turkey mutt loaf casserole (with special guest Lena)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

As the canine star of Joeycake, it's really an honor to have you here today in more than just cute pictures, Lena. Thank you so much for joining me!

Um....Have you met me? I'm pretty much joining you every day under the desk here. 

Yes, but I'm so glad you've allowed me to interview you for this home-cooked dog food post.

HELLO, did somebody say FOOD?

Yep. I did. How are you liking the food I've been cooking for you lately?

Wowee! That stuff's good! I like digging my snout in there A LOT. And my tail's been super tired lately. 

From all the wagging?

You got it.

I notice that right after eating, before your epic all-day nap, you do a victory lap around the house. What's that about?

I gotta see what I missed while I was eatin'.

I see. So, which dishes have you enjoyed the most?

The one with the meat. Oh, and that other one with the meat.

Confession: I sometimes slip fresh parsley in there to give you fresh breath.

Say what?

And I also sneak lots of veggies in there and whole grains and even apple cider vinegar so you can live a long time and be healthy.

 Huh. Ok......but there's meat in there too, right?

Yes, there's meat. Don't worry about it. I've got you covered.

Hey, do you mind if I lie down while we have this conversation? And maybe close my eyes?

No, go for it. So, I notice that anytime I'm in the kitchen now you think I'm cooking for you. 

Aren't you?

Not so much. We need to work on that. Your begging has become supreme.

Thanks! Hey, next time you're in there can you make me my favorite Blueberry dessert?

Don't push it.

Turkey Mutt Loaf Casserole
adapted from Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodard
makes about 12 cups

Ok. Listen. This is happening: I've become a person that cooks for her dog. If you know me this shouldn't surprise you since a) I'm kinda weird, b) I like to feed everybody, and c) Lena has always appreciated my cooking. Oh, and d) I need more things to do (not).

Our sweet Lena girl is about 12 now and has begun to have some health issues that come with aging. All this time we've been feeding her a good, organic dry food but lately I felt compelled to research feeding her some home-cooked grub. After learning what a dog needs nutritionally and how to use food to treat/tame certain conditions, I decided to experiment feeding her a variety of high-quality foods (and adding liquid vitamins, minerals and fish oil) to see if we can extend her quality of life and also avoid illness and all the costs that come along with it--monetary and emotional. It's definitely a little more time consuming but if you're already in the kitchen cooking for yourself, no biggie. This is mega-easy with only two steps: mixing and cooking. And confession: It's really good. I'm not ashamed to say on more than one occasion I've scooped myself out a large corner portion with toasty edges, added some salt and pepper (and a fork) and eaten alongside her. Yes, I eat dog food (see a).

Cooking spray
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 t dried oregano
2 1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t garlic powder
1 T soy sauce or tamari
1 T worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or any cheese, really)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 lbs ground turkey
3 cups rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a large glass or metal lasagna pan (mine is 15x10x2) with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the oregano, thyme, garlic powder, soy sauce, worcestershire and parsley. Mix well. Add the cheese and tomatoes and mix again. Add the turkey and oats and get your hands in there to combine thoroughly. Pour/spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish evenly and bake for about 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the middle comes to 170F. Turn the broiler on high and blast the top for about 5-6 minutes (watch it carefully!) until it gets browned and toasty. Cool before serving and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Each 1 cup serving of this contains just over 300 calories*.

*Rick has caloric guidelines in his book to help you figure out how much to feed your pooch. For example, Lena is about 60 pounds and should have 1000-1200 cals/day, depending on her activity level. So I've been experimenting with giving her part high-quality dry food and part home-cooked grub, making sure she gets her caloric needs met.

P.S. Don't ever feed your dog onions! And they need very little salt. (Here's a full list of dangerous foods for dogs.) And BTW I'm no expert, just a dog lover. Talk to your vet about your pooch's diet.

Jolie and Lena


  1. How wonderful to see Lena today! I'm trying to hide the computer screen, and that muttloaf picture, from the two hounds here...

  2. I loooooove your table! I'd like to make a farm table for myself but am scared to. I was thinking that some industrial steel legs would be much easier to handle than creating my own wood ones. Where'd you get this beautiful table?

  3. Thanks, Jen! I got it at one of my most favorite stores in the world!:


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