As a Dad, you genuinely enjoy cooking dinner as often as you can. The problem, like any busy parent can attest, is finding the time to create kid-friendly meals that don’t take hours to prepare or include funky ingredients you cannot pronounce — and that your children will actually want to eat.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of easy and healthy recipes that even the busiest of Dads can make. As a bonus, they are quick and easy to prepare, you won’t be tempted to grab fast food for your family. Check out the following three ideas:
Paella is one of those great dishes that contain a nice variety of ingredients that most kids like. This version by Rachael Ray gets extra points for allowing you to make it ahead of time. If this is the first time you have prepared this Spanish dish, you should spring for a paella pan. This classic piece of cookware is 10 inches across and features a non-stick interior. It’s also dishwasher safe and under $35.
Back to the recipe:
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add 1/2 cup broken up spaghetti or orzo and cook it until it is golden—then add 1-1/2 cups white rice and a pinch of saffron.
- Stir in 3 cups of chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce it to simmer and let it cook for about 17 minutes. As the recipe notes, while the rice is cooking, sauté chicken thighs in olive oil and add in Spanish chorizo, garlic and some onions before adding frozen peas, thyme and some roasted red bell peppers.
- When cooked, the chicken will be cut up and added to the rice and then put into the pan — at this point you can cover it with foil and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it in the oven. The recipe also calls for a firm fish like cod and some shrimp, which go on top of the rice/chicken/veggie combo after it has baked — if you have kids who don’t enjoy seafood, they can easily pass on this portion of the recipe.
Homemade Chicken Tenders With Honey Mustard Dip
Most kids adore chicken tenders, and Martha Stewart has a great recipe that is crispy and scrumptious.
- While your oven heats up to 475 degrees, put 1/3 cup flour in a shallow bowl and one egg, lightly beaten, in a second bowl.
- Next, crush up 4 cups of crisp rice cereal with 2 tablespoons olive oil — you can use a food processor on “pulse” or put them in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin.
- Add the crushed-up cereal/oil combo to a third bowl.
- Take 1-1/2 pounds of chicken tenders and coat each one first in flour, then dip in egg and then in the cereal mixture.
- Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
- While they are baking, mix some sour cream, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Serve the tenders with the dip and/or whatever other varieties your kids love.
Grands! Easy Taco Melts
This tasty spin on tacos is definitely a hit with kids. The recipe is on the Pillsbury website, which really is a treasure trove of fast and easy meal ideas.
- Cook 1 pound ground beef — buy the lowest fat version you can find to make this extra healthy — and add in a package of low-sodium taco seasoning mix, some water and some chunky salsa.
- While the beef is simmering, open up a can of Pillsbury biscuit dough and press each biscuit into a 6 inch round.
- Spoon 1/3 cup of meat and a sprinkle of Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese onto the biscuit and fold it over so it looks like a small calzone.
- Bake them for 14 minutes in a 375 degree oven and serve with more salsa and sour cream.
Cooking Can Be Fun and Easy
These meals are sure to be a hit with your family, and you might find yourself adding them to your regular rotation of recipes. The paella pan will probably become a go-to accessory, and your other recipes will be so tasty too the kids won’t ask for fast food chicken or tacos anymore — way to go, Dad!