3 dad-friendly toddler recipes

3 dad friendly recipes

I tell “white lies” quite a lot – you have to if you want to save those you love from upset. “No that dress does not make you look fat at all, my darling”; “YES YOU HARDLY NOTICE THAT YOUR HOUSE IS UNDER THE FLIGHT PATH” and now “no, there are no carrots in that pasta sauce”.

With this in mind, here are three simple, Dad-friendly, recipes I often use to sneak healthy food to my daughter (although she is still able to extract broccoli from any dish like a snake regurgitates an empty egg shell…)


The girls wait eagerly for Sam’s latest culinary creation…

Easy peasy bolognaise – makes about 6 servings

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

1 x finely chopped white onion

2 x finely chopped cloves of garlic

500 g good quality minced beef

2 x teaspoons tomato puree

1 x tin (400g) of peeled chopped plum tomatoes

1-2 generous handfuls of mixed frozen vegetables (e.g. Birdseye Field Fresh mixed vegetables / Waitrose organic mixed frozen vegetables)

Pasta to serve

Heat oil over a medium heat and add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Increase heat slightly and add mince, breaking it up so it cooks through (no pink bits!) – should take about 5-7 minutes.

Add the tin of tomatoes and all its juice. Then stir in the puree. Bring to boil before turning down heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to gently cook under a lid for about 25-30 minutes.

Put a pan of boiling water on the boil and add the amount of pasta required (I have guessed at 10 minutes to cook pasta, but check directions on packet. You want it to finish about a minute before the sauce, which should really simmer for 40 minutes total)

Five minutes before pasta is ready, add frozen vegetables to sauce and ensure they are totally covered by the liquid.

Once all cooked, pour enough sauce over pasta, mix and serve. Add cheese if required. Allow remaining sauce to cool and then store in small containers in freezer for future.


Chicken Burgers – makes 4 servings

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

2 x good quality, organic chicken breasts, diced into small segments

2 x finely chopped cloves of garlic

2 x finely chopped shallots

2 x teaspoons of low salt soy sauce

1 x square cm of ginger (optional)

1 x handful of raw curly kale or spinach

Add chicken, garlic, shallots, soy sauce and ginger (if using) to a blender and whizz to a thick paste. Lay out four sheets of cling film on table and scatter with sesame seeds. Divide paste into four portions – one on each sheet of cling film – and wrap. Squash and mould in burger patty shapes.

Either refrigerate for the next day, or…

Heat oil over a medium heat and cook each burger for five minutes each side (but carefully check meat is cooked though in the middle.)

Serve with green vegetables and/or roast sweet potato

(NB ensure blender is thoroughly cleaned before using again – I recommend a hot cycle in dishwasher)


Banana bread – makes one loaf

5 large over-ripe bananas

1 cup of self-raising flour or, if feeling healthy, brown rice flour

1/2 a cup of maple syrup or honey

3 tablespoons of chia seeds

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

2 tablespoons of shredded coconut

Butter or coconut oil to grease tin

Preheat oven too 180C. Mush bananas into a paste with a fork. Add all ingredients to the mixture. Grease a loaf tin with butter, or coconut oil, and pour in the mixture

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes (keep an eye on it!)


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