Kitchen Basics for Dads – Cooking 101

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Kitchen Basics for Dads – Cooking 101

How does someone who could only cook three dishes release a cook book? Easy.

You get a few basics under your belt, set aside the rule book, take a few gambles in the kitchen, refine each dish with a family of outspoken foodies, and you soon get the hang of this cooking thing.

Here’s a secret – growing up, I could only cook pasta bake and chicken with rice.

I graduated to kangaroo mince with almonds and brown rice when I competed (that recipe is NOT in the
book!), but to be honest, time in the kitchen meant time away from the gym so it was not a
priority. My meals were quick, easy and repetitive.

But becoming a dad pushes you outside your comfort zone . . . and in my case, into the kitchen.
Cooking healthy food is a gift you can give your family every day. So I committed, with the same focus I had applied to my career, my training and my business.
My early cooking adventures were not always successful. There were burned pans, ‘interesting’ flavour combinations, and flat-out fails.
But along the way, I created some absolute winners – enough to fill a whole cook book.
Here’s how you can too.


1. Learn three recipes well.
Lasagne, spaghetti, tacos, roast dinner – all of these are simple once you get the
hang of them, and you can cook in bulk to make the most of your time in the
kitchen. Then – here’s the hack – swap out ingredients to broaden your repertoire.
Try Mexican flavouring in your lasagne or swap the pasta sheets for eggplant or
zucchini strips. Add lentils to your spaghetti mince and serve it in jacket potatoes.
Make a shepherd’s pie with shredded roast lamb topped with sweet potato mash. All
of a sudden, you’ve turned three recipes into endless options.

2. Take dishes your kids love and give them a healthy twist.
Chicken nuggets and fries their favourite? Create your own, with quinoa-crusted
chicken breast cut into small portions, served with oven baked potato wedges. If
pizza is their thing, add their favourite toppings to a wholemeal pita bread, sprinkle
with cheese and Italian herbs and you’ll have dinner on the table faster than
UberEATS could deliver.

3. Don’t take it personally.
Sometimes, kids just won’t eat. Don’t take it to heart, don’t make a big deal of it, but
don’t offer them anything else. Kids need to try new flavours multiple times before
they get the taste for it. Keep trying, keep it fun and keep cooking.

4. Smoothies are gold when you need to get out the door fast.
I make a smoothie with oats, fruit and protein powder every day – simple to prepare,
hits my macros, travels well, can be customised to your kids’ tastebuds, and the
washing up is a breeze.

5. Learn to properly sharpen your knives.
You’re only as good as your tools and a blunt knife slows you down and puts you at
greater risk of injury.

6. If all else fails, eggs on toast make a great any-time meal and kids tend to love them
(googy eggs and soldiers, omelettes, scrambled eggs – whatever yours prefer).
There’s even a section in my book on making the perfect boiled egg.

This weekend, set some time aside to learn some kitchen basics and get cooking.
Comment below to tell me how you go!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Joslyne Isaac

    Hi Nathan,
    Looking forward for your book launch in August. Fast food for fit dad’s. Congratulations!!
    Can we prepurchase this book?

    • Nathan Wallace

      Thanks Joslyne. Pre-sale goes live Thursday, July 5 @ 7am.

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