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What to serve to three very different diners

I want to have my two girlfriends over for dinner but am at a loss as to what to make.

I don't eat meat or shell fish but I do eat fish. One friend is doing the low-carb diet so won't eat breads, pasta, potatoes etc. My other friend is the picky eater, basically meat and potatoes, pasta and salad as pretty much her only vegetable and she doesn't eat any fish at all.

What on earth could I make that would satisfy everyone?

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  1. Quiche and a salad might do the trick. You'll have to check with the picky eater friend to see which veggies might be acceptable in a quiche. Sometimes veggie haters are ok when they are part of a cheesy concoction. The low carber can just refrain from eating the crust. Or do a crustless quiche.

    1. You could make basic, but very nice salads, and provide protein and carb choices to suit different preferences. A low carb eater should be pretty easy, unless she herself is picky, because unless the meal is centered around a carb (pasta, potato, rice) all she has to do is take more veggies. I think dessert might be really hard though.

      You could also do a chicken soup with no noodles, in addition to the salad.

      Different low carb eaters allow different things in their eating plans, so I'd run the menu by her first. If the picky eater is really demanding, you could run the menu by her as well. One possibility might be cream of tomato soup or a pesto tomato soup, for instance. Some low carb eaters can't eat much tomato; others might be able to.

      1. I'm with sueatmo about providing a protein, a carb and a salad and everyone can pick and choose. I'd probably go w/ something like salmon, if you can get a decent one this time of year, and a heartier salad w/ some larger chunks of roasted vegetables (so they can be picked out easily by picky friend) and a pasta that can pass for a main course. Rolls or bread on the side.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Yes, but it's the protein that's the problem. My one friend doesn't eat fish and I don't eat meat. I think I'm just going to have to cook some kind of meat just for them. It's too complicated.

          1. re: Jpan99

            The friend who doesn't eat fish can eat pasta (if it's hearty) and salad. If you want, make a meat sauce for the pasta but serve it on the side. Oh, and make spaghetti squash so your low carb friend can have meat sauce on spaghetti squash. If you make a regular tomato sauce, you're all set, too.

        2. I like the salmon idea. You could do it ahead and serve at room temp. Maybe a veggie lasagna or ravioli dish and a Chinese chicken salad. All can be done in advance.

          1. I assume Meat Girl eats chicken, turkey and cheese on occasion.
            You must get protein from some source, I would assume lentils, tofu, eggs. No-Carb Girl has probably tried a lot of the same.

            Do a salad bar/appetizers/grazing type meal. Fancy lettuces, roasted veggies, cooked lentils, tofu however you prepare (and like) it, cut into cubes-so they can try. (note that low fat salad dressing has carbs/sugar in it to give it flavor; get some real dressing).

            Get a roasted chicken. (Get 1/2 lb of good roast beef lunchmeat from the deli counter if Meat Girl only eats meat; Protein Girl will help her finish it). Get sliced cheeses. Olives. Nuts.

            Get fancy crackers or multi seeded/whole grain bread (Protein Girl can have a slice) you can make open face sandwiches or it goes with the salad.

            Make a Mozarella Caprizzi salad. At least two of you will eat it. Maybe Meat Girl can try a bite.

            Have a bit of something for everyone and if there are leftovers, the only things you won't eat would be the chicken and/or roast beef.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cathy

              Now I'm going to want to call them Meat Girl and Protein Girl all night long!

            2. Here is a link to Ina Garten's Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad. You can buy a rotisserie chicken and add the sliced white meat along with the fish to offer two choices of protein if you like. And, you can also add some roasted asparagus to include more veggies. But, this type of salad should solve your problem.


              1. How about a taco salad bar. I serve a taco salad with toppings on side for guests to add as they please, grilled chicken and or fish marinated in lime juice and cayenne pepper, taco meat, tomatoes, green onion, olives, cheese, black beans, avocado, ranch or vinaigrette dressing, limes(to squeeze over salad), fritos/tortilla chips. Everyone could pick what they like without being a 'difficult guest.' Add some margaritas.

                1. for pasta, you could serve spaghetti squash (and if meat girl won't eat it, pasta for her), and do a pesto or cheesier sauce with garlic and acceptable veggies (and/or some TVP crumbles if you go a red sauce route).

                  baked, scooped, stuffed and baked again potato skins with varying stuffings

                  do you know for certain meat girl doesn't like crab cakes? you could do these low carb easily.

                  eggplant parmesan (if protein girl can have tomato) and crust hers with TVP or a dash of soy flour or if you're not averse crushed pork rinds (i know i know, trust me i know).

                  second the quiche rec, though frittata might be good for protein girl. or just do mini quiches and hers crustless.

                  the taco bar was another great suggestion -- same could be done with tostadas.

                  one other more hearty idea would be chili with TVP instead of meat and no beans. just extra low-starch veggies like zucchini and cauliflower, etc.

                  finally, wok/stirfry?

                  good luck... this is not an easy combo to say the least!