from the Tennessee State General Assembly honoring the history and impact of the companies. Also offering remarks about the company’s importance to Clay County was Clay County Mayor Dale Reagan.

David Arnold of the State Forestry Division spoke about the importance of stewardship of the land, a practice to which the Smith Companies have exhibited strong commitment over the decades.

Honest Abe Log Homes revealed its new logo, kicking off the 1979 40-year anniversary of the company’s operation. A video retrospective was presented, and guests took guided tours of the manufacturing facilities at the Smith Companies’ Moss complex.

Guests were fed and entertained, and everyone left with a goody bag containing gifts, cups, t-shirts and a special commemorative magazine, Smith Family Traditions, filled with stories and interviews that celebrates the history and legacy of the companies.

“We had a packed house for the celebration,” Patterson said, adding, “It was just the best day!”



WHEREAS, it is fitting that the members of this legislative body should recognize and commend those exemplary businesses that, through an abiding commitment to excellence, have contributed greatly to this State for many years; and

WHEREAS, Smith Family Companies, with its corporate offices in the town of Moss in Clay County, is one such outstanding business, which will celebrate fifty years of dedicated service to the good people of Tennessee on October 27, 2018;

and WHEREAS, founded by Doug Smith, a Clay County native, and his father, Lemuel Smith, the company started production of broom handles in 1968 and converted to pallet production shortly thereafter;

and WHEREAS, in 1973, Doug Smith married the love of his life, Janie Smith, and the couple enjoyed many years of marital bliss before his passing in 2011;

and WHEREAS, today, Smith Family Companies is owned and operated by Janie Smith, along with Doug and Janie Smith’s children, Shane Smith and April Smith Patterson;

and WHEREAS, a highly successful enterprise, Smith Family Companies has created more than twenty businesses over the past fifty years, some of which have been sold, consolidated into other family businesses, or closed;

and WHEREAS, the impressive roster of businesses currently owned by the Smith family includes Honest Abe Log Homes, Southern Timbercraft, Barky Beaver Mulch and Soil Mix, GF Hardwoods, Moss Sawmills, Happy Trucking, Green Forest Products, The Wood Store, McFarland Creek Outdoors, Acres of Grace Farms, The Mill Storehouse, and A Southern Marketplace Barn Sale;

and WHEREAS, robust growth and economic vitality have been the hallmarks of Smith Family Companies throughout its illustrious fifty-year history; since its inception, the business – 2 – has created 1,000 jobs, bought and processed 1 billion feet of timber, shipped 100,000 trailer loads of lumber, and processed and sold 50,000 loads of bark and chips;

and WHEREAS, combined sales of all Smith Family Companies exceed $1 billion and provide an economic impact on the local economy of $100 million, with purchases ranging from fuel and batteries to general supplies;

and WHEREAS, the company has evidenced the highest levels of dedication and commitment to the communities it serves, contributing millions of dollars in charitable donations and providing generous community support;

and WHEREAS, Smith Family Companies has operated with acumen and integrity for fifty years, and the members of this legislative body find it appropriate to acknowledge and applaud this outstanding business for its ongoing commitment to excellence; now, therefore,

I, Randy McNally, Speaker of the Senate of the One Hundred Tenth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, at the request of and in conjunction with Senator Mark Pody and Representative Kelly Keisling, do hereby proclaim that we honor and congratulate Smith Family Companies on the celebration of the company’s fiftieth anniversary, applaud its ongoing legacy of integrity and commitment to excellence, and wish it much continued success in the future. Proclaimed in Nashville, Tennessee, on this the 18th day of September 2018.

Randy McNally Speaker of the Senate

Mark Pody, Senator 17th Senate District

Kelly Keisling, Representative – 3 – 38th House District

Download Smith Family Traditions, the 50th Anniversary commemorative magazine compiled in 2018 to celebrate the heritage and legacy of the Clay County-based businesses operated by the family of Doug Smith.

Announcement for 50th celebration…

A Clay County family business is celebrating 50 years of entrepreneurship in 2018 with a special public event on Oct. 27.

“It has been 50 years since my dad started manufacturing mop and broom handles in 1968,” said April Smith Patterson, daughter of the late Doug Smith, who along with her mother, Janie, and brother, Shane, own several Moss-based businesses. “Last year, Honest Abe Log Homes introduced a new 10” round log style, so we’re calling our 50th anniversary “Coming Back Around.”

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In addition to Honest Abe, the Smith companies include Barky Beaver Mulch and Soil Mix, GF Hardwoods, Happy Trucking, Green Forest Products and Southern Timbercraft and Moss Sawmills. Moss Sawmills is a consolidation of six sawmills that the Smith family operated throughout the region.

Last year the family sold three other businesses, Swan Ridge Lake Resort, Rockcastle Farms and Mitchell Creek Marina.

“We are and have been for many years the largest employer in our local community, allowing people who love and want to live here be able to work and provide for their families,” Patterson said. “This is something my family takes very seriously, and are continuously working to create jobs in this area.”

The spirit of entrepreneurship is strong in the Smith family. Shane owns McFarland Creek Outdoors, a turkey and whitetail deer hunting ranch, and while April and husband, Nick, have founded three new businesses – Acres of Grace Farms, The Mill Storehouse and A Southern Marketplace Barn Sale – since Doug Smith’s 2011 death.

“The businesses have changed and evolved, adapted to the times,” April observed, noting, “Business was great before the economic downturn hit and most businesses like ours went out of business. It was through the Lord’s good graces and our amazing team members that helped us work hard, get lean and survive those times.”

The Smith family is inviting the public to Moss in Oct. 27 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for food, door prizes, tours and live music. The first 100 visitors will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

“I believe folks would love to see how someone from a rural community starting out making broom handles managed to build the businesses we see and operate today,” April said. “We’ll also be having informative speakers about forestry and how we work to preserve and cut sustainably while being good stewards of the land. The tours will demonstrate how we recycle and use every part of the logs.”

In addition to providing jobs the Smith family believes in giving back. Over time the Smith Family companies have supported numerous projects and events that benefit veterans, schools, the fire department and the community. For example, many years ago Janie and Doug donated the log structure that houses the Clay County Museum. Beginning in fall 2018, Honest Abe Log Homes will sponsor the Dave Ramsey financial curriculum for Clay County High School Students. Through Barky Beaver they donate soil and seeds as well as volunteering to help plant community gardens.

“We also have had a lot of impact bringing in tax dollars for the local county that has helped it grow too!” April said. “The economy is getting better, and we are now able to do and offer more to our county and community. We have employees that love this place and want to see the companies continue on another 50 years from now. Our plan is to continue to build upon the great foundation laid before us.”

April said that the Oct. 27 event is a free and open to the public with no reservations required. “50 years in business is a huge milestone for our family, and we simply want to share it with everyone,” she said. “We are looking forward to a great day sharing our history, heritage and passion for what we do.”