Canine Cuisine

February 24th, 2007 by Kathy Hawkins

Rice with sweet potato, ground turkey, and parsley—it sounds like a pretty good meal, doesn’t it?

dog food

Our dogs sure think so. Say the word “dinner,” and Gatsby bounds into the kitchen, his fluffy tail bouncing up and down like a cheerleader’s pom-pom. He and Coco wait eagerly at my feet as I scoop the food into their dishes and heat it in the microwave. The anticipation is sheer torture for them.

Once their bowls are on the ground, they wolf down their meals in mere seconds, then lie on the living room rug with their bellies in the air, full and happy. This is, without a doubt, the highlight of their day.

You may not have ever thought about cooking dinner for your dogs. If you have, you might have excuses—it takes too much time, or it’s too expensive. There’s nothing wrong with the dry food I feed them, you might say.

But if you only give your dogs dry food, they’re missing out on valuable nutrients that a homemade meal can provide. And it’s easy to make food for your dogs in bulk—it takes less than an hour to make a week’s worth of dinners for Gatsby and Coco. It’s not nearly as expensive as you might think, either. All the ingredients for five days’ worth of dog food come to only four or five dollars—that’s only 50 cents a meal for a small dog, or about a dollar for a larger dog.

So why not give homemade dog food a try? Your dogs will love you for it. Just make sure that what you’re feeding them is recommended for dogs—stay away from ingredients that might hurt their stomachs or livers, such as onions, garlic, and broccoli. has a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. If you’re not sure about an ingredient, always check with your vet.

My husband Jeff created this meal after researching vet-recommended foods for dogs. And take my word for it—it’s definitely dog-recommended, too.

gatsby eating


Gatsby chowing down.


Jeff’s Doggie Dinner

Makes 10 dinner-sized portions for a small dog, or 5 for a larger dog.

2 sweet potatoes
3.5 cups of rice (7 cups when cooked)
1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried parsley
1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil

1. Boil rice in rice cooker, or according to package instructions.

2. Peel sweet potatoes. Shred by hand, or, if you have a food processor, cut into medium-sized chunks and feed through the shredding attachment.

3. Heat oil over medium heat in frying pan. Add ground meat, and use wooden spoon to break meat up into small chunks. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.

4. Add shredded sweet potato and parsley to frying pan, and mix well with meat. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Mix in cooked rice. Remove pan from heat.

6. Allow to cool, about ten minutes.

7. Serve it up. Bon appetit, dogs!

A brief sidenote: Any dietary change will affect your dog’s digestive system, so don’t be alarmed if his poos are runnier than usual for a few days. Things will go back to normal as soon as he adjusts to the new diet.

Want more home cooking ideas for your dogs? Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine’s website features a “Pet Friendly” recipe every month. Many recipes for treats and meals are also available at The Poop Pantry, though these recipes are user-submitted, so use your own discretion.

Got any Fido-friendly recipes you’d like to share? Post them in the comments!

Here are some recipes recommended by the Dog Guide:

Cheesy bone cookies

Homemade dog biscuits

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