12 February 2014

Puppeh Casserole




A few months ago, the bods who make MyDog clearly changed their recipes, and both my pups suddenly decided to stop eating it. Unless they had a doggy conspiracy going. Yeah, it could have been that too ...

Anyway, we tried them on other tinned food, to no avail. They have Royal Canin dry food, so they weren't starving, but they weren't getting a good dinner.

So I started to cook Puppeh Casserole. (FOR puppehs, for them, goodness, what do you take me for?!)

And they love it! In fact, Petal loves it SO much that she's put on a bit too much weight. Chunky puppeh. Ooops. So we're giving her smaller meals now.

It's cheaper, and it's better for them. Even their vet was impressed — home-cooked food + the good quality dry food (for special nutrients that dogs need) is an excellent diet regime for pups. Having chihuahuas makes this very economical, too, as they only eat ¼ to ½ a cup each a day. One batch makes enough for roughly two weeks of meals for two chihuahuas.

(It also makes a rather good sandwich filling, especially the chicken one, once puréed!)

Puppeh Casserole

Two variations: Beef + Liver, and Chicken

Ingredients

This is a 'hand wavy' recipe:

Some meat:

~1–2 kg of meat  (a whole chook, chicken thighs, casserole beef, cheap mince, whatever — avoid meat with lots of tiny bones in it, though, like chicken necks)

Some diced liver, if you want to make beef + liver (but don't add too much, as heaps of liver is not good for dogs — 1 med small liver, chopped up, is plenty). I love my dogs so much that I will actually cook liver for them. This is saying a lot.

Some veggies:

Choose several / more than several of the following dog-safe veggies. You want roughly a quarter to a third of your casserole to be veg.
  • Peeled potatoes (the skins contain chemicals harmful to dogs)
  • Peeled pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Small quantities of broccoli / cauliflower, if they don't cause digestive upsets for your dog

Some other stuff:

A handful or two of brown rice or barley
A bit of water, around 1 cup
A few herbs (oregano, thyme etc) if you're feeling creative
Some ground pepper (my dogs like spicy food!)
A little garlic is okay

Please avoid : onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, nutmeg. (I use the cute app Om nom? to check for food safety for dogs.)

You may like to cook this on the stove top in a very large saucepan (which I usually do for the beef + liver one), or a slow cooker (which I usually use for the chicken one).

Method

Veggies ready to go
1. Roughly chop your veggies. I didn't peel the potatoes here, oops, but I usually do.

2. You may like to brown the meat slightly in the pan first, but it's not vital. Add the veggies, and other ingredients. When using a slow cooker, I put the veggies in first, and just sit the meat on top of them. If you're using liver, you might want to add it to the saucepan later on in the cooking process, as it goes a bit hard and rubbery if you overcook it.

Beef + Liver ready to go on the stove







3. Set it to cook for several hours, with a lid on. On the stove, you'll want to cook it on the lowest heat. I usually cook the chicken casserole for about 4 hours in the slow cooker, and the beef + liver one for about 2–3 hours on the stove.
Chicken Casserole in the slow cooker


4. Allow the casserole to cool a bit, so it's warm but not hot. Don't let it sit overnight in the fridge before deboning, everything solidifies and it makes bone removal very difficult. Ask me how I know  :p

5. If you've got bones in there, remove them. It works quite well doing this by hand, wearing rubber gloves (which protect you from the heat as well as the eeeeeeew liver). plus it makes you look like a surgeon. A very sick and amateur surgeon.

6. Use a stick blender or food processor to 'lightly' purée the casserole to the desired amount. I have to make sure the veggies are fairly well mashed otherwise one of my dogs (Petal), not naming any names (Petal) will flick every single one out with her delicate little tongue. But your dog may like it chunky. A potato masher works well for a 'rougher' texture.

Beef + Liver Casserole after cooking
Beef + Liver Casserole after puréeing
7. Now for portions. I use a silicone muffin tray to freeze the portions — it is brilliant, because I can just pop them out once they're frozen. It's that easy. I do half as smaller portions for little Miss Chunky, and larger portions for Griff (who is twice her size). I store them in ziplock bags and boxes in the freezer.


8. Each meal time, you just defrost a portion (1 or 2 minutes in the microwave, or you could defrost in the fridge overnight, or in a tiny saucepan), make sure it's warm for them (not too hot to burn their tongues), and then let the nomming begin!

Puppeh Casserole gets the lick of approval
Griff approves!


3 comments:

  1. I meant to say earlier how much you have inspired me to do some cooking for Miss Lily - she of the fussy tummy. She now seems to prefer my home cooking to her very expensive vet-supplied food. I do a bit of mixing and matching, because I only cook vegetarian, so I supplement it with the dry stuff. Thanks for the inspiration :) Nettie.

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    Replies
    1. That's fabulous! Yes, we supplement with Royal Canin dry food too, to make sure they're getting the right nutrients ... So glad it's helping Miss Lily :D

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  2. Chloe wants to come over for dinner!

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