It’s about to become the second coming of the roaring twenties. Men can cook, plain and simple. I don’t know exactly what it was, but reaching back into history by the decades, it was something that men just didn’t do. Was it considered to be non-masculine? Were you made a mockery by your boys? It doesn’t matter now. Today, there’s nothing better than hearing your little one beg for dad to make the pancakes, because he’s the king of breakfast, or to have dad make his famous (stretching the word a bit here) American chop suey. So let’s get on with it, and throw a few recipes your way that your kids—and your wife—are going to love.
Slow Cooked Beef Stew
If you’re not keen on cooking, and you want to be, there’s one magical kitchen appliance that’s going to be your best friend at all times: the Crock-Pot. It was a big deal when women started working full-time, but the kicker was, they were still expected to make dinner. Voila! The slow-cooker took care of it all. Throw in ingredients, sufficient liquids, and you had a meal by the time you got home. They’re safe to leave on the counter all day, and they even come with a warmer setting so that when you serve, it stays hot without cooking any further. Paradise, right?
Some of us are stay-at-home dads, and that’s rockin’, but you have to own it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a hearty beef stew; it’s comfort food. (Sorry, vegetarians.) This is actually a personal recipe that our head writer uses to feed to his four picky sons, and they love it.
- 1lb of stewing meat
- 1.5lbs of red potatoes
- 0.5lbs of yellow onions
- 0.5lbs of carrots
- ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- 6 cups of water
- Onion powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon
- Stewing meat is more expensive than buying a roast and cutting it yourself, but the pieces tend to cook more thoroughly, and at the same time. Toss your stewing meat into your Crock-Pot, keep it off.
- Scrub your potatoes; most of the flavor comes from the skins. Dice them up to be about the same size as your stewing meat chunks. Carve your onions and carrots to be the same size.
- Add all the fillings to the Crock-Pot, pour water over. At this time, add in ¼ tsp. of onion powder, and a dash of salt, papper, and a half-dash of cinnamon. (Not cinnamon sugar; two totally different things.)
- Put on low heat for 8 hours; stir occasionally, 30 minutes before serving, add in your flour to thicken up the mixture. If necessary, add in more flour bit by bit until you get the desired consistency. ¼ a cup is usually all that’s needed.
- Put on high for the last 30 minutes; flip it to warm, serve, and you’re done. For bonus points, make sure to have some biscuits coming out of the oven—they go great with beef stew.
Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese
This may sound like a copout meal, but this is a dish that even adults like. In my opinion, everybody likes a little bit of macaroni and cheese, but as we get older, that boxed junk doesn’t cut it anymore. Nothing beats homemade, real mac ‘n cheese. It’s easy to make; you’re only going to need to prep this about an hour beforehand, and it requires little-to-no maintenance.
- 1lb of your preferred small pasta; shells, elbows, bowties, etc.
- 2 cups of milk
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ stick of butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tube of Ritz crackers
- Get your water boiling and cook up your pasta; this is only going to take five minutes, you only want to half-cook it, since we’re popping it into the oven shortly.
- Pour your half-cooked macaroni into the 9X13 pan, and get another pot ready to make the cheese sauce.
- Drop your half-stick of butter into the pan, and the second it’s melted, gently drop in your two cups of milk. Right after that, drop ion your two cups of cheddar cheese. Some recipes say to gently wean it in; nope, no time for that.
- Keep stirring. Seriously, don’t stop. When you get the texture of a gooey cheese sauce, which takes about 5-6 minutes, you’re ready. Remove this from the heat, and keep on moving.
- Pour your cheese sauce over the macaroni in the pan. Use your utensil to mix it all around, and get ready for the touchdown. Open a pack of Ritz crackers, put them into a Ziploc bag, and crush them up until they’re really small chunks. Sprinkle it over the top of the macaroni blend. Trust me on this one.
- Pop this into the oven for 22-30 minutes on 350F, and when it’s done, you’re done. Serve and sit down, dad, you did good.
Maybe not the most attractive title, but here’s one that you’ll know your wife will like. The others are comfort foods, but here’s where it gets sophisticated. Don’t worry; you can’t mess this one up.
- 1lb of salmon (whatever’s cheapest; salmon tastes the same no matter what type)
- ¾lb of fresh asparagus
- 1/8 stick of butter
- Salt, pepper
- One whole lemon
- Non-stick cooking spray
- This one’s going to be real easy. You don’t have to skin the salmon or anything like that. Put it down on a piece of tinfoil that’s been coated with a generous amount of non-stick spray.
- Pop it into the oven on 400F for 18 minutes (check to ensure the thickness of your salmon; adjust times accordingly)
- You have a few minutes to get the asparagus right. Fortunately, it’s going into the oven, too. Cut the soft and browned ends off of your asparagus stocks. Melt your 1/8 stick of butter in a bowl in the microwave, and roll the asparagus in the butter. Apply a few pinches of salt and pepper, and pop them onto a cookie sheet.
- When your salmon has 12 minutes left, put the asparagus in the oven on another rack, and set a timer.
- You can literally plate these up now. Cut the salmon in half, pop both pieces on the respective plates (be careful when getting it off of the tinfoil; fish oils make the pan a pain to clean if they leaked onto it, as a heads-up) and place your asparagus next to them. Classy, and she won’t complain about carbs because we didn’t bring any to the table.
It Really Is That Easy
Three simple recipes to get you going. A crowd pleaser, a kid-friendly dish, and a date night dish. You’re ready to rock and roll as dad and husband of the year. Don’t worry; FR’s your secret weapon, and we’ll keep the ammunition coming.