15 December, 2008

Chef du Chien: Meatloaf and Sweet Treats

Yet another report crossed the airwaves, in the past month, telling of tainted ingredients in commercial dog food products. Last time, it was Melamine causing organ failure. This time? Salmonella in the chicken meal used to make a few major brands.

It's unfortunate that folks can't trust the foods they buy for their best furry friends, and it makes us even more resolved to provide good, whole foods for our little pup. So, yesterday, as the husband plastered and sanded the bathroom to prepare for my paint job, I turned our kitchen into a doggie delicatessen, whipping up a couple weeks' worth of food for our Fido.

Chicken and Potato Loaf
1-1.5 kg ground meat, or ground meat and bone (we used chicken carcass)
.5 kg diced potato
.5 kg chopped veggies (we used 2 carrots, 1/2 apple, 1 pear, and filled it out with cabbage)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp Vegemite (For nutritional yeast and Vitamin B)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup fine cornmeal or polenta
1/2 cup rolled oats

Chicken and Rice Loaf
1-1.5 kg ground meat, or ground meat and bone (we used chicken carcass)
1.5 cups dry white or brown rice, prepared
.5 kg chopped veggies (we used 2 carrots, 1/2 cup green beans, filled it out with cabbage)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp ketchup (tomato sauce, for Aussies)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup fine cornmeal or polenta
1/3 cup rolled oats

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).

Mix up either recipe, or improvise your own, adjusting liquid levels with water or meat broth, as you like, or adding extra flour if the mixture is too wet.

Chop and steam all the fruits and veggies, steaming them to soften. While the veggies cook, stir together the meat and eggs with any oats, rice, flours, and meals, along with adding flavorings (Vegemite, ketchup, oil, etc). Combine the meat and veggie mixes.

Divide the recipe between two large loaf pans, or one 9" square casserole dish. I like to line mine with a bit of aluminum foil and a light spritz of oil spray for easier removal after baking. Press the mixture tightly into the pans and bake for an hour.

Cool completely, then wrap in plastic or foil and freeze until needed.

Tip: Our local butcher offers 5 kg (over 11 lbs) of ground "chicken frames" or carcass for $5. That makes over half a month's food for our pooch!

Feeding amount: This varies from dog to dog, but our Laney (a 23kg/50lb Kelpie/Hound mix) gets 1/2 loaf, around .75 kg prepared, per day. We will adjust if we notice any weight changes.

Peanut Butter Honey Dog Treats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 rounded tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk or water, plus a splash extra if the mix is too stiff
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp honey

Stir dry ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk up milk and peanut butter until well blended, stirring in honey until smooth. Combine wet into dry ingredients and mix or knead until a firm but pliable dough is achieved.

Turn the dough onto a floured knife-safe surface and roll to 1/4 inch (about 6mm) thickness then slice into bite sized chunks. If you're particularly fancy, or extremely bored, you could use cookie cutters to make little dog bone shapes, or similar, but I opted for the ever stylish rectangle.

Spread the uncooked biscuits across a greased or lined cookie sheet and bake. Cooking time depends on your oven and preferences. Ours were firm and chewy after 25 minutes, crispy and crunchy after 45. We prefer crispy treats for our pup. Good for her teeth!

Cool completely on the tray then seal into an airtight container. This recipe makes about 35 3/4" x 2" treats.


blinddog said...

Recipes sound great, jsust a few questions as I want to look at making dog food for our dog. What is the rough cost to make? And where do you get crushed chicken bones (or is this something ou do yourself)

blinddog said...

Ignore my questions - just re-read your blog. One of those mornings.

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Actually, that's a very valid question! We're still trying to figure out the actual costs, since we use lots of bits and pieces, but for about 8 days worth of food, it roughly breaks down like this:

$2.50 - 2.5 kg ground meat/bones
$0.50 - .5 kg potatoes
$1.50 - .5 kg veggies & fruit
$0.75 - 2 eggs
$1.00 - Other bits and pieces
$6.25 Total

So, that's about $5.50 per week. Keep in mind, that's Aussie dollars, and Aussie high-priced eggs. If you grow your veggies, the cost drops a lot, as it does if you raise your own egg layers.

Also, chicken carcass or chicken frame, etc, is everything left over from butchering. So it's bones, tissue, meat that is not included in prime cuts like breast, thigh, etc. There is usually some organ meat too. In our area, we have some dedicated Pet Food Meat shops, but we've found it's cheaper just to go to the regular butcher. They also often sell cheap bags of marrow bones, etc for pups.

Good luck!