Open challenge to Dads: 9 dad-proof recipes to try for your kids

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Not cooking for your child is never a good excuse in this time of equal parenting, dads! With a bit of planning and preparation, every father can cook up something delectable and healthy for his child with these dad-proof recipes.

Cooking is easy, and if done right, the result is delicious and nutritious. But more importantly, cooking (even with dad-proof recipes) is one of the easiest forms of expressing love and affection! And that is why more and more dads are seen in the kitchen.

If you are a dad anxious about cooking, don’t worry – we are here to help. Here are 9 breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert dad-proof recipes that will soon have you feeling like a Michelin-starred chef! And while these are kid-friendly, we promise the whole family will love these recipes too.

Before you begin

There are some tricks that will help you in your quest to be the best dad-chef ever.

To begin with, preparation is key. Keep all the ingredients ready before you start cooking. Dice the veggies, choose the right pan, and keep spoons handy. It is easier this way than dashing off to find something while you have something on the fire.

Next, it is safer to cook on medium heat. Choose a medium-sized burner when you cook. If you are using a gas burner, ensure that you can barely hear the hiss of the flame. This will ensure that the food gets cooked thoroughly.

And lastly, it is better to overcook than undercook. So, don’t worry if the spaghetti is not al dente, just don’t burn the kitchen down!

Right, let’s start with the breakfast dishes.

Breakfast

#1 Cheese and veggie omelette

This is the easiest recipe. It takes immense talent to cook an egg the wrong way!

Crack two eggs into a bowl.

Add a dash of milk or a spoonful of yoghurt to the eggs. Using the egg beater or a fork, mix the eggs well. The milk will give a fantastic creaminess to it.

Keep the pan on medium heat. Add a little oil and coat the pan. You can use a brush to do so.

After about 2 minutes, once the pan is sufficiently heated, pour in the mixture. Cover it with a lid.

After one minute, spread cooked veggies decoratively on the omelette. You can spell out the name of your child, it will blow his mind! I use peas, diced carrots, and corn for the colours! Broccoli works good as well!

Garnish with cheese, and replace the lid.

In 2-3 minutes, the top of the omelette will stop looking wet — that is when the omelette is cooked. Serve it with a smile!

#2 Avocado toast

This is quite a simple recipe.

Choose a ripe avocado and cut it into half carefully, around the stone. With a spoon, scoop out the green meat into a bowl.

With a fork or a masher, start mashing the avocado. You can involve your kids in the mashing process. Once it is reduced to a mush, add a pinch of salt, and pepper if your kids like it.

Then, cut half a tomato into small bits and add it to the mixture.

Toast wholemeal bread slices and spread a thin layer of butter on them. Then, spread the amazing smashed avocado on it! I have it daily for breakfast and if done right, it takes less than 10 minutes to get it ready!

3# Rice pudding with apples and raisins

This recipe is so simple and yet so delicious!

Take 100 ml of semi-skimmed milk in a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of pudding rice/oats. Continue to stir on a medium flame till it boils, then let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Peel and chop an apple and take a sprinkle of raisins. Once the pudding is cooked, transfer it to a plate and add the fruits on top of it.

Lunch recipes

#1 Mixed beans and vegetable stew with bread/rice

This delicious recipe is the perfect way to get your child to eat more veggies. And it is so delicious that you can make some for the entire family!

For this, chop and dice 1 medium onion, 1 potato, 1 clove of garlic and 1 carrot. You also need one can each of chopped tomatoes and mixed beans. For both, use the reduced-salt and reduced-sugar versions.

In addition, you can use a meat of your choice: minced chicken, lamb, beef. Or, if you want to keep it vegetarian, just skip the meat!

In a pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and onion. Mix well and cover with a lid for 3 minutes till the onions start sweating.

Then, add the other ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.

Serve with bread or rice, whatever everyone fancies!

#2 Poached eggs and salmon on a toast/muffin

For a continental brunch, this is the ideal recipe. Poaching an egg is both easy and difficult, but with sufficient practice, you can master it. If you are not into poached eggs, just make an omelette!

You need smoked salmon slices for it. If you cannot get them, you can just cook some salmon and serve it on the side.

To poach an egg, boil half a pan of water. Add 2 pinches of salt and a dash of vinegar to it.

Break one egg gently in each cup. Use fresh brown eggs for the best result. Add the egg to the boiling water in one fluid motion. It will start cooking immediately. Just time it for 3 minutes and it is done!

You can get egg poaching cups as well. Add the egg to these cups and add the cups to water.

Toast some wholemeal bread slices. Add a thin layer of butter. If you have smoked salmon, add a sliver on each toast. Squeeze some lemon on top of it for added flavour.

Rest the poached egg gently on top of the salmon. Voilà! You have a beautiful lunch ready!

If you don’t have smoked salmon though, you can cook some on the side. To a pan, add a tablespoon of oil. Take a fillet of salmon with the skin on, and once the oil is hot enough, add the salmon with the skin side down. Cook it till the colour of 3/4th salmon changes from the bottom up and looks cooked. Flip the salmon and cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Ensure that it is cooked before serving. Garnish with salt and some lemon juice.

If you don’t want to use salmon at all, substitute it with some smashed avocado. It is equally delectable!

Dinner

#1 One pot spaghetti

This is a comfort meal and a chance to make the kids eat those veggies!

In a big pan, add 3 chopped tomatoes, ½ chopped medium white onion, 1 chopped capsicum, 10 leaves of spinach, ½ cup of corn, and mushrooms.

If you want, you can add 100 grams of diced chicken breasts to it.

Add about 12 sticks of spaghetti per child, or more for adults. If it does not fit, break it into the half. Add 400 ml of vegetable stock. Put the pan on a medium flame with the lid off.

Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of ground pepper and a tablespoon of vinegar.

Stir occasionally.

Check if the spaghetti looks cooked. Once it is, remove from the heat, and garnish with grated cheese. Serve this simple recipe with some garlic bread.

2# Grilled chicken with mashed potato

For this, use 450 grams of fresh chicken breasts. Grilling chicken is easy, just don’t undercook it!

Wash the chicken breasts well. Remove any fat you see. Set them aside.

In a medium pan, add 2 chopped potatoes. Cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Boil it with a lid on. After you can smell cooked potatoes or about 6 minutes of boiling, poke one with a fork. It should go right through.

Drain the water and return the pan to the flame for another 30 seconds.

Then, transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Add a small dollop of butter, 50 ml milk and start mashing with a fork or a masher. Add more milk if necessary. Keep it as lumpy as you like. Add ½ cup of boiled peas to it to add to the taste. Mashed potatoes are ready!

Grilled chicken

Add a tablespoon of oil to a grill-pan or saucepan. Once it is hot enough, carefully add the chicken breasts. Cook each side for 90 seconds and flip. It takes about 5-10 minutes for the chicken to cook depending on the size. Pass a fork and it should not feel any resistance. If you are unsure, cut open one to see that it looks cooked all the way.

In a plate, make a bed of mashed potatoes and place the chicken on top of it. And then, squeeze a lemon on top of the chicken. It won’t feel dry to eat. If it is too dry, you can add some soy sauce to it. It won’t ruin the taste!

3# Chicken and veggie soup with noodles

This calcium-rich recipe is a hit amongst children.

Take a block of tofu and cut it into small cubes. Dice ¼ small carrot and take 1 tablespoons of corn.

Take 25 grams of spinach leaves (about 8-15) and remove the stalks. Soak in water for an hour. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add boiling water enough to cover the leaves and then cover the bowl with a lid. After a minute, drain the boiling water and run it under cold water. This will blanch the spinach. You can use any green vegetable instead of spinach, like bak choy, kale, chye sim.

Steam some chicken and shred it. You will need 2 tablespoons of shredded chicken for the recipe.

Add carrot, corn, tofu and shredded chicken into 300 ml of boiling water in a medium-sized pan. Let it boil for 5-10 minutes with the lid off. Add spinach and simmer for 5-10 more minutes till all the vegetables are cooked.

Add cooked rice noodles or bee hoon to the soup and bring it to a boil. Let it cool enough before serving!

Dessert

Strawberry and Kiwi Vietnamese rolls with yoghurt dip

This colourful and delicious recipe is so easy to make that you would be surprised! For this, you need rice papers.

Take a kiwi, cut it in half and scoop the insides using a spoon. Finely chop it. Similarly, finely chop 3-6 big strawberries, enough to fill a cup and a half. Take a ripe mango and dice half of it and mash the remaining half. The latter would be the mango puree.

Take a bowl of warm water and dip each rice paper for a second to soften it. In a row across the centre, spread a small amount of mango puree. Add one tablespoon of each fruit. Fold it into a tight roll.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt to the mango puree and this acts as the dip. Serve this cold dessert and see your child’s eyes light up seeing all those wonderful colours!

Dads, cooking is not that tough, so what are you making for dinner tonight?

To know more about early childhood nutrition and recipes for your little one, visit https://www.healthhub.sg/ now!

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