Even during the pandemic, our local restaurants have been creative in coming up with new recipes and new ways to enjoy our old favorites. And the gourmets among us have been busy in the kitchen taking quarantine cooking to new heights. But what about our four-legged friends? Don’t they deserve a homemade meal?
Local cooking instructor Jacqui Renager offers us two recipes, one for homemade dog biscuits—with or without store-bought icing (shhhh, the pups don’t mind)—and one for everyday dog food. Renager’s two white Whippets, Ruby and Whiskey, love them both.
The dog biscuit recipe calls for a ¼ inch thickness, but you can roll them twice as thin if your dogs love the crunchy ones like hers, Renager says. Just be sure to mind the time carefully as they cook because “there is a fine line between perfectly crunchy and burnt.”
The simple homemade dog food, made with wholesome ingredients, allows you to know exactly what your dog is eating. “It’s all healthy with no unnecessary junk in his food,” Renager says. “He will love it! Keeping the bones in the chicken makes the chicken go a lot further and adds tons of nutrition to your dog’s food.” Bonus: you can reserve the resulting stock to use in your own people-friendly cooking.
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 tbsp dried dill
½ tsp salt
¾ cup nonfat dry milk
3 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrots, chopped fine
1 cup all-natural peanut butter
¾ cup chicken or beef broth (plus extra to get the batter just right)
Heat oven to 300 degrees (not convection!)
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment in place, add the flour, oats, dill and nonfat milk. Give it a stir on low to combine. Add the eggs, carrots and peanut butter and mix on low speed until the mixture become crumbly. Add the broth ¼ cup at a time until mixture is between a dry batter and unformed dough ball. It should be dry to the touch but moist enough not to form cracks when it is rolled out. Add a tablespoon at a time to the batter until the desired consistency is reached.
Remove dough to a floured surface and knead it four or five times to get a smooth dough ball. Flatten into a disk and sprinkle the top with flour. Roll to ¼ inch thickness or slightly thinner. The thinner the roll, the crunchier the biscuits will be and the less time they will take to cook.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes and sizes out of the rolled dough. Cook at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Watch them carefully to make sure they do not burn.
If desired, ice the biscuits using a store-bought icing such as Magifrost, available on Amazon or K9Cakery.com. For creative designs, color icing with a plant-based, pet-safe coloring.
(To mix with kibble of choice)
4-5 chicken leg quarters
2 cups frozen peas and/or corn
1 cup baby carrots
2 cups sweet potato, butternut or acorn squash cut into 1-inch cubes
Put the leg quarters in a pressure cooker with ½ cup water. Close lid and cook under high pressure for 2 ½ hours. Let pressure release naturally. Using a scooper, remove chicken from liquid into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mash the chicken and the bones together (after cooking this long, the bones will fall apart and turn into something resembling a powder). Allow mixture to cool.
Add frozen vegetables, carrots and sweet potato to a pressure cooker. Add ½ cup water or chicken or beef broth. Close the lid and cook under high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the pressure manually. Open lid and transfer vegetables to the chicken mixture. Gently fold the vegetables into the chicken. Store in refrigerator or freeze.
If desired, rice can be added to the vegetable mixture before cooking (add ¾ cup water in that case for every one cup of rice).
To serve, mix 1 cup mixture with ¾ cup kibble (adjust to dog’s size and diet)
*Recipes by Jacqui Renager of Fun in the Kitchen with Jacqui. Learn more at CookingWithJacqui.com