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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


My Poindexter is a rescue dog.  Found on the streets at four weeks old, raised in a foster home and placed in the pound where my husband and I fell in love with the Bassett eyes. The county lock-up provided basic dry food for the animals. The foundlings gobbled it up gratefully until…
Paul, my husband a Saratoga native, believed the food should be nutritious and set about finding the best food for our mutt. We tried a wide variety of canned and dried foods, settling on two different brands. Unfortunately, the cost of the food eked up a bit every year. The bag of dried food now is a whooping $18 a bag and the canned $2.79 to $2.99 each.  On a widow’s budget that is extreme.
I haven’t helped matters by providing a lamb shank once a month or an occasional steak. To be fair, the lamb shank on sale comes in at $2.79 to $3.00 and does a great job of cleaning up the tooth plaque from his giant teeth.
To hold the household to a budget, I started with mixing Poindexter’s high end dry food with the cheap Kibble and Bits—half and half. He likes it better than the plain but cuts my costs by almost thirty percent. The meat and canned food he got at night killed the budget.
I snagged a recipe provided by a committee at my church. (Thank you Razzle Dazzle). It seemed doable and with some modifications I made the recipe for my fifty-pound hungry dog.  The Dog Food Casserole called for garlic cloves. Sorry but my vet and ASPCA has garlic on the toxic food list for canines.
I also left out peas because Dex hates them. You can give him soup, dog food, or pot roast. If he finds a pea, he spits it out, amazing for a creature that cleans his entire body with his tongue. I also left out wheat germ because I didn’t have any.

Poindexter showed up in the kitchen once the rice was done and I started mixing the turkey meat with the egg. He stood guard over the oven until I finally served him his meal. He has scarfed down the dog food each time and licked the bowl clean. He is a big fan.  
Here’s the modified recipe.
Dog Food Casserole:
4 lbs ground turkey meat
1 lb canned Navy or Red Beans
1 lb frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)
2 cups cooked brown rice (which is 1 cup uncooked) *I used Wild Rice instead in my rice cooker.
1 cup cooked oatmeal *I used Trader Joe’s Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal with rye, barley, oats, & wheat. Microwaved one cup with 1¼ cups of water.
1 cup 2% fat cottage cheese
2 large eggs
¼ cup nutritional yeast

Cook rice and oatmeal then allow it to cool. Find a very big bowl. Mix all the ingredients together until blended. You will need two large baking or lasagna pans sprayed with oil. Spread the mixture into the pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60 to 90 minutes. This is a basic meat loaf recipe and will cook about the same. Cool and cut into dog can portions. If you have a little dog you should get 36-48 squares (42 to 31 cents per serving). Poindexter’s size was about 12 squares ($1.42 per serving). Pop into plastic freezer bags and freeze.  I like to heat a portion in the microwave before serving.
BTW I took a bite. It is delicious. So if I end up being Old Mother Hubbard at least I will be eating quality dog food.
According to the ASPCA:
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet
•           alcoholic beverages
•           avocado
•           chocolate (all forms)
•           coffee (all forms)
•           fatty foods
•           macadamia nuts
•           moldy or spoiled foods
•           onions, onion powder
•           raisins and grapes
•           salt
•           yeast dough
•           garlic

•           products sweetened with xylitol (04/06/2007)