How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers (who don’t know how to cook)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information.

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers healthy Ragu recipe, simple and healthy, simple dinner ideas, healthy dinner options, quick and easy dinner ideas,

Okay, so you’re a single father. So am I, to a teenage girl and teenage boy.

There are many issues that come with being a single father looking after two kids; the stigma, the responsibility, the people that look at you when you’re out and about with your kids wondering where the mother is…

And it’s too easy to be a Macdonald’s Dad. You see them. Dads that don’t see their kids often, and don’t know what to do with them when they have them.

Being a single father is not necessarily being ‘a single father’. It’s just being a single parent. Whether you are a mother or a father doesn’t matter, and the traditional roles that each parent has is a fallacy. Here’s how it traditionally goes: men do the DIY, wash the car, and cut the grass, and women do the shopping, the cooking, and the ironing.

What a load of crap.

When you are a single parent, whether you’re a mother or a father, you have to do all of these things, and not have any sensitivity about what people think.

And this includes cooking.

Yes, I take my kids to Macdonald’s sometimes, but it’s like, twice a year. We also get takeaways about once a month, but these are treats: normally I cook simple and healthy meals for all of us, and this is one of them:

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers

I have two disclaimers here:

First, I am not a chef: I have never called myself one and don’t expect I ever will (and neither, I expect, will anybody else).

Secondly, I didn’t create this recipe. I took it from Davina’s 5 weeks to sugar-free cook book, and made some adjustments to it.

This is Davina’s recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil

500 g lean beef mince

500 g lean pork mince

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano or mixed dried herbs

1 bay leaf

200 ml red wine

500 – 800 ml beef stock

400 can of chopped tomatoes, pureed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Salt and black pepper

And here’s a picture from her book of what it’s meant to look like:

Davina McCall Five Weeks to Sugar Free - Ragu recipe

This is my recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil (I don’t measure olive oil into a tablespoon, I put it into the pan from the bottle and try and get roughly two tablespoons)

500 g lean beef mince

500 g lean pork mince (this isn’t included – see below)

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (for some reason, if I chop garlic with my bare hands, the acid within reacts with the tips of my fingers, and the skin starts to peel off (and it hurts), so I have to wear one of those blue latex gloves on my left hand, like they have in hospitals).

1 teaspoon dried oregano or mixed dried herbs (no mixed herbs, just oregano)

1 bay leaf (I don’t have these either – see below)

200 ml red wine (no chance – see below)

500 – 800 ml beef stock (I have this as roughly 500 ml, and use vegetable stock)

400 can of chopped tomatoes, pureed (pureed means squashed – I don’t do that – the chopped tomatoes go straight to the pan from the tin)

1 tablespoon tomato paste (again, I have a rough measurement. I have a squirty tube of tomato paste which goes straight to the pan from the tube)

Salt and black pepper

Also, there seems to be some green leaves on Davina’s picture. She doesn’t say what this is in the recipe book. They look like parsley leaves, but I am not one for this kind of garnish anyway – it would just get chucked away.

How to make Ragu

Cook the mince in the oil in a frying pan, then remove it and put it on a plate. Cook the onions until they’re soft, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then, add the oregano, salt and pepper, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and stock. Remember to add the meat back to the pan as well. Cover the pan on a low heat for 45 minutes. I don’t have a pan lid for my frying pan, so use a plate instead, like this:

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers frying pan lid, Meal planning for single dads, healthy meals for single parents, easy recipes for single dadsAfter 45 minutes, remove the cover (or plate) and cook on a low heat for another 30 minutes, then switch the heat off and leave it for about 15 minutes – this ‘solids’ it up.

While you’re waiting, you can cook the spaghetti. I normally have brown wheat spaghetti:

Put some salt and butter into a pan of water, and boil (the butter is to stop the pasta sticking together). When the water is boiling, place the spaghetti into the pan. Don’t worry about how the spaghetti doesn’t fit into the pan – once the bottom of the spaghetti softens, the rest of it goes into the water. After a couple of minutes (when the spaghetti is all in the water) stir it around a bit, lower the heat to a simmer, and leave it for about ten minutes, then drain it.

Altogether, it takes about two hours, but actual time doing stuff is about ten minutes – you just have to keep half an eye on it when you leave the Ragu to simmer.

And here’s a picture of what mine actually looks like:

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers ragu and spaghetti, , simple healthy dinner recipes, quick and healthy meals, fast healthy meals, being a single father, single parentIt’s not a bad effort, even if I say so myself, and I have no idea of the difference in taste between Davina’s and mine.

So why did I change it?

Is pork meat healthy?

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers pork chops, single dad, single father, being a single parent, single father parenting, single father support, single father help,

No, not really – it is fatty meat. If you want healthy meat you eat birds and fish, not pigs and cows.

And, we are not allowed to eat any pork in our house.

No, we are not Jewish, and no, we are not vegetarian. The simple reason is that my son likes pigs, and will not eat anything made from them. This means no bacon (unless it’s turkey), no sausage rolls, no pork pies, no sliced ham, no gammon… there is a long list available here, but it’s enough to say that our pork-free house does limit the amount of crap we eat, so actually helps with our healthy eating.

Additionally, in a two-week spell when I dabbled with vegetarianism, I cooked this meal using Quorn instead of mince. It tasted just the same (to me (and to the kids, who I hadn’t told I was using Quorn)). By the way, that dalliance with vegetarianism ended with a roast chicken dinner (also from Davina’s book) – when Quorn can make a roast chicken that looks and tastes like roast chicken, I’ll take notice again.

We also find that just 500 g of meat is quite enough between the three of us.

Bay leaf recipes

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers bay leaf, bay leaves, , single father support, single father help, single parent help, single parent households,

I never add a bay leaf.

Firstly, it doesn’t seem to me to add any flavour. The first few times I did this recipe, I added the bay leaf, and the only result from it was somebody would find it in their meal and have to put it to one side. This, in itself, is not a terrible thing, but the person that found it usually did so once they had put a mouthful of food into their mouth, and that’s when they found it, so had the pleasure of doing that thing where you put the bay leaf to the front of your mouth where your lips are, and pull it out with your fingers.

Not nice to have to do that.

Alcohol in food recipes

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers alcohol and children, alcohol bottles, how to make ragu, how to cook, don’t know how to cook

My kids don’t like alcohol, in any form.

When we are in the supermarket, they like using the self-service checkout. I like using it because sometimes I can’t be bothered to be social, and they like using it as an overspill from enjoying the bleeps when they were toddlers (and it made them feel useful, I think). So, at the self-service checkout, if there is any alcohol to be ‘bleeped’ they won’t even pick it up and scan it. That’s how much they don’t like alcohol. They’ve told me they’re never going to drink any – I am awaiting developments on that particular claim.

(That ‘bleep’ I used looks like swearing – it wasn’t – it’s the noise the scanner makes, unless we get an ‘item not recognised’ warning, then it’s ‘bleep’ in the usual sense, sometimes with the word ‘sake’ on the end (whispered to myself, though)),

What this waffling on means is that I can’t use any alcohol in any food I ever cook. I have explained to them that any alcohol is burned away during cooking but no, they’re not having it.

How to make a simple and healthy Ragu for single fathers

As simple as that, really.

The meal has about 700 calories each, and costs about £5 in total, depending on where you get your food from. We don’t eat it all either, so that’s normally another meal for me the next day.

Also, the kids love it, and ask for it every week.

Catch you next time for another recipe that’s cheap and easy for single dads to make.

Thank you for sharing:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *