Sunday, September 19

Cooking for the Dog Days of Summer

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Ancient Greeks learned their constellations by associating their patterns with animals and gods. One constellation formed enough of the outline of a dog to be named Canis Major — “big dog.” That dog’s “nose” was the star named Sirius … hence Sirius is known as the “Dog Star.” The “dog days of summer” simply refer to the star’s position in the heavens when Sirius seemed to rise in the sky just before sunup.

Every dog has its day— and we all know that whether that dog is Sirius or just that sweet pooch next to you on the couch, all dogs are heavenly! Because August is National Dog Month, let’s celebrate our canine companions with treats. These recipes include clean, natural ingredients that will be just as tasty and wholesome for you and any of the good dogs you know.

Banana Pumpkin Treats
 
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, banana and pumpkin puree, blending until smooth at medium speed with an electric mixer. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour. Mix until completely incorporated.
  2. Dust a rolling pin and clean surface with extra flour and transfer the dough. Roll out from ⅛-inch to no more than ¼-inch thickness and cut into cookies. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before treating your pet. These can be frozen for longer storage.
Bacon Cheese Biscuits
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Place the oats, cheese and crumbled bacon in a food processor and process until crumbly. Add the eggs and process until the mixture forms a dough. Transfer to a floured surface and knead three times. Roll out to ¼-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.
  3. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or freeze for longer use.
Water(melon) Sicles
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, cut in chunks
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Place the watermelon chunks and coconut milk in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze until firm. Transfer to a heavy-duty zip-top freezer bag, label and freeze.
No-Bake Pumpkin Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups rolled oats, plus more for rolling, if desired
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, pumpkin puree, peanut butter and water until well blended. Roll into 1-inch balls and roll in additional oats, if desired. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer to a heavy-duty zip-top freezer bag, label and freeze.
Crunchy Oat Biscuits
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup nonfat dry milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • ½ cup cold water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oats, milk and salt. Add the eggs and peanut butter, stirring well to blend. Add the water, stirring until the dough comes together. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on the parchment, then flatten with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 40 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or freeze for longer storage.

Recipes for stuffing fillable hard-rubber treat holders

Oats and Applesauce
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 banana, peeled and mashed
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
The Pumpkin Pleaser
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
Peas Please
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fresh green peas
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
Tasty Turkey
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked ground turkey
  • ½ cup finely diced apples
  • ½ cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
Blueberry Bounty
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup crushed fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup peanut butter or unsweetened applesauce
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
Peanut Butter Puree
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup shredded cooked turkey
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
Banana Kibble
 
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, peeled and mashed
  • ⅔ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup kibble
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.
Chicken and Vegetable
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked diced chicken
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes
  • ¼ cup peas and carrots (if frozen, no need to thaw)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Place in treat holders or in an ice cube tray and freeze.

Tips for Treats

These are truly hot summer days, so make sure and keep plenty of clean water available for your furry friends, both outside and in.

These treats are all made with ingredients that are acceptable for cats, dogs and their humans.

Placing the excess baked goodies in the freezer prolongs their shelf life to six months.

If your pet likes crunchy treats, bake the goodies a bit longer — but watch them closely.

Filled treat holders that are frozen not only help pets cool off but keep them occupied longer than room-temperature ones.


Ask Chef Tammy

Email your cooking questions to Tammy Algood: talgood@tnelectric.org.

Rachel asks, “How do I prevent homemade pudding from curdling?”

Rachel,
Pudding must be cooked low and slow to prevent curdling, so don’t get in a rush and cook it at too high a temperature. If you notice it starting to curdle, remove it from the heat immediately and set the pan in icy cold water. This stops the cooking process so it doesn’t curdle any further. Then use a whisk to beat it until smooth.

“I love making custard from scratch but have a problem with skin forming on the top. Can you help me solve this issue, please?” asks Jeremy.

Jeremy,
I always place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent this from happening. It must be touching the custard for this to work, rather than covering the top of the bowl. Press it onto the surface and keep it there until ready to serve after chilling. Also, a sprinkling of sugar on the top will help retard the formation of that pesky film.

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About Author

Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at talgood@tnelectric.org.

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