Veggie Chip Cookies

Sometimes I come up with some pretty crazy ideas. I love it when my friends call them “creative”…! For some reason, I have really been wanting to make cookies for dogs that are as fun to look at as those popular and colourful M & M cookies! Candy and chocolate are no’s for Fido, but veggies are a must, so I thought I’d try using them instead of candy. In my mind, I had pictured plump, juicy, jewel-like veggie chips, not shrunken and dehydrated lackluster ones. A bunch of batches later, I finally have a recipe I’m pleased with. After many tests and tweaks, this is as close as I can get to what I had in mind. (Although those darned peas are still a little shrunken looking!) These dog cookies are fairly healthy in my book. You will notice that I indicated that you can use carrot juice or water – I used carrot juice because I have a big old jug of it in my fridge, and it gives the cookies a nice golden hue (in addition to all of the health benefits carrots have to offer). Plain old water is just fine. You could also use your own favorite cookie recipe and omit things like vanilla (it contains alcohol) and skip, reduce or substitute sugar with better alternatives like honey.

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup dry milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp. water or carrot juice
2 eggs
1 cup of “Veggie chips”, dealer’s choice – frozen peas, carrots, beets, potato, etc. Basically, cut up tiny chip-like pieces of dog-friendly veggies.

I used these dehydrated ones I bought from my fave Heronview Raw & Natural. This is what they look like dehydrated, you just soak them in hot water and they are ready to use. I also used lots of frozen peas (which I left frozen for additional water content).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by adding soft butter or margarine to your mixing bowl. Give it a good forking until it’s a little whipped! Then, add your carrot juice or water, and the eggs. Beat lightly. Then, add the honey, sea salt, baking soda, and stir together. Finally, in portions, stir in the whole wheat flour. Lastly, add 1/3 of your veggie chips and gently mix into the cookie dough.

Place your cookie dough balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make them the appropriate size for your dog(s). Mine are huge as my dogs are of the pig variety. Then, place your veggie chips on top of the cookies and slightly press in. Leave most of them exposed as the dough will puff up a bit around them. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool before letting the dogs have a taste.

I leave you with my new favourite shot of Miko and Hank, taken by my new fave photographer, Erin Campbell. She is also a doggie mama, and The Drool Brothers in front of the smeared sliding glass doors was something that really resonated with her, ha ha! Can you relate?

Please note that I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist, so it’s advisable to consult with your own authority when trying new foods, and also to ensure that your dog’s home cooked diet is balanced & includes all of the nutrients that are necessary for your dog’s health.

Kebabs


This was a last minute “what the heck am I going to make for dinner” creation. Part of my post-holiday-season flab-reduction-plan is to try to eat more chicken and turkey and very little red meat. Well, I forgot to take chicken breasts out of the freezer and I didn’t feel like stopping at the grocery store on my way home from the office, so I was forced to get creative with two packages of ground chicken.

Ground chicken is blah in my books. Not good with tomato sauce, and so-so in tacos…I need to jazz these up and keep them dog friendly at the same time.

I had seen kebabs made from ground turkey in one of my new cookbooks that I got for Xmas, and I thought, hmm…that looks interesting. I’ve made shish kebabs tons of times with chicken breast chunks, seafood, and steak, but never ground meat. I’ve had excellent ones in a Persian restaurant, so I thought, perhaps I can take this here ground blah and give it enough spice to make it interesting and still cool to share with The Boys.

Number one and very important – NO ONIONS. This is a key ingredient in most of the recipes you’ll find for these types of kebabs but never cook with onions if feeding to your dogs! The tricky thing is, those very onions, those onions that could make our dogs so very sick, are what gives the bulk of the flavour to something blah like ground chicken on a stick!

So I scratched my head and came up with a plan that actually worked. Here it is.

INGREDIENTS:
2 packages of lean ground chicken (these are generally around 0.454 kg)
1 Asian Pear or 1 juicy apple such as Royal Gala or Delicious
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro (you could try replacing with a tsp of dried coriander but I personally love the hit of fresh cilantro my favourite herb!)
3 cloves of garlic (mashed)
Pinch of sea salt

In a large mixing bowl, add the lean ground chicken, and grate in your asian pear or apple. I grated in my three garlic cloves, as my super awesome grater turns it into a mushy paste. If yours isn’t like mine, just chop your garlic and mash it up with the side of your chef knife or whatever you have on hand that will do the trick. Grab a handful of cilantro (about a half cup) and give a rough chop to release some of the sweet grassy goodness. Add to bowl. Then add your teaspoon of cumin, teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt (about a tsp).

Mix this together – use your hands, don’t be a meow!!
Time to make “long flattish balls” (oh come on now, how else can I describe these?!) on your skewers. I have four chef’s pantry skewers that have changed my life! I put two long balls on the skewers and set on your baking tray. I line my tray with foil for this as I’m going to broil these kebabs and that means juices will drip ‘n cook. I despise scrubbing baking trays or anything else for that matter.

Now, Let the flavours marinate together for about a half an hour.

This batch yields about 8 kebabs. You could of course, use bamboo skewers, just soak them in cold water for a bit so they don’t burn before they go in the oven.

Set your oven to broil. Cook on one side for 10 minutes, then flip the skewers, and cook on the other side for 10 minutes.

Yum.

$$$ Factor: Freshco had packages of lean ground chicken on sale for $2 – a total deal!! I love deals on meat, huge savings. I bought a ton! total deal $2 ground chicken

I used 2 packages ($4), asian pear which was on sale for 25 cents, maybe 10 cents worth of cilantro and the other stuff consists of cheap pantry spices that cost practically nada. So the grand total for the meal was $4.35, and it fed myself, Andy, and The Boys. We ate kebabs for about a buck a body. Well, we had rice with it, but rice is inexpensive, so we’re still under five buckaroos!

Does this recipe and affordable price inspire you to home cook for your dog?

Please note that I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist, so it’s advisable to consult with your own authority when trying new foods, and also to ensure that your dog’s home cooked diet is balanced & includes all of the nutrients that are necessary for your dog’s health.