With the holiday season officially starting, it’s time to bring out the family recipes for you to enjoy with loved ones. In my home, that means it’s time to bake the yummy homemade chicken nuggets my dogs love. I first started preparing this warm and healthy dish for my pup, Cody. It was the first Thanksgiving after Sophie and her best buddy, Shadow, crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
I’ve continued the holiday tradition over the years and today Bailey and Olivia get to enjoy this chef inspired treat.
Chicken nuggets inspired by a chef
Lots of bloggers share their famous recipes at this time of year, but I have a deep, dark secret when it comes to cooking. The truth is, I am terrible at it!
While I cook every night for Bailey and Olivia, the meal consists of ground turkey, lamb or beef that I boil with a rotating variety of frozen vegetables. Thank goodness for the “jolly green giant.” Then I spoon the mixture over their store-bought dry food.
So, when I wanted to learn how to prepare real homemade chicken nuggets that I could share with readers, I reached out to a talented online chef named Suzanne DeBrango.
A food blogger who loves dogs
Suzanne runs the popular blog, apuginthekitchen. We met when I first started Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog and Suzanne was taking care of Nando, her special needs Pug. Nando has since crossed the bridge, like my dogs, but at the time he suffered from diabetes, blindness and paralysis. Suzanne and I bonded over our devotion to our disabled fur kids.
She graciously shared her easy and delicious Chicken Nuggets recipe with me. It was Nando’s favorite and now Bailey and Olivia are raving fans.
The homemade chicken nuggets my dogs love
Here’s the recipe I’ll be baking this holiday season. I hope your dogs enjoy it as much as mine.
- 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey (Suzanne said she uses breast meat)
- 1 cup ground vegetables of parsley, spinach, carrot, kale and celery
- 1/2 cup cube pumpkin or butternut squash (steamed until tender)
- 1/2 cup cooked barley
- 1/2 cup grated cheese (your choice, but Suzanne prefers cheddar)
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- small pinch of sea salt
Pre heat oven to 350
Cut your pumpkin or butternut squash into cubes and steam or oven roast until tender. Set aside.
Grind the vegetables in your food processor, pulsing until coarsely ground (don’t pulverize)
Place chicken, vegetables. barley, pumpkin or squash, egg and pinch of salt in bowl and mix to combine.
On small sheet pan lined with parchment and lightly greased with olive oil place the chicken mixture and spread into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. Let it cool for about 20 minutes and then chop into bite size pieces. Store in refrigerator.
Foods your dog should NOT eat at the holidays (or any other time)
Although I don’t generally feed my dogs table scrapes, they might get a taste or two of the many leftovers from family meals served from now until the New Year. If you’re in the same boat, I put together a list of foods dogs should never eat.
Most pet owners know that chocolate is bad for your dog, but certain nuts, onions and other common holiday ingredients are also potentially harmful.
Here’s a list of common foods and spices to keep away from your dog:
- Sage: This spice in large quantities can cause central nervous system depression and stomach upset.
- Raisins: Lots of holiday dishes call for raisins, but they can cause kidney failure in your dog. So, think twice before serving any leftovers that may contain raisins such as stuffing, bread pudding, baked desserts and more.
- Cake Batter: Just as bad for them as is it is for us. The raw eggs in cake batter can cause salmonella.
- Bread Dough: This one is a big no-no. Feeding raw dough to your dog can actually warm inside their sensitive bellies and cause discomfort. Furthermore, it could lead to swelling and blockage of the stomach or intestines.
- Turkey Bones: Bones dry out while cooking which can cause them to crack or splinter if your dog chews on them. It can lead to cuts in your dog’s intestine. Plus bones, particularly small ones, can be a choking hazard. Best not to ‘give your dog a bone’.
- Turkey Skin: The skin is too fatty for your dog to digest. High fat foods like this can trigger the pancreas to produce and release a large number of enzymes and then malfunction. Pancreatitis is painful and can be life threating. It’s not worth the risk!
Potatoes, pumpkin, skinless white meat turkey, yams, cranberries are okay, but please remember, don’t over indulge. A small amount is enough of a treat for your pup.