Jen Mitchell Oddi, a Toronto-based television producer/director by day and dog-chef by night, created this winning recipe. Jen shares her passion for home-cooked dog food and treats at mydogsbreakfast.com, a blog charting her experiments in the kitchen, along with the resultant recipes, and photos of the lucky dogs that enjoy the fruits of her labour. There are a whole bunch of things we (and, of course, our dogs!) dig about Jen’s Grain-free GoodBites recipe. It’s simple, low on potential allergens— no eggs, for one—and it’s grain-free. In place of eggs, Jen uses no-sugar-added applesauce as a binding agent. Without egg or flour, it’s a sticky, wet dough, but the results are worth it, especially if your little one can’t handle grains. Let’s get cooking with Jen!
• 1 duck breast
• 1/4 cup unsweetened (no sugar added) applesauce
• 3/4 cup instant potatoes. I prefer to use a granulated instant potato (such as the Paradise Valley brand available at Costco) rather than flaked, but either will work.
• 1 tsp rosemary
• 1 tsp parsley
• 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of chicken broth or water
STEP 1 Preheat your oven to 400°. If you have a food processor, roughly chop the duck breast before putting it in the processor. I lived a full and happy life without a food processor, but bought one six months ago, and man, I wish I had gotten one a long time ago! If you’re going manual all the way, chop the duck breast into little bitty bites.
STEP 2 Either in the food processor or in a big mixing bowl, add the chopped duck, the instant potato, the applesauce, rosemary, and parsley. Pulse or mix together. As you go along, slowly add as much water or broth as you need to get the dough to a spreadable consistency. My preference, to keep the treats lower in fat and sodium, is water, but use broth if that’s what you think your dog would prefer. This is a wet dough—it’s without flour, after all—so don’t worry if it looks like a big brown blob—it’s supposed to!
STEP 3 Spread the dough onto a parchment-lined baking tray. I get right in there with my hands rather than using a spatula. Use a knife to cut squares in the raw dough. I cut big squares for my boys, but you should make them the appropriate size for your dogs.
STEP 4 Bake them at 400° for 40 minutes then turn the oven off, but leave the treats in for an extra hour or so to dry out even more as the oven cools down. When you take the treats out, flip them over on the parchment to let the bottom dry out a bit more as they cool on the counter.
STEP 5 Store an immediate-consumption portion of GoodBites in your fridge for three to five days, and freeze the rest. Or keep them all in the freezer and serve them frozen. I’ve taken to keeping all of my treats in the freezer because this way my piglets have to eat them in two bites rather than gulp them right down the hatch!
Think outside the bag. For more of Jen’s home-cooked dog food and treat recipes, check out mydogsbreakfast.com.