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help! dinner ideas for picky eaters please!

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my husband and daughter eat pretty much everything. i do not eat meat or chicken but do eat fish. my son eats the usual kid stuff (chicken, pasta, etc). i inevitably end up making at least 2 different dinners. i cannot come up with anything except pasta with tomato sauce that we will all eat. any suggestions will be appreciated. thanks!

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  1. We have different preferences in my family, too. Generally, I make a protein, starch and vegetable. People can have what they want of what I've prepared or go without. It's easier than making one big dish with everything in it. I won't make separate meals.

    1. How about fajitas? Lay out warmed tortillas, sauteed shrimp, sliced grilled chicken or beef, peppers and onions, cheese, salsa, guacamole, etc. Everyone can have their own preferences, and the little one will probably like the hands-on experience.

      1. Growing up, us kids had to eat whatever my mom made. Like Chowser, it was usually a protein, starch, vegetable and a salad. Since your husband and daughter will eat pretty much anything, (and son should also), I would suggest making 2 proteins and then everything else can be eaten by everyone. For instance, if you're making meatloaf, then make 1 for your family, and then you can make a salmon loaf for yourself. As for the pasta, since you already have the sauce, why not divide it and then add the diff. proteins for your family and then yourself? Since you like fish, there's is a lot you can add -- clams, cod, shrimp, mussels, etc. Same w/stir fry, etc.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lilyalli

          How about mini pizzas? Everyone can top them with what they see fit. Or salads that everyone can top with what they want. I won't make separate meals either, so if anyone doesn't want to eat what the family is having, they are welcome to make anything they want for themselves, as long as dishes aren't dirtied in the process. Usually, this means a sandwich.

          1. Our latest go-to meal is baked fish (tilapia, sole, flounder) -- and we've been surprised how much our kids (ages 9 and 6) have taken to it. It's the rare thing our daughter will ask for seconds of!

            It's simple -- lightly butter or oil a casserole, lay fish fillets in (overlapping only where there are thin edges to make a more even thickness), drizzle with lemon juice (to taste) and season with S&P. Cover with lightly buttered or oiled panko crumbs and bake until fish is cooked and crumbs brown. My husband prefers to add dry panko and drizzle melted butter on top.

            You can add enough crumbs to make it a bit crunchy -- which usually appeals to kids.

            Don't be afraid to gently stretch your son's taste -- lead in with something not too different to encourage him to taste new things. We make one meal -- although we sometimes separate the kids proteins or veggies before we add sauces or spices for ours.

            1. how about fish and chips with a nice cabbage slaw? i've found that most kids will eat anything if it's been battered and fried/baked...

              or baked potatoes w/ assorted toppings? they can load them up with cheese, bacon, green onions and you could add a nice creamy shrimp sauce to yours?

              pasta is good too. make a big bowl of pasta w/ sauce and grill some sausages, shrimp, and meatballs on the side and each family member can add their own protein.

              a tofu vegetable stir-fry w/ rice can be kid-friendly if you fry the tofu first.

              1. Paella is another dish that can be custom tailored but has plenty of chicken and sausage for your husband and the kids and shrimp for yourself.

                1. This sounds very much like our family lately. It is very frustrating and I sympathize with you. Husband is big meat & potatoes guy & won't eat fish or seafood, older DD at college is kosher and vegetarian, younger DD at home has stopped eating red meat and I am trying to do South Beach diet and cutting back on red meat to 1X week. LOL! Here is our recent game plan - husband makes his own red meat, I have been making a lot of chicken and fish/seafood for younger daughter and me. Not much pasta going on. Have been preparing big roast chickens that can serve multiple meals, poaching fish that can also serve hot & cold meals, big pots of veggies that can also serve double duty. You need a good menu planner and patience. Good Luck!