Chicken & Butternut Squash
by Jennifer Wheeler
Cutting up and using a whole chicken is the most basic and versatile starting point for preparing healthy meals for the human and canine members of your family. We remove our favorite parts for cooking and cut up the rest of the chicken for the dogs to eat raw. The meat can be roasted, fried, grilled or sauteed, and this week we are pairing it with fresh, delicious butternut squash. It’s so easy to do that you may never go back to buying pre-packaged chicken parts!
Chicken & Butternut Squash
Ingredients: Whole chicken, whole butternut squash, herbs or greens for garnish and salad.
Budget: Depending on the quality of the meat, whole chickens at our local store range in price from $0.89 -$5.00/pound. You’ll save money by cutting it up yourself. Same goes for the squash. This seasonal, inexpensive vegetable tastes so much better when purchased whole.
Nutrition: Raw chicken with the bones, cartilage, and gizzards is one of the most basic and balanced meals to give your dog. It is enhanced by all of the vitamins in the squash.
Waste Not: Every single bit of the chicken is used here. Don’t forget the gizzards! They are usually wrapped up in the cavity of the bird. Likewise, save the seeds and guts from the squash – your pup might enjoy them.
The Humans Get:
The squash is peeled, cleaned, and chopped up into 1-inch cubes. Toss with oil, salt and pepper and roast for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. This week we dredged the chicken breasts in flour before sauteeing them, 5 minutes per side, then finishing in the oven on the same sheet pan as the squash during the last 10 minutes of cooking. We garnished with parsley and served it with some leftover green beans.
The Big Guy Gets:
- A big bowl of raw chicken, on the bone, with a size of gizzards (organs)
- Roasted squash
- Raw squash pulp with seeds
Hint: We never chop the chicken up into small pieces because it is much more fun for the pups to chew on the large bits. Because the bones are raw, they don’t splinter, and we feel comfortable giving them to our dogs.
The Little Guy Gets:
- One chicken wing (that’s enough for his 16 pounds!)
- A few pieces of roasted squash. Ollie doesn’t eat the pulp and seeds, and while he is often picky about vegetables, he loves butternut squash as long as it is cooked.
Hint: Mix it with some chopped up herbs for an extra dose of vitamins.
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About the author
Jennifer is a writer and graduate of NYU School of Law. Jennifer researches and writes original, science-based articles for the NYC Doggies blog, and her writing on other topics can be found in the Huffington Post. Jennifer and Ovidiu have co-authored the upcoming book, WHOLE DOG PARENTING: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO RAISE AND TRAIN AN URBAN PUP