5 Dads on Their Go-To Meals

  by Chris Horst

At dadcraft, we believe we’re in this together. Fathering can be isolating, so there’s great benefit to helping each other out as fellow dads on this journey. And there’s fun in listening to one another. We asked the question, what’s your go-to meal when you’re in a pinch?

Here’s what not 5—but 6!—of you told us.

Chris, father of four (Holland, MI):

Hungry kids in a pinch? I’m all about the no hassle smorgasbord. This is predicated on maintaining a decently stocked pantry, but you can build up most of the not-so-perishable ingredients over a few grocery store trips.

Get a big platter, spread out the fresh veggies and hummus, add small bowls yogurt topped with sliced fruit and a healthy sprinkling of granola. Grab your brick cheese and/or salami and have the oldest kids slice it while the younger kids find the mustard, pickles and crackers. The summertime quick eat smorgasbord means sending the kids running out to the garden for fresh tomatoes, beans and whatever else is ripe to add to the dipping, crunching magic.

Randy, father of two (Omaha, NE):

Breakfast — scrambled eggs +  shredded cheddar + toast – it’s very easy to get the eggs going even though it seems daunting at first to whip out the frying pan
Lunch — Hummus + pita or tortilla – If I really want to get fancy, I chop some carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers and put them into the pita or tortilla
Dinner — Annie’s Mac n Cheese + steamed broccoli + cherry tomatoes – delicious and nutritious – broccoli can actually be steamed in about same time as it takes to prep the mac and cheese

Come to think of it, cherry tomatoes are a must for us – you can add them to any of the above meals.

Pat, father of two (Denver, CO):

Every week we get two meals from Plated, a home meal delivery service. What I love about Plated is that they almost always have one or two tasks designed for a young person, so while I’m doing something that is advanced, they could be stirring or banging on nuts or something simple to help out.

Brian, dad of two (Denver, CO):

Quesadillas – add black beans and chicken for protein
I cook rice and grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store – cheap, cooked, good protein
I always grill 2x on Sat or Sun so I have leftover protein to build a kid meal around for Monday night. Steak/chicken/pulled pork, plus just add a salad or fruit and I’m done in 5 min.

Mat, father of two (Oklahoma City, OK):

My less than nutritious go to in a pinch is Tortilla Pizzas. Spread tomato sauce with Italian seasoning on a tortilla, add pepperoni and cheese. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 and you have a perfect personal thin crust pizza in no time. Add bell peppers for some veggie and call it BellPepperoni Pizza.

The other easy guaranteed winner is “Trader Joe’s chicken” (that is what the 3.5 year old calls it). They sell a frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice.  . We always have a bag of each in the freezer and our kids would eat it any night of the week. Cooks side by side in 20 minutes.

Brandon, father of two (Denver, CO):

  1. Bagel, wrapped in paper towel in microwave for 20 seconds. Tastes like fresh made bread.
  2. Cinnamon toast – toasted bread, butter, premixed cinnamon sugar
  3. Panini – 1 tablespoon of butter in pan, 2 pieces of bread, lunch meat, slice of any kind of cheese. Brown bread with meat and cheese on top. Heat on med low with cover on until cheese melted. Cut in half.
  4. Quesadilla – small flour tortilla, Prego pizza sauce and shredded cheese of any kind. Nuke for 30 seconds and cut into pizza slices.
  5. Buttered pasta noodles.


Postscript: Need more straight talk from fellow dads? Hear 5 dads on playing princesses, changing diapers, and being married to a pregnant woman.

Subscribe here for our (approximately) every-other-weekly newsletter.

Photo by Jaco Pretorius on Unsplash