It's Mother's Day this weekend, which usually means one thing. Dad is In Charge. Millions of dads across the country will be breaking into a light sweat at the thought of 8 hours entertaining and arguing over snacks and meal times. Who wants what? Who refuses what cup? Who has a tantrum at the sight of a cherry tomato? etc. Mothering Sunday is traditionally a good day at the till for the McDonalds Drive Thru... but it doesn't have to be this way. Dads, you can eat proper, tasty food and all sit at the table with your children without having a nervous breakdown. Read on...
1 Yummy-fall-apart Oxtail curry
This is a slow cook meal so the fam can do the chopping up and prep in the morning before they go out. Most kids love to get an apron on - and will need little encouragement. Dad, you be head chef and make the kids your sous chefs. The curry cooks for about four hours and when it's ready it's so tender, easy to eat for the kids and a lovely tasty meaty and veggie flavour that's not too rich. Nutrition wise you score extra points too, because using the oxtail of the animal i.e. the cheaper cut of meat, you get different nutrients. Serve it with extra veggies to boost even more nutrients. Lovely.
2 Micah's Favourite Chicken Wings
Silence falls at the dinner table when this family favourite comes out in the Benson house! The sugar, soy, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup all make for a sticky, sweet amazing sauce that the kids adore. And because it's easy finger food its great for little ones as well as slightly older ones. Even my eight month old is fine with this - and behaves and enjoys the mealtime more because she is 'so grown up, feeding herself'. Baking the chicken wings makes this a healthier option too.
3 8-Minute Surf and Turf Fried Rice
So if you're a dad who decided that 'get them out for the day' was the best option but you've arrived home and the hungry hoards need a quick tea, this is for you. This brilliantly balanced dish - protein, veggies, carb and light as a feather - hits all the spot on cholesterol (which babies need) and heart healthy omega 3 fats. Plus it really is eight minutes from start to finish.
4 Chicken stew
The sweet pepper, ginger and nutmeg in this gives it a lovely honeyed flavour that goes down well with the kids, yet dads only have to add a scotch bonnet pepper so that it packs a more satisfying punch for them too. I use chicken thighs, which are much higher in iron and other nutrients than chicken breasts, plus they are tastier. For younger children you can dice the chicken and discard the bones. Easy peasy.
5 Pasta with marinara sauce
This is a brilliant base pasta sauce that takes just 20 minutes to make from scratch. It's a strong source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, as well as vitamins C and A and zinc, so extra brownie points with the missus. Just mix with pasta and add bacon, a pile of grated cheese, an egg - anything the kids want. Put the toppings in little bowls so they can help themselves, call it 'tapas' and you'll find engaged, involved children eating more because they chose it themselves.
Amaka Benson is the author of Micah's Meals. Published by Matador and available to buy now at www.micahsmeals.com RRP £19.99