Diner-style Dog Dinner

Watch out for the Fangs of Drool – dinner’s ready and it smells super delish! The only problem with home cooking for dogs is that my kitchen floors get wet puddles on them twice a day…I remember having to coax Hank into eating his kibble way back when, sometimes it would take a few minutes for him to really believe that was all he was going to get. Now it’s happy dances, yipping, scrambling, and my least favourite, mega-drooling. But what a small price to pay for my super shiny, barely shedding, healthy babies!

Today, I’m sharing one of the staples in my arsenal of dog dinners. For The Boys, I consider this to be a very balanced meal. When we think of what constitutes a “square meal” for people, most of us think: meat/other protein, a carb and a colourful variety of vegetables. Well, its pretty much the same concept for a home cooked dog’s dinner. We just want to make sure we don’t use any food items that are toxic for dogs (such as onions), and you don’t want to add a lot of salt or cook things in a greasy fashion.

This dinner portion is perfect for my younger chocolate lab, who eats a meal like this twice a day. My older guy, Hank, gets slightly less, being a senior citizen who doesn’t expend as much energy as his lil’ buddy Miko. I know a lot of you who are new to home cooking for dogs want to be told precisely how much of what to feed them. Although other “experts” will provide charts, calculations etc., I won’t do that for you, because I think of each dog as an individual. For example, Miko loves fruit. Hank spits it out. (and then Miko eats it, yum!) Some dogs get tons of exercise, and some don’t. Certain foods work better for certain dogs…so at the end of the day, you do need to figure out what your dog needs based on the lifestyle you provide them with, and by assessing what works for them. I talk more about this in the Resources section of my website. If you’re more comfortable following someone’s meal plans & calculations for your dog, then perhaps start that way and then branch out from there. Once you get into it, I’m sure you’ll realize that it’s not all that different from cooking for ourselves!

I’m calling this a diner-style dinner because the “scoops” remind me of a big plate special at a greasy spoon…

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup chopped cooked meat (this is venison, nice and lean)
1 small potato
1/2 cup chopped steamed veg (carrots and broccoli)
1 scoop of pure pumpkin (about 1/4 cup)
1 scoop of plain yogurt (about 1/4 cup)
*optional – tsp kelp, tsp flour

I had some venison leg meat in the freezer, so I browned it and then braised it in some water along with some small potatoes for about an hour. You could cook any meat you like, beef, chicken, turkey, etc. As an option, you can remove the meat & potatoes and quickly whisk some flour in for a “gravy”. You don’t really need to put gravy on their dinner, but I did it this time as an example for people with messy eaters – the gravy helps to keep the meat and potatoes in more of a “clump”.

I had some steamed vegetables left over from the night before – steaming is optimal, but you can cook them however you like, just don’t fry them in a ton of oil. I buy big cans of pure pumpkin, and use it in the dogs’ meals a couple of times per week, what I don’t use goes into their treats. I also keep a tub of plain yogurt for The Boys, and they get a scoop two-three times per week (not every day).

Add chopped vegetables, a scoop of pumpkin puree, a scoop of yogurt to the dog dish. When the meat is cool enough to chop, do so, and also chop the potatoes. Put it back into the pot with your “gravy” and mix ‘er up. Add the desired amount of the meat & potatoes to your dog dish, and save the rest for more meals. If you have kelp, sprinkle it on top.

This is also a great dinner for people (minus the pumpkin puree and kelp).

Laters, baby -

xo/J

P.S. This is what The Boys look like when you ask if they want a “Treat”!

I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist.  This recipe is not meant to replace a proper and balanced diet for your dog.  You should to speak to your own vet before trying new recipes or feeding any home cooked foods to your dog.

Breakfast of Champions

My favourite breakfast is the good old fashioned “All Day Breakfast” at a greasy spoon. Home cooked breakfast for dogs coming right up! I thought I’d create a healthier version of this for The Boys. Sorry fellas – that means no sausage, bacon, home fries or toast!  Have no fear – a simple, yet beautiful Fried Egg, sunny side up, with a wee bit of spinach and a side of Doggie Granola Bars did not disappoint my biggest fans.  (watch them chow down here)

The egg on its own is a great little meal for dogs. You could also add grated carrot, small amounts of cooked veggies, shredded meat…whatever you have left in your fridge that’s safe for dogs to eat.  Go dog wild!  Or keep it simple – whatever you like, I’m just happy if you make your dog an egg sometime.  You can make the egg dish for less than 50 cents and takes less than five minutes – so no excuses, get crackin’!

Dogs love eggs and eggs have just what dogs need, protein and fat. Eggs are nutrient rich, and an egg given two to three times a week can be very nutritious for your dog! If your dog is a senior or on a low fat diet, simply discard the yolks and use the egg whites.

FRIED EGG:

Ingredients:
One Egg
5-10 baby spinach leaves
Sprinkle of dried Kelp (*optional)

 

I’m assuming most of you know how to fry an egg…right? Well, fry your egg sunny side up. I got fancy and did a chiffonade with the spinach, but you could simply give them a little chop chop. Turn off the burner, remove the egg from the pan and let it cool in the dog’s bowl. Drop the spinach into the still-hot-but-cooling pan and let it wilt for about 15 seconds. Add the spinach to the egg.  Sprinkle some Kelp on the egg. Looks like black pepper but it’s not!  (don’t recommend feeding pepper to dogs) Kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals.   I’m a big fan – so I add a sprinkle to most of my dogs’ meals on a daily basis.

I saw a recipe on a dog training site that inspired me to create my own version of these go-to treats.  They made a great substitute for a side of toast.

 

 

 

 

DOGGIE GRANOLA BARS:

2 cups of flour (rye or whole wheat)
1 cup of rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup of wheat germ
½ cup of cooked quinoa or other seeds such as pumpkin
2 TBP of dry milk powder (*optional)
¼ tsp salt (*optional)
1 egg
1 cup of no salt or low sodium chicken brother
½ cup of water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2 mixing bowls
Rolling pin
Baking tray
Parchment paper (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

Break the egg into another mixing bowl. Add the water and the chicken broth and stir together until blended.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. Let this mixture set for about twenty minutes to half an hour.

Cut a large sheet of parchment paper to the size of your baking sheet. You don’t have to use parchment paper, you can use a large cutting board or your counter surface, but I don’t like to have a sticky mess to clean up afterward, so I do this on the parchment and then just toss it into the garbage afterward.

Sprinkle some flour on the parchment and rub some on your rolling pin. Drop your granola ball onto the surface and start rolling it out. You want them to be about a ½ inch think or so. Cut them into bars or smaller pieces depending on your breed of dog/preference.

Somehow, I ended up with the United States of America. As you can see, there’s no need for silly things like perfection and precision when cooking for dogs!

If you want them to be a bit shinier, you can brush on some egg wash before you bake them.

Place them directly onto your ungreased baking sheet and bake them at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes. A trick with this kind of treat or kibble is to turn off the oven, but leave them inside the oven for about 4 or 5 hours to make them a bit harder if you like.

These treats are so simple and dogs love them. The chicken broth helps to attract even the pickiest customers. Yes, these bars have grains, but they are good grains. The other ingredients, such as toasted wheat germ, rolled oats and quinoa are very nutritious.

The ingredients on the list are items that you probably have in your pantry all the time. (if not, you should keep them stocked!)

SUBSTITUTIONS/ADDITIONS:
I do want to include some substitutions or additions in case you want to adapt this recipe with other ingredients that you have or things that your dog loves.

1. You could try flax seeds or pumpkin seeds instead of quinoa. Speaking of – did you know that quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. It’s true! Full of protein and amino acids. I learned that while researching it for the show.
2. You could try spelt flour or even use unbleached all purpose flour if you like. A homemade treat made with AP flour  will still be healthier than store bought ones with preservative and Dog knows what else.
3. You could use veggie broth or beef broth instead of chicken – just try to minimize sodium and check the ingredient list for onions – onions are not for dogs.
4. You could add very small amounts of dried fruits/berries that are safe for dogs.

I love these as part of a meal or as a treat. That’s a double whammy!

$$$ Factor: An egg costs less than 30 cents. A couple leaves of spinach – negligible. Doggie Granola bars – I used about 25 cents worth (each) of flour, rolled oats, wheat germ. Plus 30 cents for the egg, 25 cents for the quinoa, 75 cents for the cup of broth…what’s that $2.05 for the batch? A whopping 10 CENTS PER GRANOLA BAR!

The breakfast in the picture rings in at 50 cents.
I rate this some serious CHEAP EATS FOR YOUR DOG.

I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist.  This recipe is not meant to replace a proper and balanced diet for your dog.  You should to speak to your own vet before trying new recipes or feeding any home cooked foods to your dog.

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