Dinners for Picky Eaters...
Hey everyone, so I cook for my family, and they have a rather specific set of preferences when it comes to food. I'm looking for your tastiest recipes that conform to these specifications (mostly dinner recipes but others are good as well):
There must be a significant meat component to each dish (Eg. Pasta must have a meat sauce, or have chicken in it, Soup must have meat or be served with meat, etc.)
The only meats/fish that they will eat are:
-Boneless Skinless Chicken/Turkey Breast
-Lean Beef (Steak, Extra Lean Ground Beef, Lean-ish Stewing Beef, etc.)
-Bacon, Paccetta, Pocciutto
-**Salmon and Shrimp are also ok, but they aren't enthusiastic about them.
-Nothing too spicy. (Subtle heat only).
-No Cilantro, No Dill
-No Dijon Mustard (Yellow Mustard is ok.)
-No Goat, Bleu, or Brie Cheeses
-No Onion that isn't thoroughly cooked. (Caramelized and In Sauces are ok.)
-No Bok Choi
-Only minimal red pepper (Family likes the flavor but someone has an intolerance)
-No Seaweed/Sea Vegetables
-No Kale, Chard, or Collards
-No whole Beans (pureed or mashed into a paste is ok.)
-No Sweet Potato/yam
Thanks in Advance!
Duck, seems to me you have described a fairly mainstream US family. Until the last few years just about nobody in this country had ever heard of cilantro, Brie, seaweed, bok choi, or goat cheese. Your folks are accepting chicken, beef, pork, and bacon. They've nixxed a few vegetables but apparently they eat green beans, peas, corn, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, squash, turnips? They eat white potatoes, rice, pasta, stuffing, polenta? Salads? Breads? Eggs? Desserts? Fruits? Cheese? You have the whole horizon to work with. Why agonize over the absence of anchovies? PS I am wondering if you are vegetarian and possibly are uncomfortable following the preferences of your family.
Full disclosure: I'm not Vegetarian, the reason I have so much trouble with this is that I'm very much a foodie. I still live at home and cook household meals on a regular basis, and I get bored with the relatively limited things that my family will eat.
I'm trying to work on expanding their palates, but it's slow going so far.
You need to develop 20 "go to" dishes then you can expand from there. Once you get a comfortable repertoire, you need to consider pushing them to expand their horizons a bit. The cook can influence this with the ole "You will, at least, try it, now. " You see if mama ain't happy...ain't nobody happy.
Here are some suggestions for those 20 dishes.
a hamburger and rice casserole
Lasagna- I like the skillet version because it is quick
Shepherd's pie probably with hamburger
a chicken casserole
Chicken marsala - trust me, they will love it use peas and carrots in place of the mushrooms
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
breaded fried pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy
Oven bbqed pork tenderloins with some kind of rice dish.
Some rice pilafs with sausage and whatever veggies they will eat
Pot roast with root veggies
a few stirfrys
You can look up a lot of pastas with chunks of white meat chicken in it.
re: Hank Hanover
Thank you for the suggestions, I particularly like the Shepard's Pie idea since I've never tried it before, will try it soon hopefully!
I should also mention though that anything using bread and meat together in a mince (eg. Meatloaf, Meatballs, etc.) is a no go as well. As are the pork chops (they are not tenderloin).
Are these solely taste preferences or allergy-based? If you cook (saute) down a couple of anchovies, for example, the uber-salty taste that many fear disappears, leaving only a hint of salt and savory.
But if you want to conform to your list, you can simply do substitutions. The good side is that they *will* eat a lot of things. But even among the outlawed items, you can try subs. If yellow mustard is too harsh for your dish, would they do a honey mustard? If they will not eat a healthy vinagrette made with vinegar, will they tolerate a spritz of lemon for the acid balance? If not sweet potatoes, is acorn or butternut squash okay?
I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas, like stir fry and pasta ideas, but one thing that comes to mind is that I like to make chicken meatballs, which then go with almost any sauce. If you are tailoring them to a particular sauce, you can flavor them accordingly (like Italian seasoning, or curry, etc). But you can also make a double batch and then freeze them in portions for quick cooking later. I like to make them mini meatballs for flexibility.