Do you believe in love at first sight and have you ever experienced it? Well if you said yes, like I did, then you must be a proud pet parent who has lost their heart to their four-legged soulmate—just like me! I remember the first time I laid eyes on Roxy the Weimaraner. I immediately fell head over tails in LOVE with her and her beautiful baby-blue eyes, soft crushed-velvetlike ears, and gorgeous taupe-gray coat. She was my first of many fur babies and I remember the day we met like it was yesterday, even though it was more than 24 years ago.
Because we love our furry friends like family, I think it’s only appropriate to honor them this Valentine’s Day with something extra special. What’s more important to them than you? FOOD! Surprise your furry Valentine with a holiday dinner and dessert that is paired with dog-approved champagne. My inspiration came from the romantic dinner scene in the newly released remake of the classic film, Lady and the Tramp.
I’ll guide you through preparing this romantic and healthy culinary canine feast. The main course includes spaghetti squash with heart-shaped meatballs, and heart-shaped carob and peanut butter truffles for dessert. For those pet parents who want to make the extra splash, you can add a bottle of Dög Pawrignon from our friends at Pet Winery.
Make this dinner and dessert the day before, refrigerate, then serve either cold or slightly warmed in the microwave. Make the night even more special by creating your own spaghetti dinner and eat together! Please don’t share because your tomato sauce with onions and garlic are a big no-no for all dogs.
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Spaghetti Squash with Heart-Shaped Meatballs
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cook time: 1 hour
- Makes 6-12, depending on size of meatballs
You will need:
- heart-shaped silicone mold or heart-shaped cookie cutter
- 2-cup measuring cup
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1/2 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 pound (grass-fed preferred), lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 3 oz. organic tomato paste
- 3/4 cup low or no-sodium broth (beef or chicken)
- 1 packet PetCakes pizza mix
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the gourd in half lengthwise and place cut side up in a glass baking dish or pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool.
- To create the spaghetti-like noodles, use a fork to pull out the insides of the cooled squash.
- To make the meatballs, combine both meats and the egg in a bowl and stir until well mixed.
- Spray the heart-shaped silicone mold with nonstick coating and fill with the meat mixture, or spread the meat mixture flat into a glass baking dish or pan, about ½-inch thick (then cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter after the next step).
- Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. You can bake the squash and meat simultaneously.
- For the sauce , whisk together the tomato paste, broth and pizza mix in a 2-cup measuring cup until there are no clumps. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To plate this dish, pile some squash noodles on the center of the plate, drizzle sauce over them, then add two meatballs. Top with a sprinkle of parsley.
Carob/Peanut Butter Truffles for Fido
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Freeze time: 1 hour
- Makes 6-8, depending on size of hearts
You will need:
- heart-shaped silicone mold
- 2-cup measuring cup (microwave safe)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened carob chips
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter* (We recommend using an all-natural peanut butter that contains only peanuts.)
- In the measuring cup, microwave the carob chips on medium-high heat for a minute at a time until almost melted (about 3 minutes total). Do not overheat them.
- Stir in the peanut butter, mixing thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into the mold and freeze for at least an hour before serving.
*NOTE ON PEANUT BUTTER: Some peanut butter brands contain xylitol, a sugar alchool, which is highly toxic to pets. Make sure to read the ingredients label of your peanut butter prior to giving to your pets. Xylitol is also contained in sugarless gum and many low calorie foods, so make sure to check the labels of any products you give to your pets and keep them out of reach so accidents don’t happen when you aren’t home. The following brands of peanut butter contain xylitol: Go Nuts, Co; Krush Nutrition; Nuts ‘N More, and P28.
Neither Melinda nor CincyPet Magazine are veterinary experts and as such you should always consult your vet before introducing anything new into your pet’s diet.