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Dads Cook: An Easy Dinner to Impress Your Kids!

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Whether you love cooking, or you dread having to rustle up something to feed the kids. All of us need a few meals in our back pocket to keep the kid’s tummy’s full when we’re in a rush. We’re teaming up with Dan from @Danshomedeli to create a series of “Dads Cook” posts with dinner ideas, and recipes for keeping the family fed!

A Quick Dinner They’ll Love

So it’s dad’s turn to cook. Maybe you’ve just got in the house with kids who are hungry and grumpy? Maybe you want a quick and filling lunch to keep those little people happy? This pesto and pasta is one of the quickest, and easiest, things for dads to cook to keep those children happy!

Pesto is a little higher in calories than some other sauces. But it is packed with healthy ingredients like basil, olive oil and nuts. Add in some good veggies and you can make a tasty healthy meal in just 10 minutes. So what’s not to love?!

At the Deli we sell 11 different flavours of pesto. From a simple basil right through to a decadent truffle and artichoke. So we have a pesto for all occasions. Not only is a pesto sauce suitable for a big pot of pasta, it’s versatile. You could fold it through some potatoes to make a lovely potato salad. Or mix it with some good quality olive oil and a dash of sherry vinegar and make it into a salad dressing. So having a jar or two of these pesto’s in your store cupboard will be a great help when you are in a rush to feed the kids.

Most people have a pack of pasta knocking around and with a jar of basil, or pea and mint pesto dinner is sorted in no time. If you have some vegetables in the fridge, or freezer, such as peas or broccoli you can add that too. Just whip up the pasta, add the veggies, pop it in some bowls and “hey pesto” – dinner is ready!

Ok Dads – Let’s cook!

So how do we go about it?

Let’s keep it simple. Next time you’re in the supermarket add a jar of basil pesto to the trolley. Keep it in the cupboard with some pasta and you’re always ready for a quick dinner.

All you’ll need is:

  • Your Pasta of choice. I like rigatoni, or linguine. But a penne or fusilli is easier for younger kids to pick up with their fingers.
  • 1 jar of basil pesto.
  • Any veggies you want to use up, or that the kids like.
  • Grated parmesan cheese (this is optional!).

Step One – Cook The Pasta and Veggies

Cook the pasta!

500g of pasta will be enough to feed 2 adults, and 2 children. If you’re making this just for the kids just use 200-250g depending on how much they eat!

Boil some water in a pan, with a good pinch of salt. When it’s boiling, add the pasta to the water and leave it to boil. The packet will have instructions for timings, but I like to cook it for one minute less than it says. That ensures the pasta is aldente and keeps a nice bite. When the pasta is cooked drain out about 200ml of the water into a jug. Then drain the rest of the water off in a colander over the sink.

If you’re adding veggies you’ll want to cook them at the same time as the pasta. If you’re adding peas, just chuck them into the same pot as the pasta to cook and drain them off together.

Or you could steam some broccoli – another easy veg for little ones to pick up with their fingers. Or cook off some courgette, or peppers. Whatever your kids like – this dish is so versatile it goes with almost everything!

Step Two – Back in the Pan

Turn the heat right down on the hob, and add your pasta back to the pan and add in the pesto.

If cooking for the whole family, add the whole jar of pesto (165g). If you’re cooking just for the kids use half a jar. Add the pesto to the cooked drained pasta and stir it in.

Now the sauce will seem very dry so this is where you add some pasta water. Stir in a couple of table spoons of water at a time. This will loosen up the sauce and it will become more creamy. Add more water if it still looks dry – you’ll know when it’s ready as it will coat the pasta and look silky.

Step Three – Serve it Up!

Put it into warm bowls and add some grated parmesan to the top (if you’re using it!) and that’s it… you’re done!

Adapt it for Date Night…

It can also be a great date night meal if you’re looking to impress your better half. Try cooking up some pasta, adding in the rose harissa pesto. Fry off some yummy prawns and you have a lovely spicy prawn pasta. With nice glass of white wine and a movie date night is sorted! Or try a jar of our truffle and artichoke pesto. Add some sautéed wild mushrooms and a pack of gnocchi – your other half will love it!

Don’t forget to let us know how you got on! Show us your creations by uploading a picture to Instagram, remember to tag @Dadvengers and @danshomedeli.

And keep an eye on dadvengers.com to see more great recipes in our dads cook series coming soon!

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Dan has been a chef for 20 years and has worked in some great places! He is also owner of Dan's Home Deli, and a dad.
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