It may seem strange, obsessive or crazy to imagine making home cooked food for your pooch. Some of you are doing it already. There are plenty of nutritious dog food brands out there. If you are like me, you want to give your dog the best food possible. We were already giving him a natural, grain-free food and giving him bits of fruit and organic veggies as snacks. About a year ago, I was pet sitting for some friends and noticed the food they were feeding their dog was really good. I checked out the package and ingredients and immediately got on the website to see what it was all about. I was sold on the high quality of ingredients and the convenience of it being a freeze-dried product that you just add warm water to, as well as the fact that it was grain free and gmo free and used human-grade ingredients. So we switched and started ordering it online (Grandma Lucy’s is the name…very good product). Bilbo, our baby, loved it! It is however expensive, worth it, but pricey for our budget.
You Lucky Dog!
Bilbo is a lucky boy…and yes, we are obsessed with him. He gets the best food, constant love and affection, he gets to go disc golfing once a week, dog beach two or three times a week, dog park in between, has at least one monthly doggy sleepover slumber party with his friends, daily massages; and goes with us to breakfast at our favorite places with his own personal yoga mat to sit on. So, of course it would not be surprising that, my husband and I both being chef types, would sit around looking at ingredients and start figuring out a way to make healthy organic food for Bilbo at home. Believe it or not, it is super easy and a lot less expensive.
Bilbo is a lucky dog!
Batch Cooking Saves Time and Money
Every two or three weeks, we get the big stock pot on the stove and cook up a batch of gourmet organic stew. The base is a chicken stock made with organic chicken legs (Costco has a great deal on the organic chicken legs) and garbanzo beans. It simmers covered for about an hour, then we add chunks of organic fruits and vegetables, simmer uncovered until everything is super tender. We freeze it in batches that serve about 3 portions each. Every couple of days we pull out a bag and let it thaw in the fridge. To serve it, we take one portion worth and mix it with a splash of hot water or chicken broth. Bilbo goes nuts for the stuff. His coat is shiny and his body muscular, no stinky breath and no stinky poop (I know it sounds gross but just had to share that bit). And, we are spending about $20 less per month. Just as a guideline we feed him 1 full cup of stew in the morning, plus we decided to give him a 1/2 cup of grain-free kibble to munch on throughout the day so he gets the teeth cleaning benefit, and a few baby carrots and apples for snacks. He weighs about 17 lbs.
- 8-10 organic chicken drumsticks
- 2 gallons water
- 2 stalks celery, 1 inch chunks
- 1 large organic carrot, 1 inch chunks
- about 3 cups dry chickpeas (soaked)
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 medium organic gold potatoes, 1 inch chunks
- 1 large organic sweet potato, 1 inch chunks
- 3-4 large organic carrots, 1 inch chunks
- 2 organic apples, 1 inch chunks
- 1 pound organic green beans
- 4 TB organic unrefined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax seeds)
- **No need to peel any veggies, just wash them well.
- Place chicken drumsticks, celery and carrot in a large stock pot with 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a medium simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Add soaked chickpeas to the pot with the stock ingredients, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a medium simmer again. Cover and cook for an hour.
- Add all fruits and vegetables, stir and bring to a boil again, then turn heat down and cook for another 30 minutes, or until everything is tender. *Test the beans for tenderness, too.
- Remove from heat. Use tongs to pull the chicken drumsticks out into a bowl. I like to put on latex gloves so I can remove the meat and skin while they are still hot. Use a couple of forks to shred the meat. **Important thing to remember that drumsticks have one particular small bone that is very sharp. I always like to count how many drumsticks and then count the bones to make sure I got them all. Skin and the funky cartilage is great for dogs, just not chicken bones.
- Add the skin and shredded meat and any cartilage into the stock pot, along with the flax meal and coconut oil. Then use an immersion blender to puree everything, but still leave it chunky.
- Let it cool a bit before filling up baggies or whatever containers you wish to use with about 3 portions each. Freeze.
- *Every couple of days you can pull a baggy out and let it thaw in the fridge. We mix about 1/4 of a cup of hot stock or water into each portion in Bilbo's dish before serving it, because he doesn't much care for it totally cold. Plus, we proudly spoil the hell out of our dog and that's that.
- *Feel free to add a few cups of any other good fruits and veggies: broccoli, spinach, blue berries
- Oats and brown rice could also be added (especially if you are already making some for yourself.) And using other proteins like beef or wild salmon would be great.
- *Make sure to check with your vet for allergies or look up the "no-no's" list of foods for dogs (no onions, no grapes or raisins, no chocolate-duh, etc..)