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Need help with menu- Vegan mom, picky dad...

So my folks are visiting this weekend. We'll go out to eat Saturday night but they arrive late Friday afternoon and I'll be cooking dinner for 5 (my folks, my hubby and I, and our 3 year old son). Here's the thing- my hubby and I will eat pretty much anything, and we can always nuke up some nuggets for our son. My father, however, is a fairly picky (unadventurous) eater- a meat and potatoes kind of guy. My mother has recently adopted a pretty vegan diet- occasionally she'll eat seafood or dairy but very rarely.

In the past (prior to this new diet) I've done make your own pizza, or make your own panini, or some sort of pasta dish but have no ideas for this weekend. Was considering pasta of some sort with grilled chicken or something on the side for the non-vegans to add but it just sounds kind of boring. We're celebrating Christmas early so I'd like it to be something more than pizza or sandwiches but at the same time I'm home with a 3 year old and can't spend the day cooking... Was really hoping to throw something in the crock pot but haven't found anything that seems right...

Thoughts and ideas?

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  1. The first two things that come to mind are spaghetti (meatballs on the side if necessary) and salad or soup w/ vegetable broth as the base. Or what about meatless chili--very filling, I presume you can make it in a crockpot, chili sauce isn't hard to make but if you make your own it's more special.

    1. I made this a few months ago when we had a very picky eater over for dinner (she only ate steak well done, skinless chicken breasts, etc).

      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      It was really good and we didn't miss the meat with the beans and the squash! We also had a salad. We used can beans to speed it up. If you get some nice pappardelle, it makes it fancier looking.

      1. How about a vegetarian cassoulet with a selection of sausages and roast chicken thighs on the side? It'll be plenty satisfying for her without being boring. And while beans may not be his ideal side dish, the flavors will be familiar for him. I'm sure the beans could be adapted for the crockpot and the meats can go in the oven 30 minutes before eating.

        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        1. Thanks guys! These are great suggestions and I'm definitely booking the butternut squash pasta dish for the future! I'm thinking of doing meatloaf with some sort of vegetarian cassoulet on the side for mom- can always throw a potato in the oven for dad if he won't eat the cassoulet...

          Thanks for the help! I used to really enjoy cooking for my family when they come but this new vegan/meat and potato combo just stresses me out!

          1. I watched Giada make Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree this afternoon. It looked terrific and has positive reviews.
            http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...