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Dads Can Cook Too – A Guide To Simple Cooking for Busy Fathers

As a father of two and husband of a wife who works more hours than I do, I do a lot of the cooking for our family. It took a while for me to learn that dads can cook too. We previously used fast food drive throughs quite a lot but we have been working on keeping a much stricter budget. The monetary considerations combined with the fact that eating out was not very healthy convinced me that I need to figure this out. I found that the key for me is to keep things simple. If a recipe is complicated or takes too much time to make, it simply won’t work for our family.

Time is Precious

On any given day, there is a finite amount of time for you to do all the things that need doing, including feeding the family. Ideally, I like to use recipes that take an hour or less of my time.

Although there are some recipes I use that may take hours to cook, the prep for these recipes is easy and takes very little time. For recipes of this kind, the cooking time is mostly hands off and I can work on other things (cleaning, homework, playing with the kids, etc…)

Less is More

When I started doing the cooking for our family, I quickly found out that there are many distractions while trying to prepare a meal. It seems like the minute we start cooking, we are met with a barrage of distractions: breaking up arguments, kids wanting to show us a new magic trick, kids asking for help with spelling or math. These distractions seem endless and can make it pretty easy to make a mistake while cooking.

I have found that simple recipes minimize the opportunities for me to make a mistake. I like to use recipes that have a fairly short list of ingredients and that do not involve too many complicated procedures. After some trial and error, I learned that the more complicated a recipe is, the more likely I am to make a mistake, measure incorrectly, or skip a step.

A recipe doesn’t need to have a long list of ingredients to be delicious. For my families taste, simple is almost always better. When I have made recipes that use many different ingredients, the payoff simply hasn’t been there. It’s easy to think “more ingredients must mean more flavor” but that isn’t always the case. The flavors can easily get lost in each other.

Dads can cook too, but let’s face it, we hate following directions. The stereotypes are true. We try to do things on our own and then only look at the directions if we run into a problem. This simply doesn’t work for cooking. For this reason, I like to use recipes that don’t have a lot of steps or difficult procedures.

Essential Tools

The list of available kitchen gadgets and tool is endless. Late night commercials, internet ads, vlogs and unboxing videos can convince you that you need all of them. The truth is that you really only need a few things to be successful in the kitchen and prove that dads can cook too. I have a few “go to” items that are used often. The tools that you use may be different from mine. The key is to figure out which tools you enjoy using the most and then plan your menus around them. I will discuss a few of my favorites below.

By far, my favorite cooking implement is my cast iron skillet and you will most likely be seeing more discussion on this site about it. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you have mastered cleaning and seasoning cast iron pans, you will find that they are very enjoyable to cook with. There are a few things that I really like about cooking with cast iron:

  • I feel manly when I use it. It takes my mind back to the pioneers and cooking on the trail.
  • It is very durable. My mom still uses a cast iron pan that she inherited and is somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 years old
  • It is easy to clean once you have learned how
  • It helps with iron intake. It naturally infuses iron into your food
  • They can be used on the stove top or in the oven

Another gadget that I like to use is the Instant Pot. Despite what YouTube and recipe blogs might lead you to believe, this device isn’t just for ladies! It can perform many different functions but the main function that I use is that of the pressure cooker. One of the things that I enjoy the most about the Instant Pot is that it is very easy to find recipes. Due to their popularity, there are many blogs, recipe sites and videos, that contain nearly endless ideas for using this gadget. When I first started doing a lot of cooking, this was one of the first things I learned to use. Most Instant Pot recipes are very forgiving and even if you make a mistake, your meal will still taste amazing.

The last gadget I will discuss here is the Crock Pot. This slow cooker is such a huge time saver and is easy to use. It is so easy to just throw in a few ingredients in the morning and then go about my day until dinner time. One of my favorite things to make in the Crock Pot is chili. It is simple to make, tastes amazing and the flavors blend perfectly.
Pot roast comes out tender and juicy.

Keep to the Basics

By following the concepts outlined above and keeping things simple, I think you will find that your frustrations around cooking will be greatly reduced. You will have more time to spend on other projects, your family will be well-fed and your budget will be in better shape. I hope this article helps you and remember, dads can cook too!

 

Christian

20 Comments

  1. I love cooking right from when I was turning to a teen and I did most of the cooking at home while growing up. So, when I married I was sure I would not stress my wife with cooking because that is like a hobby for me. Like you, I make use of recipes too and you are spot on by saying less is more. Going by the shorter recipes, it gives room for creativity and to get the best out of what is being cooked rather than going through the long process of cooking a large list of recipes. Also, I like making use of the crock pot a lot too. Great article you have here.

  2. The frustration of cooking is very real, I have experienced it and I dont like the feel at all. Over time I have learnt that if I’d want to enter the kitchen, it has to be something easy to do. You have just simplified things in this post and said even the hardest can be done in easy steps and this can make cooking more enjoyable. It is true too that the kitchen can be stuffed with so much to use. You really know the problems with us men cooking in the kitchen. Maybe I’ll be making use of the kitchen more often now.

  3. Although we have been empty nesters for a good long while your tips are still very useful as we both work and many times my wife is logging longer work days than I am. You really nailed it when you mentioned the Instant Pot. I just added that bad boy to my kitchen arsenal this past year and I love it.

    • Thanks for checking out the article!  I love the Instant Pot!  It is so versatile!

  4. I had never even considered that a cast iron skillet naturally infuses iron into your food when cooking. That is so great!  It’s basically enough to convince me to buy one 😊. I have used crock pots in the past, and they’re amazing. Flavors come out more intense and richer. And you can just go about your daily tasks while the food simmers in the crockpot.

    Men can be wonderful cooks. My father was an amazing cook. He made the most delicious meals. I learned a lot from him by watching him, but the help he usually wanted of me was cleaning up after him, lol..I washed the dishes, and he used many 😉 but I still learned a lot. He showed me what he did, how, what, why. And it stuck with me.

    • Thanks for checking out the article!  If you do get a cast iron skillet make sure to look at some videos on how to season and clean it.  Its a bit of a learning curve but totally worth it!

  5. Hi Christian, I love cast iron skillets too! I started using them when I heard that they can increase your iron intake, which as a vegetarian is pretty important for me. But I love how durable they are, they feel like they will last forever. and I love how they make me feel like a professional chef when I’m using them. You are SO right about men not liking to follow directions – my Dad cooks all the time and has never followed a recipe in his life. he also refuses to read the instructions when putting together furniture haha. The one thing I really need to get is a slow cooker. I’m really busy and it would be a total time saver to chuck a load of ingredients in the pot in the morning and have dinner be ready in the evening. really great post, thank you for sharing 🙂 

    • Thanks for checking out the article! I’m the same way with furniture!  I put it together and only look at the instructions if I end up with an extra piece.  LOL

  6. Dads definitely can cook.  I try to take a similar approach as far as recipes with relatively short ingredients lists – easier to cook, harder to mess up, and usually just as tasty.  That said, I don’t have a broad repertoire, so I’m looking forward to getting some ideas from your site.  It’s cool that you’ll be writing about other ways to cook besides just grilling, which is where so many dad-oriented cooking sites focus.

    • Thanks for checking out the article!   I agree that simple recipes are usually just as tasty.  

  7. Thanks for sharing such an important and amazing post with us about the Guide To Simple Cooking for Busy Father’s. Your this content is really incredible and very helpful for the busy fathers. For our busy life cooking is must for both mother and father. It took a while for us to learn that dads can cook too. As my mother is a working woman my father have to cook some time. I like to have my father’s cooking food. This article will help my father for cooking. 

    Thanks again. I’ll share this post with my friends and family. 

  8. Dear Christian,

    There is no doubt your wife and two kids are very lucky.

    In the part of the world where I live cooking is the job of women and if men cook they consider it as a shame. However, things changing now if we have a true love for sure we are going to provide the help we can.

    My wife gave birth to a boy baby on 2nd of March 2019 and I am trying my best to help her in cooking.

    We too stopped eating fast foods and the food we prepare at our home is the best. Less is More topic is an eye-opener, and you have provided great advice. Going forward I am going to try to keep my cooking simple.

    One of the most meditative times of my day is when I’m cooking. – Gabrielle Bernstein

    Thanks for the Great inspiring post! This has to be motivating, not only for me but also for many others.

    Much Success!

    Paul

  9. Wow. I should refer this site to my husband so that he can learn to cook too. I find your site is useful for working mums like me as we need to balance our life with work and family. Cooking can take up a lot of our time. I have just bought a crock pot. I will be interested to find any simple recipes for it here. 

    • Thanks for checking out the site!  I will try to add a some crock pot recipes soon!

  10. Hello, I like the topic on your website so engaging and the way you breakdown topics was really great. Keep it up. I also do most of the cooking a home and I have 3 boys and a wife that work too. Most of the time I like to cook a lot of dishes so i dont have to do it everyday, it gives me more time spent to my kids and wife.

    • Thanks for checking out the site!  Meal prep is a great way to go if you have a few hours to kill.  

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