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Non-casserole entree liked by adults and kids

  • k

Hello, 'hounds!

I'd like to make an entree for three adults and two 10-year-old kids. The children are in a "no-casserole" phase now, which I gather means anything in a baking dish served in squares. The adults are all foodies; the kids were too, once upon a time. Now they prefer KFC and McD to just about anything. (Oh, for the days when they knocked back smoked salmon with abandon...)

I'm an adventurous cook, although my skills aren't quite as advanced as I'd like. Ideas, please, from any and all of you lovely people. Thank you!

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  1. Hmm, off the top of my head, here are some kid and adult-pleasers:

    -pasta bolognese or alfredo
    -tacos (either Mexican or Tex-Mex, variety of fillings and garnishes, different tortillas)
    -fried chicken cutlets
    -meatballs or meatloaf
    -chicken caesar salad
    -seared sesame-crusted tuna over mixed greens
    -minestrone soup or pasta e fagiole, garlic bread

    Can you tell us more about who you're cooking for and their likes/dislikes, any other constraints (needs to be prepared ahead, vegetarian, hate spicy food, etc.)?

    1. What kind of dish are you looking for? Beef, chicken, ethnic, any food restrictions. Just need a little guidance before bombarding you with ideas. ;)

      1. Roast chicken with mashed potatoes. I've never seen a kid turn it down, and non-vegetarian adults love it too!

        1 Reply
        1. re: tzurriz

          this was going to be my suggestion.

          or the roast turkey breast / mashed potatoes/stuffing /gravy, thing always did well for me and mine, (and sandwiches later to boot)

            1. Thanks for the wonderful ideas! More, please!

              I thought about including more details, but there really aren't many that would narrow the field. The dish doesn't need to be prepared ahead; everyone is an omnivore; spicy's out for the children; any type of cuisine is welcome.

              You're great, Chowpeople!

              1 Reply
              1. re: kauma

                What about chicken marsala over spaghetti?

              2. If stew isn't off the table, African Chicken Peanut stew (reduce the cayenne) goes over big with kids- it's peanut butter stew! Plus you can sneak a lot of veg's into it, I like to add chopped kale.
                I second the taco suggestion, since if the kids are really picky about being able to identify everything they are eating, they are a good option (plus adults can have more adventerous options for their fillings/condiments).

                1. Chicken Marsala is my grand daughters favorite.
                  BBqed pork tenderloins
                  Pulled pork
                  Sweet and sour pork
                  Lo mein
                  Stir fry's
                  a smoked meatloaf might be different.
                  Salmon filets

                  1. Indonesian Ginger Chicken, served with rice and a salad or vegetable. I like to make this cucumber salad.



                    Alton Brown's 40 Cloves and a Chicken


                    1. Grilled meats and veggies. This is my go-to, "just invited the neighbors over" meal. Throw a marinated flank steak, sausages, chicken breasts (whatever, really) on the grill, along with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced zucchini, all in a grill basket. Serve with good sourdough or a pasta salad.

                      Kids and adults all enjoy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tcamp

                        This is us too. We grill year round. Grilled steak, grilled fish, and less frequently, grilled chicken are staples in my house that contains a 9 and turning 11 this week y.o. A roast chicken is also a great suggestion for having friends over. Kids are also less likely to fuss over basic steamed veggies - if you want to sauce them, offer it on the side, because you just never know. For a lot of kids, the casserole thing is about sauce and the foods all touching, so whatever you choose, avoid those qualities.

                        Another great option for entertaining friends with kids is the "make your own pizza" night, if you are so bold, have a space to spread out, and don't mind a little mess. Buy or make the dough ahead of time and offer up all sorts of toppings. Even if the kids only choose sauce and mozzarella, they are thrilled to assemble their own.

                      2. Thanks to everyone! I think I'll go with the taco party idea; it's the most well-suited to this crowd at the moment.

                        Your ideas are great, and I'll keep all of them in mind...