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Recipe ideas for picky husband?

I am running out of ideas. My creativity runs short in the kitchen when my options are limited. I am wondering if anyone can share some recipes with me that may help broaden my short list of meals to make for him. He is not a fan of seafood, vegetables (he will eat carrots but only steamed) and he won't touch anything with veggies mixed in, no beans, rice, he generally doesn't like sauce on things. I mean I make pizza, turkey burgers, spaghetti, buffalo chicken, things like that. I am just running out of ideas. He's just so particular about what he likes lol. I just feel bad because it's just a bit repetitive. He likes boxed foods like macaroni and cheese and pasta sides, etc. I hate that stuff. I don't even like buying it. It's terrible for you. I try to make that stuff from scratch. But even if just a few recipes, it would be helpful! Thanks for the help!!

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  1. I would look at copycat recipes. There is a ton on the internet. Use quality ingredients. Simple tastes, but full flavor dishes. There are copycat recipes for Applebee's, Tony Roma's, claim jumper, Panera, macaroni grill, Olive Garden, etc. appeals to the mass taste, you can still cook and use healthier ingredients, win win.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      I guess I thought of this but never really went with it!! Now that you mentioned it I will be looking some up!!! Thanks!

      1. re: Sdgirl619

        There is nothing wrong with simple comfort type foods. They are not adventurous, but timing is everything! Lol. They are still tasty dishes. Gradually introduce new flavors.if he likes a copycat recipe of a PF Chang orange chicken dish, serve it with a side of rice with an interesting dipping sauce. with my kids, I offered something familiar, with something unfamiliar, and they decided if they liked it or not and I could build from there.
        Good luck! Cooking for family is only fun if your audience likes it!

      2. re: sedimental

        The recipe for Panera Mac n Cheese on their site is TDF

      3. Every so often, maybe about twice a week, make something you like, and if he doesn't want to eat it, he doesn't have to. Your taste counts too.

        I think you are coddling him too much.

        I believe that really picky eaters are often people who don't enjoy eating, or people who learned they have power over parents by not eating. His pickiness is unreasonable, and a burden for others.

        13 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo

          I think that's a little negative but I appreciate your opinion! I don't just "bow down" to him and make only what he likes. There are often times he eats from a box while I make myself what I like. I just am looking for fresh ideas and takes from people who may experience the same issues. However, in stating I appreciate your opinion, I do not appreciate you assuming I am just dropping everything and catering to his every taste bud need or want. Thank you for your reply.

          1. re: Sdgirl619

            I apologize for my negativity. I feel for you having this issue, and I've gone through a little of it myself early in my marriage.

            I do think that overly picky people burden others with their likes and dislikes, but I appreciate how kind you are to want to cook for your husband. I do not think you are "bowing down" or anything like.

            The only other thing I can think of for you, is to imagine that hubby has a limited diet due to food intolerances, and change recipes to fit his likes. Those of us on limited carb diets, for instance, often change out ingredients within recipes.

            1. re: sueatmo

              It's fine! Like I said negative or not, I appreciate all opinions! I can see how it seems like a burden but it is only us two and I do not work right now so it's not really all that big of a deal to cook a couple things or if he eats burgers, I'll have one but skip the bread and eat it with a huge salad. I just want to broaden my cooking with him, I know he gets bored sometimes and I don't think he could cook to save his life (unless it involved a box or something frozen lol!) I do love him and he does a lot for me so I figure the least I can do is have a nice, hot meal for him after a long day of work! I'm sure he would try to do the same for me.

              1. re: Sdgirl619

                You have mentioned here your own potential solution.

                Parents of picky children are often told to involve the child in choosing and cooking food.

                Introduce the idea of planning, shopping for, and cooking one meal together each weekend.

                Does he live in a cave, or has he heard a few things about health and diet? Not to sound to snide, but he is old enough to be married and hold a job, it's sort of silly to be stubborn about food in this way.

                Also, if you are planning to have children, to you want him to influence their food decisions? This could become a problem. Raising a child to be nutritionally crippled is a terrible thing.

                1. re: sandylc

                  I'm sure he knows deep down his diet isn't the best but I'm also not his mother and I am not here to scold him and tell him how unhealthy his habits are especially with such a stressful job. The last thing he needs is his wife nagging him about his shitty (excuse my language lol!) diet. So I figure if I can do what I can to help, since I am the cook in the house, that I will try to "healthy" up his favorite meals. I agree about nutrition with children but that is down the line. I don't want to stress him about something that isn't going to happen for at least a few years when he has a LOT more to worry about. I really appreciate your comments though! It is silly to be THAT stubborn with food but he is not the first person I have encountered to be this picky. This really just stems from his childhood (not making excuses for him) and I am not going to force things on him that he does not enjoy. Like I said, I can do what I can here at home by making his meals healthier.

                  1. re: Sdgirl619

                    "Healthing up" the meals and making lots of homemade vs. boxed or processed meals is definitely a good thing. And things can't be changed overnight, of course. So baby steps.

                    I do like the idea of having him be involved in shopping with you. Have him pick out one thing to try - even if it's one new thing a month. You can try cooking it different ways to see if there's something that clicks.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Yes, love that idea also. We always do the shopping together but I always make sure I have a list and I know what I am cooking for the week/two weeks. Someone mentioned chicken sausage, which I love, I may have to try that!

                    2. re: Sdgirl619

                      I'd worry less about his encouraging your hypothetical children to emulate his poor diet than about his not being alive long enough to raise them to adulthood! It's a lot harder to treat diabetes, osteoarthritis, and heart disease than to forestall or prevent them entirely by healthy living habits.

                      If he's not willing to change, invest in good life insurance and educational savings accounts once the children come along.

                      When you food shop, make a rule that any impulse purchases must come from the perimeter sections of the supermarket rather than the center aisles where the highly-processed items lurk.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        but in that case the perimeter/center rule needs to extend to anything within 3 meters of the checkout line.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          DAMN! I posted about getting extra life insurance BEFORE I read your post. LOL
                          Just heard about a local man of thirty with a wife and two kids. He died of a heart attack while pushing a grocery cart full of crap food items towards the check-out line.
                          (I think I'll give the frozen chinese food aisle a pass today.)

                      2. re: sandylc

                        I found this funny because my husband is extremely picky he will not eat anything that has to do with onions or rice and no fruits and veggies no seafood exc. However we have a 3 year olx son who will gladly throw candy down for a salad just because a parent is picky it says nothing about the child as long as you introduce the food tothem.. everyones ignorance on people being problems because they dont like sometbing im sure you have things about you people dont like so get over it

                        1. re: sandylc

                          I am doing remedial work of this nature with my husband, who was raised by his picky fast-food-eating parents to be "nutritionally crippled" (this phrase is so apt). I honestly don't know how he grew so tall on a steady diet of McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

                          It does help when he shops with me and expresses interest in trying a new recipe. He has very gradually expanded his diet to include more veggies, more kinds of meat, more kinds of grains, more kinds of pasta - but it took years, no, DECADES. Meanwhile, I cook what I know is tasty AND healthy. I grew up in a meat + 2 veg + salad household, everything cooked fresh, and I simply refuse to settle.

                  2. re: sueatmo

                    I agree.

                    As the family cook I do compromise a bit as there are a few things my husband and boys don't care for so I don't go out of my way to make them often. But their dislikes are nowhere nearly as demanding and restrictive as the OP's husband. If I were the OP, I'd be saying, "darling, I love you very much but here's a cookbook. Learn to cook your own meals if you won't eat mine." He really is taking all the fun out of cooking by being so restrictive.

                  3. Three of the four meals you mentioned have sauce in them, pizza, buffalo chicken and spaghetti.

                    If he eats red sauce, will he eat chicken parm? Or you could do a plain breaded chicken cutlet.

                    These are all simple flavors for picky eaters:
                    Hot dogs and beans
                    Turkey breast
                    Roast chicken
                    Roast beef
                    Salisbury steak
                    Pot Roast/Stew
                    Pork chops
                    Pork loin

                    Soups? Does he eat soup?

                    Does he like salad at all? Even people that don't really like vegetables might eat salad. If you make a Chicken Caesar salad that might convince him.

                    Sandwiches? Meatball sub, chicken salad, egg salad, BLT, turkey club, cold cuts, French Dip.

                    People that say they hate vegetables sometimes eat potatoes, corn, onions, does he?

                    What does he eat on Thanksgiving?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                      Nope. No soup or salad. I didn't think to try something with a Caesar salad though. I am going to try that. He's iffy on sandwiches. I do make him homemade bread. I'm sure if I made him one he would eat it. I'm just not too sure how much he would enjoy it lol! Oh thanksgiving. Turkey and potatoes mostly. I made au gratin potatoes so he ate those.

                        1. re: Sdgirl619

                          I grew up eating mostly meat and white food. A little lettuce or raw carrot sometimes. I found out when I left home that my mother was not the great cook that she professed to be, and that vegetables were really delicious when prepared well.

                          Could be part of his issue - suggest that he revisit the situation and participate in solving it with you.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            I suspect this is part of the problem. When I met my husband 15 years ago he ate almost no vegetables or fruit, had an abysmal diet of mostly prepared and unhealthy fast foods. Remarkable change has happened, but it took time. His exposure to healthy foods and properly prepared vegetables was (ahem) very limited growing up so he thought he hated things that he had just never experienced in their best form. I introduced him to things little by little encouraging him to try a few bites of roasted asparagus along with the steak that i know he likes, etc. I wasn't a dictator about it but i made clear i wasn't going to allow him to influence our kids' eating habits negatively (this was years before we had kids, by the way). now some of his favorite veggies are -- steamed broccoli, roasted or mashed cauliflower, roasted butternut squash, garlic sautéed spinach, roasted fresh brussel sprouts with sea salt.

                            keep introducing things a little at a time. make something familiar and then some things that push the envelope. nothing too out there, but well prepared fresh vegetables are probably very different than what he grew up with.

                            15 years later there are only some things that my hubby still won't tolerate and they are easy to work around -- mushrooms are still avoided. i make creative healthy meals with adventurous flavors -- drawing on many different cultures. he's a great eater now.

                            there is hope. just take it slow and keep trying.

                      1. The lack of vegetables is a concern since they are a large part of a healthy diet.
                        Maybe try roasting carrots?

                        There are also cookbooks aimed at moms with small children about adding shredded veggies to marinara sauce and such. This blog has a bunch of ideas:
                        Lentils ok?
                        A coconut milk based lentil soup (add veggies to your portion)
                        Sweet potato peanut stew is hearty and tastes like peanut butter....

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          Well if it tastes like peanut butter it might be a green light. I could always try it and see how it goes. Thanks for the recommendations!!

                        2. I started off with a lot of Olive Garden copycat recipes for my kids, but they turned into really adventurous eaters and cooks! Seriously, they teach me new things now! Both are very adventurous cooks.

                          You just don't want a "turn off" experience with new things. New things should be fun. They are "fun" only if you have other things to eat, that you know will be a "safe bet". No pressure.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sedimental

                            Lol! That's adorable I love it. Yeah pressuring someone into trying something they are unsure about can be an unpleasant experience for anyone involved. I really don't find it too much trouble with him being picky. It's honestly a little easier as I know what he will and won't eat. I just would like him to at least try to be a little more adventurous. So I can start small and go from there. Thank you!!

                          2. How about having him cook for both of you?

                            If he's not the type who cooks, he may not understand the work that goes into cooking and can be picky. I remember as a child about nitpicking things when I wasn't the one doing the work. But once I am actually cooking myself and realize how much effort it is, and don't have much point to complain about my own cooking, then viola, i changed.

                            But then of course the risk is that he would cook Mac and cheese every meal and u will have to either eat with him or fix something up for yourself.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ckshen

                              Hahahahahahahaha the risk of it being Mac and cheese every meal is very high. I think the odds of that are probably 99% chance he would. I can see how he may not understand how much effort I put into cooking though! That would be an accurate assumption.

                              1. re: Sdgirl619

                                I don't think that would necessarily be a bad thing though, if he's cooking, say, once a week. Mac and cheese once a week would be ok because you can always have some of your leftover vegetables or salad from the previous day with yours so for you it's not always the same (or, even better, he might cook a vege side to accommodate you just as you cook to accommodate him, and having cooked your vege he may even try some himself). And as his palate expands he might branch out with what he cooks too.

                                Anyway, I've read the rest of the thread and I'd just like to encourage you, it seems from your replies like he's already making good progress and before you know it someone else will start a thread about their picky husband and you'll reply saying how yours used to be like that but now eats a wide range of things.

                                One more tip I haven't seen yet is CarrieWas218's idea of sugaring vegetables to make them more palatable http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9063...

                                1. re: ecclescake

                                  Yes it is a work in progress but I have faith in him!! I like the idea of him making one of my sides. This would most likely be a weekend thing but maybe we can incorporate some kind of fun way to cook dinner together once a week. Even if it is something super easy! During the week he is usually too tired which is why I mostly make all the meals. Well, that and I'm not sure he would know his way around the kitchen 100% haha. I also enjoy the idea of sugaring the veggies. I will check that out!

                            2. If he eats turkey burgers, would he also like turkey or chicken meatloaf?
                              Also, what about sauteed or roast chicken strips. You could make a sauce for your portion :)

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: KarenDW

                                You know I haven't tried meatloaf yet. I've asked him how he feels about it (lol) and he's worried I'm going to put onions in it. I'm like babe I will not put onions in the meatloaf just trust me lol! I need to find a decent recipe without breadcrumbs that has a nice flavor.

                                1. re: Sdgirl619

                                  What about using crushed Ritz crackers as the binder instead of breadcrumbs? Or oatmeal. My mother used to use the latter, but the Ritz crackers would add a bit of salty butteryness to the meat loaf.

                                  You can make a side gravy, since he doesn't like gravy on top of things, or top it with ketchup or chili sauce and bake it that way.

                                  1. re: Sdgirl619

                                    I make meatloaf without onions and my husband loves it. I will try to remember to put the recipe up. I can't remember if it has bread crumbs.

                                    1. re: melpy

                                      I have made meatloaf in the past but just have not tried making it with him yet. I don't generally use a binder and it tends to come out fine. I'm just trying to find new recipes that may be better than what I am used to!

                                    2. re: Sdgirl619

                                      I was always frightened about things like onions being put into meatloaf, etc. Again, because my mother didn't know how to cut and pre-cook good quality onions for her meatloaf. The eater would encounter large chunks of cheap, semi-cooked onions, which was a real turn-off.

                                      Now I use onions in my cooking almost daily and love them. It's all in the quality of product and preparation.

                                      Get him involved.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        Ok I will * bite*.What exactly is a cheap onion?

                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                          oh they'll peel for anyone. getting old, gotta discard layers.

                                          my mom uses them and never has the audacity to shame them by removing the last fibrous dental floss layer. it's just onion skin, not at all like you thought you brought home a smooth and smoky Lauren Bacall only to find she's Sandra Bernhard in a really bad mood (and I love Sandra B.).

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            Too funny. Started my day with a good giggle....thanx Hill.

                                      2. re: Sdgirl619

                                        Meatloaf without onions isn't worth making or eating, IMO.

                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          Different strokes for different folks. I rarely make meatloaf *with* onions, but use roasted garlic, plum ketchup, goat cheese and herbs - lots of add-ins or stuffings or toppings that can make for a great meatloaf without onions.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            That sounds delicious! Although I'm not a huge fan of goat cheese. I never thought to add cheese to meatloaf!

                                            1. re: Sdgirl619

                                              I've done it as a sort of "filling" to a small personal-sized meatloaf, Sdgirl. Crumbled up a small log, chopped some fresh herbs, lightly mixed it all together (i'm pretty sure there was other stuff in there, but I can't recall right now), and put it between two meatloaf "patties that I sealed together and baked. Not too bad.

                                          2. re: greygarious

                                            It took me a long time to start to like onions in my meatloaf. I finally figured out that I had to give them a quick saute in butter, and start to cook them down, so that I wouldn't bite into almost raw onion. That was a major turning point for me!

                                          3. re: Sdgirl619

                                            Rick Bayless has a recipe for chipotle meatballs that makes a nice meatloaf - the chipotle is in the sauce - I think the loaf is just bacon and ground beef and some herbs ground together.

                                            That said, I'd put onions in because he probably won't be able to tell! (Same with pasta sauce, BTW).

                                            Does he recognize that his diet isn't the best long term? My husband (who works long, stressful hours) has a bad McDonald's habit but he does try to eat healthfully at home, or at least will eat what I cook. Maybe brainstorm some things he will eat - my kids like broccoli - especially if I add some soy sauce or steam it with some cheese and a little ranch dressing.

                                        2. That's tough. However, you say you feel bad because it's repetitive -- I'm assuming you feel bad for him. But this is what he likes, and he's an adult who either needs to read Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything" (http://www.amazon.com/The-Man-Who-Ate...) or accept that most adults, including his own spouse, don't eat like 8 year olds and he will have to deal with that. What does he do when you go to someone else's house for dinner? Sorry, rhetorical question.

                                          Anyway, as the parent of someone who has some very particular likes and dislikes, I recommend thinking of dishes or meals that can be broken down into parts. I've found that "sauce on the side" is the way to go so that I don't expire from boredom while eating.

                                          Will he eat lasagna? Other pasta dishes with a sauce -- pesto? Carbonara?

                                          P.S. Are you familiar with the blog The Tipsy Baker? She has a similar problem -- is a very adventurous cook with a husband who would happily eat Skippy on Wonder Bread every night.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: P_penelope

                                            Yeah I mostly feel bad for him. Our marriage is fairly new and although he is happy having any type of meal cooked I just wish I could do more! But it isn't my fault so I just feel a little stuck. Just looking for fresh ideas from others! He hasn't tried pesto (I love it!!). I'll have to make some and have him try it. I will check out that blog! Sounds great. This is the type of reply I love. Thank you!!

                                            1. re: Sdgirl619

                                              When I was newly married we had the three bite rule...my husband only ate like five things when we got together....but now he eats everything. He was not picky on purpose he just never had a mom that could cook and didn't travel. When he got with my family he tried new things because we were traveling and cooking huge meals. He tells our kids... Adventurous eaters ...how he hates he wasted so many years of bad eating.

                                              1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                As to the meatloaf etc, I wouldn't ask, I would just make it, without onions.
                                                Mine uses grated potato instead of breadcrumbs and tastes great.

                                                1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                  I forgot to say the Steingarten book is by the man who became the food critic for Vogue and decided that he would have to overcome his food aversions so that he really could eat anything -- it's very funny. (So is the Tipsy Baker blog, by the way.)

                                                  I'm thinking carbonara might go over well with your husband because of the bacon, nom nom. What about alfredo sauce? ETA: Whoops, I see from other posts that he does like it. Good!

                                                  I also forgot to say that your husband is very fortunate to have you going to so much trouble for him. I bet he appreciates the heck out of you.

                                                  1. re: P_penelope

                                                    "I bet he appreciates the heck out of you."

                                                    he'd better. and feel lucky that sleeping on the porch isn't such a bad idea now in most climes.

                                                    1. re: P_penelope

                                                      He's weird about bacon. But I should try it because I love bacon! See this is why I love this post because most of these things I forgot about and/or wouldn't have thought of myself. Thanks!! Oh and he does! He does so much for me and he works so hard. It's the least I can do to make him a home cooked meal!

                                                2. I too am married to an extremely picky eater. I know how difficult it is. Mine reminds me of your husband because he likes boxed food and doesn't like sauce either, but will eat pizza, spaghetti, hot wings etc. One thing mine likes that surprised me was creamed chip beef. He also will eat lasagna... but not if it's made with ricotta. I found a recipe using cream cheese (to replace the ricotta) that he will eat. Here is a list of things I discovered mine was willing to eat. See if your man will eat them too.
                                                  Homemade beef pot pie
                                                  Campbell's soup recipe for Salisbury steaks
                                                  boneless strips of chicken coated with batter (using Vadalia brand batter mix - this is a boxed powder you add water to & are supposed to use to make blooming onions or coat onion rings with) I coat the chicken with the batter and fry it in about a 1/2 inch of oil. He likes it a lot.
                                                  Hot dogs & sausage links, even with mild heat
                                                  Oven roasted Cornish game hens
                                                  Oven roasted pork butt
                                                  Stuffed peppers, but no fillers... just seasoned ground beef
                                                  And lastly, my husband hated any mac & cheese except boxed Kraft until he tried this homemade one. He loves it and asks me to make it for him. Here's the recipe:

                                                  Old Roman Macaroni & Cheese

                                                  1 lb. box 2&1/2 inch long Mosstaccioli noodles (or other similar ribbed noodles).
                                                  4 oz. parmesan cheese grated
                                                  3/4 lb fontina cheese coarsely shredded

                                                  1 cup breadcrumbs, toasted in a few tablespoons butter till golden.

                                                  4 Tablespoons butter
                                                  1 onion minced
                                                  4 Tablespoons flour
                                                  3 cups milk
                                                  A pinch of Thyme
                                                  1 bay leaf
                                                  A dash of Nutmeg
                                                  Salt & pepper

                                                  Heat oven 350°

                                                  Prepare breadcrumbs and set aside.

                                                  To make sauce:
                                                  Fry onion in the 4 Tablespoons butter till translucent.
                                                  Add the 4 Tablespoons flour and stir well to combine.
                                                  Add all the milk, thyme, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt & pepper and stir till sauce comes to a boil. Continue to cook and stir for 1 minute longer, then remove bay leaf.

                                                  Cook noodles according to directions on box, then drain.

                                                  In a bowl combine cheeses.

                                                  Butter a 3 quart baking dish.

                                                  Layer ingredients in 1/3's
                                                  Noodles, cheese, then sauce… noodles, cheese, then sauce into the prepared baking dish (like a lasagna).

                                                  Top with breadcrumbs.

                                                  Bake 15 - 20 minutes at 350° (till bubbly)

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: i_am_Lois

                                                    Wow thank you for the recipes and ideas!!!! I have been searching for a Mac and cheese recipe that a kraft lover would appreciate! Mine always come out great but always seem to lack something. I am excited to try this! Half the things you mentioned I have not tried yet. Thank you so much!!

                                                    1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                      That mac & cheese recipe I provided is NOTHING like the Kraft boxed stuff. It's different entirely. It turns out a little stringy like pizza. It has a milder flavor because it doesn't contain cheddar. You can try it. But don't think it's a Kraft mac & cheese copy cat recipe.

                                                      1. re: i_am_Lois

                                                        Oh no no no! I did not mean to offend you by saying your recipe tastes like the boxed stuff!! So sorry if I did! I'm actually more excited because your recipe uses Fontina (which is one of my favorite cheeses ever!) and Parmesan (which he loves) I just meant since your husband liked the box stuff and then loved your recipe, I am hoping for the same results! I usually use cheddar in my homemade Mac and Cheese but like I said, always lacking something! Maybe the Fontina and Parmesan will be the missing piece to the Homemade M&C puzzle!

                                                        1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                          I wasn't offended Sdgirl619. I just misunderstood you, and was thinking you expected this recipe to be exactly like Kraft. I think it's because it is so different, that is why my hubby likes it. Whenever I make mac & cheese using cheddar, he compares it to Kraft... and according to him Kraft is always superior. He likes pizza and this mac & cheese has a similar stringy cheese quality (and no cheddar flavor to compare with Kraft). I see in one of your remarks your husband doesn't like onion. It's fine to omit the onion called for in this recipe. I've done that and the dish doesn't suffer from a lack of a bit of onion.

                                                          1. re: i_am_Lois

                                                            Great! I forgot to ask about the onion but thank you for clarifying! I am excited to make this dish as I am a huge fan of cheese but don't eat it often! Thank you again!!!

                                                            1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                              If you try the recipe, I wish there were a way you could let me know how you and how your husband liked it.

                                                              1. re: i_am_Lois

                                                                Me too!!! Maybe if this post is still up, I will try to make it sometime this week, possibly Thursday!! I will let you know, super excited to try it.

                                                                1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                  you can always copy the text into a document and save that, but posts on CH stay up for years unless we get really offensive (it happens) - just have to remember a few key words if you don't copy it.

                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                    Haha. I am going to scan through later today and write down all of the things I enjoyed and want to make from this post. Also the blogs people have mentioned. Very excited to have found this website!

                                                                    1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                      Scroll up to the top of the thread, and you can print the entire thread. Right-click on your original post, and Print. Right now, it would be 20 pages long. :-)

                                                    2. re: i_am_Lois

                                                      Late replying to this (I came to this thread for another reason), but I just had to smile. This is the mac and cheese from the original Vegetarian Epicure (page 242). It was SUCH a revelation to me when I first made it close to forty years ago when I first moved out of the house. And all these years later it's still my favorite.

                                                    3. I'm more concerned as to how these husbands get enough roughage for smooth sailing....if you get my drift.

                                                      could you blend some vegetable into a sauce for lasagna or something?

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Tokyoite

                                                        Hahaahahaha. I like your honesty and concern. I can guarantee cooking for a picky eater is my only issue. ;)

                                                        1. re: Tokyoite

                                                          If they're anything like mine... they don't! lol He thinks that two tablespoons of green beans is enough fiber for the entire day. Left to his own devices he'd eat peanut butter sandwiches on white bread for supper every night (if I'm not up to cooking, he does!) But he's broadened his horizons over the nine years we've been married, so don't give up yet. We went to a fancy buffet a few weeks ago and he put some cous-cous on his plate and enjoyed it, so now I added it to the rotation. It comes out a box, but it's a little more variety. He tried hummus and baba-ganoush at a middle eastern restaurant years ago and loved them, and stuff like that... don't push foods at him, it backfires as badly as if you're trying to force a little kid to eat something they don't want. Go with the slightly more sophisticated version of the simple tastes, and see how far he's willing to go. If he says 'this is weird/I don't like it', step back. I love mac and cheese and carbonara. DH doesn't, but he'll eat boxed mac and cheese, so I buy the Kraft in a bag because it tastes more homemade... and so on.

                                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                                            Oh I never push foods at him! I try to get him to try things and he just says no and I'm like alright, not going to fight with you to eat this! Lol! I have not given up though!

                                                            1. re: Kajikit

                                                              Thanks for satiating my curiosity!
                                                              Lots of good suggestions in these posts :)

                                                            2. re: Tokyoite

                                                              Not to be graphic but we have a complaint at our house that we eat too many vegetables and the sailing is TOO smooth.

                                                              When we eat crap like pizza and grease, things are "as expected".

                                                              What gives?

                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                haha sorry, I need to wipe the coffee off my table.
                                                                (thank you for the morning pick me up!)

                                                            3. Let's just wife swap for a few months out of the year. Not in a romantic way, but for the love of food. For my wife, eating is often just another task that has to be done and over with ASAP.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                Ahahahahahaha. If we could, I would! Open up a whole new world to these two! Cooking is such an amazing release. I often hop in the kitchen and whip something up when I'm in a bad mood. Takes all my anger away and helps me focus.

                                                              2. Meatloaf? With glazed carrots and garlic mash potato should be good for picky eaters.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. What about hamburger or beef stroganoff? You said he doesn't like sauce *on* things, but what about having the beef mixed in with the sauce, served over egg noodles?

                                                                  Chicken Parm
                                                                  Grilled chicken or steak
                                                                  Roasted chicken
                                                                  Pork chops simmered in a homemade BBQ sauce
                                                                  Homemade pizza - that way, you can both choose your own toppings from an assortment
                                                                  Homemade oven-baked fried chicken
                                                                  Steak fajitas

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    My mom used to make the best beef stroganoff ever! Before he left for a month I made sure to let him know I would be making it when he got home! I have a feeling he will like it, he loves chicken alfredo and I made this crockpot garlic chicken that used cream of chicken soup, cream cheese and a packet of dry italian dressing. It came out pretty delicious and he ate two bowls! Of course I used better versions of the above and it came out great. Oh and I always make homemade pizza! He loves it. Steak fajitas are a good idea, I'll keep all the veggies for myself lol!

                                                                  2. my b/f is not big on vegetables, but in certain cases i have found it's a textural issue. for example, zucchini cut into rounds or chunks? no way, no how, not enough butter or cheese in the world. honestly, i don't care much for it that way either. however, i started making this:


                                                                    and we both love it.

                                                                    if he's used to packaged and processed foods his tastebuds are all hopped up on salt, junk oil and sugar. trying copycat recipes is a great suggestion and eventually his sense of what he likes may broaden.

                                                                    for now, don't worry about using some butter, cream, cheese or bacon as a flavor augment. most vegetables can be steamed, pureed and finished with some olive oil or butter and some grated cheese to make a delicious side.

                                                                    can you strike some kind of deal where he will try one new food a week? or is he too recalcitrant even for that?

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                      Yeah the texture issue has been a thing for him since he was a young one!

                                                                    2. I'd be seriously concerned that he won't eat vegetable matter, save for steamed carrots.

                                                                      I know he's young, but not eating vegetables will bring on health problems like a ton of bricks later in life....

                                                                      My BIL is a lot like your husband thanks to parents that have false food phobias and who cant cook. But SIL had a come-to-Jesus talk with him about health and he agreed to try salad and vegetables. He likes salad and broccoli now.

                                                                      1. Food issues can be SO much more than just "not liking" something. Where do you think it is coming from? Was he not raised to try new things? Is it a control issue or eating disorder?

                                                                        The difference between steamed carrots and baked carrots isn't that great. It is interesting his will-eats are so specific. And boxes pasta sides verse homemade, how can he tell the difference? I can by the taste but I have spoiled/pampered palate.

                                                                        Knowing the root of it might be the first step in helping him reach a point where he can at least be open to trying more things.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                                                          He had a lot of texture issues growing up so he just pretty much got used to what he liked and that was the end of it.

                                                                          1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                            What about masking the textures? You could puree onions when you make a meatloaf, for example.

                                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                                              Yeah, that's why I needed to post this because I wouldn't have generally thought about that. He's so weird, he likes funyuns but he won't touch anything with real onions in it. I LOVE onions lol.

                                                                              1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                A friend of mine purées onions and carrots. Her husband won't go near either In whole form, but doesn't complain she it's puréed

                                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                  Hilarious, I could see this in my household. I will try it!

                                                                        2. First I would tell him that I love him and married him because I want to spend the rest of my life with him but that I don't want it to be one filled with illness and I don't want him to die years and years before me because of poor food choices. You have to get on the same page with this problem. I would see if he would agree to trying a certain number of new things a week and if I could take the same approach often used with picky kids where veggies are added to the current foods (tons of veggies can be cooked, pureed and added to foods that hide them well like spaghetti sauce. Also, pureed butternut squash added in small amounts to mac and cheese or grating zucchini on the small holes of the grater and adding to the ground turkey before making burgers- just peel it first so there is no telltale green!)

                                                                          There are books targeted to feeding kids you could get from your library or bookstore. Probably some websites you could investigate.

                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                            He's an adult. Not sure I would want to hide what goes into his dinners from him.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              You must have missed the part where I said " I would see if he would agree to trying a certain number of new things a week and if I could take the same approach often used with picky kids where veggies are added to the current foods " :)

                                                                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                Not sure what purpose it serves, however. Yes, he's aware of the food potentially being in there, but why not see if he'll just try one food item as they are vs. trying to hide them?

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  It helps develop a taste for the food without it being in your face bold. It can work very well with kids, I researched it and used it with the man's ex's daughter and she now eats many more things than she did before and she was a freaking nightmare to feed. Considering the number of books using this method I would guess it has quite a bit of success. I think Jerry Seinfeld's wife did one of the books.

                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                    Yes, I understand what it's *supposed* to do. But hiding butternut squash in mac & cheese doesn't actually give a real taste of butternut squash, or grating zucchini and mixing it into ground turkey doesn't give one a taste for zucchini.

                                                                                    And while Seinfeld's wife wrote a book about it, it seemed to be for the purpose of getting healthy vegetables into kids who wouldn't eat the vegetables to begin with. She was purposely hiding them, and covering up their flavor with what the other things with which they were mixed. I personally disagree with that method.

                                                                                    Again, the OP's husband is an adult. He should be capable of trying things on their own without them being hidden. If he chooses not to, that's his decision.

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Yep, which is why I said I'd ask. I'm not sure why you're arguing about it, Linda. It was a suggestion for the OP, who can take it or leave it.

                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                        Not arguing. Just a difference of opinion.

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          Honestly, lol, I think I would puree something and not tell him until after he started to eat it HAHA. He seriously would probably he like I am not eating that. He doesn't even like his food to touch.

                                                                                          1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                            I guess I fall more into the honesty end of things vs. hiding something and running the risk of angering him. Tell him you'd like to have roasted Brussels sprouts one evening as a side dish, and ask him to at least try it. You can also make carrots if that's the only veg he'll eat, but at least you're getting something that you want as well that is not the same old, same old.

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              No that's true! I am very honest with him but the only reason I wouldn't tell him until possibly after he ate it is because I know he wouldn't be mad. He would prefer me not tell him if there are things in his meal that he does not like. When I made the chicken with cream cheese and cream of chicken soup he asked what was in it and I told him honestly and he said "why would you tell me that stuff is in it" hahaha. He ate it anyway but I could see the look on his face after the first bite. I definitely always make my own meals but like I mentioned when I answered to someone else, most of my meals last me a few days. I make quinoa, roasted veggies, salads and it lasts me for awhile so cooking for him alone isn't a big deal or out of my way. Lol

                                                                                              1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                So he knows he often enjoys the dishes with what he thinks are strange or weird ingredients and won't try it if he *knows* what's in it, but then likes it when he does. He's a tough nut to crack, that one. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  LOL, that's him! He's crazy (not really, I love him!) but he is so damn picky. Sometimes I wish he would just eat the damn soup I made! But then I think, I have ALL this delicious soup (or whatever else) to myself! I'll get him to branch out, at least a little!

                                                                                            2. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                              Reminds me of an Uncle-in-law. He'd been known to order "a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, on separate plates".

                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          Sometimes it overcomes a psychological obstacle - "You ate squash in that pasta and it didn't kill you!" which is IME a HUGE part of vegetable antipathy. And sometimes it's helpful to just get some vegetables into people. Do my kids develop a taste for raw kale when it's pureed with banana and milk and protein powder and berries into a smoothie? No. Do I feel better about their nutrition? Yes.

                                                                                          As for the "It's his decision" I think that marriages are about working as a team, and when your choices are affecting communal things (like meals, or long term health) it's fine for a spouse to encourage different choices.

                                                                                          1. re: Savour

                                                                                            i can't accept duplicity when feeding a family, especially adults. "hiding" vegetables in food is something for infants.

                                                                                            i mostly dislike onions in my food and would certainly recognize them in my serving of meatloaf.

                                                                              2. I have a brother who makes your husband's palate sound like Anthony Bordain's LOL

                                                                                He likes a very very limited array of foods even as an adult.

                                                                                forcing and sneaking tend to make picky eaters retreat to the packaged foods they "trust"

                                                                                I would say focus on making healthful simple meals that he will like and include extra sides and sauces that make it interesting and healthy for you - a baked chicken breast can be one thing on your plate and another on his.

                                                                                The limited palate does not mean a lack of appreciation for quality - my brother was terrified to go on vacation to Italy because Italian food is "fear factor" stuff for him - sauce, cheese, pasta - horrors - but he was maybe more than anyone really amazed by the food there - the quality and freshness of the simple things he likes - chicken, potatoes, bread, pizza (plain only) really impressed him.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                  Oh I try to make everything from scratch. I found a much healthier recipe for his beloved pasta sides. So I'll use whole grain pasta, coconut milk, organic butter, etc. He loved it and it was the same concept so he was getting what he liked but a better version for him. I eat a lot healthier than he does. I love veggies, quinoa, beans, tuna, chicken, etc.

                                                                                  1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                    sounds like you are doing pretty well within the constraints. I will never understand the gigantic appeal of pasta sides, certainly something to be improved on by making your own version.

                                                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                      Oh my gosh, right?! They are NOT good. Although I got over being pretty sick a couple of months ago and all we had was a box of the alfredo and I ate the whole thing :X Needless to say I didn't feel too good after that! After I tasted the homemade version, even I was hooked! So much more flavor AND I know what went into it!

                                                                                2. Can you rif a bit on some of the things you've mentioned? Chicken parmesan for instance? You could leave the sauce off of his chicken. Meatloaf instead of burgers? What about a tuna, noodle casserole using canned tuna? Would that deemphasize the tuna enough?

                                                                                  Cous cous? What about a pilaf with toasted pasta?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                    The original post said no fish. I love canned tuna but it is fishy tasting.

                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                      Oh lord, tuna. I guess when he was a child everytime he would eat tuna he would throw up so his parents just gave up on feeding it to him. So tuna is a definite no. I eat it straight from the can lol!

                                                                                    2. Folks, could we try to focus on recipes and ideas that meet the original poster's husband's needs, rather than analyzing their relationship or debating whether it's even a good idea to accommodate picky eaters. Thanks!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. When DH and I started dating there were many things he didn't eat because of his mother's cooking. (she's really pretty bad). we made a deal that I'd make things and he'd try them once - for example his mother cooks pork chops until they are sad little bits of jerky. I made my lovely, succulent braised pork chops for him and he like them so much i had to make them twice that weekend. Now he's a more adventurous eater than I am. Perhaps you can make a deal with your hubs like that and help him expand his horizons.

                                                                                        1. Oh how I wish I was married to my husband (now deceased) with simple taste.... instead he had such exotic and fine taste in food !!! Was not easy to prepare meals, for sure... especially when we had company.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: roro808

                                                                                            I think I would prefer a little less simple. He likes plain at home and gives no input for meals but then poo poos a nice restaurant because it isn't flavorful enough.

                                                                                          2. Does he like cake/quick breads?

                                                                                            Zucchini bread is a great way to introduce some zucchini without him being confronted with vegetables on the plate.

                                                                                            Carrot cake?

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                              I have been desperately wanting to make zucchini bread but have not yet! I will give it a try. He loves my homemade bread, pizza crusts, etc. Carrot cake I'm not too sure about. I don't think he is too big of a fan. Thanks!

                                                                                              1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                I've had luck making zucchini bread in cupcake tins. A smidge of cream cheese frosting makes it a cupcake.

                                                                                                  1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                    I've learned one important lesson in life - make it in a cupcake and they (husband and toddler) will eat it!

                                                                                                    I make a lot of food in cupcake form!

                                                                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                      Speaking of cupcakes I made some gluten free vegan chocolate cupcakes for his homecoming! Good idea though, I will give this a try!

                                                                                            2. My husband is something of a picky eater and it was pretty frustrating early on. Especially since he also doesn't cook :)

                                                                                              Now I just don't tell him what's for dinner. He likes basic stuff so I use that as a base. You like meatballs? Great, we're having Thai inspired meatballs with yellow curry and rice. He doesn't eat flour so I avoid that but his disinterest in cooking forces him to either eat oatmeal and eggs or try dinner. Don't like it? Cool- now I've got leftovers for work. Not making it into a big deal was helpful. He wasn't rejecting me- he just didn't like my Moroccan stew :)

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                Hobbert put into words what I was thinking. Just cook, keeping his palate somewhat into consideration and don't make a big deal about it.

                                                                                                Not unlike how I approach my child. Meatballs go on the plate without a discussion. I don't tell him that they are ground turkey meatballs instead of his preferred beef or whatever the difference is as it relates to his limits. Hopefully small changes will be acceptable.

                                                                                                Treat ingredients the same way. Puree offending things like minced onions so all you are left with is the onion flavor in meatloaf instead of pieces of minced onions or mash garlic to a paste before adding it.

                                                                                                1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                  I actually have gotten him on turkey burgers over beef lately. He loves them! I was pleasantly surprised as I am a big fan of turkey burgers. I made homemade pretzel buns for him to eat with them and it is like a heaven sent meal made just for him lol! If I have a few things to choose from I will text him and ask him what sounds better for dinner, if not I will make something I know he likes. I really don't put myself on the back burner which I feel like a lot of people on this post think I am doing. My meals are a lot easier to cook in advance and last me a few days (quinoa, roasted veggies, beans, tuna, etc.). Or I will bake some chicken, half in buffalo sauce for him and the other half plain for myself and generally I will have leftovers. With my meals being so easily used as leftovers for myself, cooking a completely different meal (that is also simple and easy) isn't that big of a deal. Especially if I can throw it in the crockpot! Even so, I love to cook and spending a few hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking a meal is something I love to do.

                                                                                              2. Pioneer Woman's website might be helpful. People like to criticize her blog, but a lot of her recipes will likely work for your husband. Here's a link to her "Marlboro Man Approved" recipes:

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: emily

                                                                                                  I agree - she's got some keepers in there!

                                                                                                  1. re: emily

                                                                                                    Hey thank you!!! I appreciate that!!

                                                                                                  2. I "made" my picky husband eat a meal from every country in the world (in truth we discussed it and agreed it was a great plan for our family) - by the end of four years he was decidedly NOT picky - in fact he LOVES trying new things now. He looks at food as an adventure, not an attack.

                                                                                                    But this success took a lot of patience and love.

                                                                                                    Definitely start slow - many things are textural - so if he doesn't like onions, try roasting them and pureeing them (he might like the flavor just not the bits). I used this technique to help him enjoy mushrooms.

                                                                                                    I also have a rule - dinner is dinner is dinner. No exceptions. He never tries to buck it, but it helps to have in place with a 4 1/2 year old ;)

                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                      That's true, I mean the guy loves funyuns so I'm sure the taste of real onions in something will not throw him off too much.

                                                                                                      1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                        Exactly! If you want to see my husband's "approved" recipes from our adventure, let me know. you'd laugh... his first ones were almost all fried, but you'll notice the more recent favorites are way more adventurous than his early ones... Let me know - I can share the link.

                                                                                                        1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                          Please do! I would love to see this! :)

                                                                                                          1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                            I absolutely love this idea and would be thrilled if you'd share the link as well. I may steal your plan for my family!

                                                                                                            1. re: P_penelope

                                                                                                              Here you both are!


                                                                                                              Like I said - his most recent favorites are more adventuresome - but peppered in there you'll see things like a Uruguayan hot dog, Ukranian pasta bake (made with bacon), scones, and all kinds of stuff. The key is to make it fun! Invite people over and give your loved one some friendly peer pressure.

                                                                                                              1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                                This sounds super fun. My husband used to be very picky is always asking to try new cuisines. Ultimately his favorite things are still pretty plain or meat heavy but I can't wait to peruse your blog.

                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                  Thanks melpy... There are some GREAT meat dishes we've tried from around the world - one of them is Suya - it sounds strange to some but whenever they try it, they're instantly won over ... The grilled beef skewers have a crust of peanuts, ginger, garlic, and spices...


                                                                                                                    1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                                      That looks really good! What could I sub for the bouillon cube? Is it there to be salty? I just can't do the taste of bouillon cubes.

                                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                        The bouillon cubes are very traditional in west African cooking - it provides some salt, some chickeny flavor. For a substitute you might try using a spoonful of the chicken bouillon paste (the flavor is bold and fresh - you store it in the refrigerator). The recipe would be a tad more moist, but I think it would work!

                                                                                                                        1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, I can't stomach the paste either- it all tastes metallic and chemically to me, event the "better" brands. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'll check some other suya recipes and see if I can figure something out, your pics and description of it have put it near the top of my list of things to try and we already like a lot of African food. :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                              Can you reduce a homemade broth until it is gelatinous and season it well and use that as sort of a homemade "better" type. I think it would freeze well.

                                                                                                                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                I think you could leave out the bouillion cube and just add salt to taste. If chicken flavor is essential, you could add a little chicken fat or jus (harvested from the pan next time you roast a chicken).

                                                                                                                      2. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                                        LOVE your food blog!!!!! Enough to make me try to experiment a bit:)

                                                                                                                        1. re: GlobalTable

                                                                                                                          Oh, WOW. That global food adventure is amazing! Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm totally trying this with my family.

                                                                                                                2. My guess is that *you* are bored with the pizza, turkey burgers, spaghetti etc.

                                                                                                                  Your husband is most likely perfectly happy with his diet.

                                                                                                                  Cook what YOU want to cook. Make enough so that hubby can have a portion. He's a grownup ( I hope) and if he doesn't like dinner, he can fix himself a PB&J.

                                                                                                                  If it helps any, take comfort that often it is the "super tasters" who have a very limited diet. Their palates can not handle the overload of new tastes.

                                                                                                                  A limited diet also has no bearing on your husband's intelligence. Many super-duper smart people are simply not all that interested in food-for-food's-sake. As long as they get enough calories to chug along, they are content..and it frees up their minds to focus on more important things.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                    I think your post is one of my favorites and so spot on!!! I eat lots of other things, quinoa and vegetables, baked chicken mostly. Oh he is very smart! He just doesn't like most things but I think if I just get better at throwing things together I can make some pretty decent meals that he will enoy! Thank you!

                                                                                                                  2. I am LOL. I had a B/F whose Japanese mother was a gourmet cook. She could butcher animals,fish, debone an entire turkey,duck,chickens,etc. and create wonderful beautiful exotic foods. His father (her husband) ate the same turkey sandwich every day of his life (when he was at home or work) for 25 years:) I say feed your husband what he likes. That way you know he is eating, right?

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                      Oh I do! and I agree!! I just want to be able to provide him a few more recipes and meals to choose from rather then the same thing every week. So let's say I have 5 new recipes to add to my already maybe 10, that's 15 different meals already. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                                        Variety is good but maybe he only likes certain things. Some people are super picky. I am very picky too but luckily I do like a wide variety of foods.

                                                                                                                    2. One thing that worked in expanding my husband's tastes was making something that was open to interpretation.

                                                                                                                      Husband and daughter both love taco night- they like ground beef, I like beans. I also make a variety of fresh salad and salsa toppings.

                                                                                                                      On pizza night, make two trays. One with his preferred choices, one with yours. My husband's new favorite pizza is white pizza with a fried egg. (When I married him, eggs were only scrambled and served on a bagel)

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                        Totally agree with this. My husband doesn't like most vegetables. I often make things like fajitas with chicken or steak. I put lots of onions and peppers in the pan as well. My daughter and I eat the fajitas with the peppers and onions, husband and son only eat the chicken or steak...and cheese. Same thing goes for tacos.

                                                                                                                        Sdgirl619, you mentioned that he likes buffalo chicken. What about buffalo chicken meatloaf? My husband wouldn't have gone near meatloaf with a 10 foot pole, but when I made buffalo chicken meatloaf (or meatballs), he liked it. Same for BBQ chicken meatloaf.

                                                                                                                        And speaking of meatballs, my husband doesn't like regular beef meatballs, but he likes thai chicken meatballs.

                                                                                                                        My husband eats 1,000 more things than he did when I met him. I don't try to force vegetables on him, but it doesn't stop me from eating them or making them for my kids.

                                                                                                                        What about chicken sausage? We eat that over pasta. I add roasted vegetables or spinach or other vegetables to mine, my husband just has parmesan cheese on his.

                                                                                                                        Or tonight I made a roast turkey breast with roasted red potatoes. Again, I have roasted carrots, cauliflower and onion, my husband does not.

                                                                                                                        1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                          BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATLOAF? He may have died and gone to heaven with this! I will try it!!! I didn't even know such a thing existed, you genius! He hasn't tried chicken sausage yet. Yum

                                                                                                                          1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                                            Here's the buffalo one and the bbq one. The bbq one calls for turkey but we prefer it with ground chicken breast. Oh, and my husband does not like big pieces of onion in anything so whenever I use onion, I just dice it very small.



                                                                                                                          2. re: valerie

                                                                                                                            My husband loves stir fried broccoli and spicy sausage. I add in cubes of chicken breast for myself. It's always a winner

                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                              Broccoli is probably one of my favorite vegetables but I have not tried anything like that with him! Will have to try and expand with veggies and the way I prepare them.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Sdgirl619

                                                                                                                                Besides corn (a grain), peas, lettuce and baked beans, broccoli was one vegetable my husband at when I met him. It can be used in lots of different ways. It lends itself well to cheesey things which can ease you into the flavor. Spinach is another vegetable that can be be eased into. Like in a pasta sauce or cheesy quiche.

                                                                                                                                The key to vegetables if finding the sweet spot for doneness.

                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                  I gave up on trying to get my husband to eat vegetables. He eats broccoli (cooked) and baby carrots (raw) and corn. Spinach and lettuce, not in a million years. But that's okay, it doesn't stop me from eating them.

                                                                                                                                  My husband did actually agree to try buffalo roasted cauliflower. He didn't like it, but he at least tried it. He NEVER would have agreed to that when we met 14 years ago.


                                                                                                                                  1. re: valerie

                                                                                                                                    My husband refuses salad also. It's a "waste of space" he claims.
                                                                                                                                    But after 7 years, he will pretty much any cooked vegetable or crudités (except green peppers and raw tomatoes)

                                                                                                                        2. During my marriage, I ended up cooking two meals, one for him and one for me. I just couldn't deal with the strict limitations of my husband's diet, that way he got what he wanted and so did I. It worked out fine. It helped that my meals were often frozen vegetables and his were pork chops, not too hard to do.

                                                                                                                          1. I know exactly what you are going through. My husband is defined as a "Picky" eater. He doesn't like veggies, and rarely eats other kinds of meat. He loves Hamburger. Anything with Ground Hamburger. I know the feeling of the buying "box" or "instant" things. What I do is, I go to a meat market. And I get 5 lbs of hamburger, and make it stretch for different meals. I make things simple, he's very much into American Food, and I grew up on different culture ethic food. Like Italian, or Indian. But I agree "we don't bow down" to him. We compromise, I'll make something that I like, like Lemon Garlic Chicken, and I'll cook his chicken the way he likes it. I like to make parmesan crusted chicken, well I decided to try something new with my version of my chicken, and he didn't sound like he was "all for it" so I left it with what he liked. There really is no honest, answer for "recipes" for "picky" eaters. I can really only suggest altering, alter his food. Make what you like, and make what you like. For Veggies, My husband likes beans, and I'll eat like spinach, so If I cook spinach, I'll make him beans. It is difficult, so I know how it feels, but to find recipes, is sort of difficult, I would alter recipes, if it calls for "fresh tomatoes" I make his meal separate, and put in tomato paste, or tomato diced. Really DICED. lol. But that is the only thing I can really suggest.. I hope that helped just a little bit. :) and good Luck :D

                                                                                                                            1. Two thoughts, both echoing what others have said. I would approach it the same way I do with my 8-year-old (who, granted, sounds less picky than your husband!) and rather than make multiple meals, make meals in stages. For example, if the grownups are having steak with blue cheese sauce, green beans, and arugula, kiddo gets sliced steak and plain green beans. Pan-seared chicken breast and some romaine lettuce for him with slices of Parmesan becomes Caesar salad for us. You can also make yourself an interesting pasta and give him plain red sauce, or make two pizzas -- one plain cheese and one spectacularly complex for you.

                                                                                                                              Someone else suggested getting him involved in the cooking, and if you do try that, I'd recommend Marion Cunningham's Learning to Cook book. It's got very simple, comfort-food recipes and lots of ideas for variations/substitutions. It's more about getting comfortable in the kitchen and losing a fear of food.

                                                                                                                              Other ideas:

                                                                                                                              --Pan-seared chicken breasts are your friend. Serve his plain and do any number of delicious things with yours.
                                                                                                                              --An amazing mac and cheese with cauliflower hiding in it (I use sour cream instead of creme fraiche) http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                                                              --Would he do breakfast for dinner?
                                                                                                                              --Play with different shapes of pasta (orzo! egg fettucine!) to stretch what he's OK with on the plate without a big fear factor.
                                                                                                                              --As the weather cools down, what about something comforting like beef stew? He can eat the carrots and potatoes but pick around other veggies in big chunks.
                                                                                                                              --See if you can take foods he's comfortable and try a slight ethnic twist (folks have mentioned this already re: Thai meatballs, etc.) What about something like cold peanut noodles, since you say he likes peanut butter and spaghetti? Or make wings, but with a teryaki glaze instead of Buffalo-style? Then if that works, you can use the same glaze on thighs instead...
                                                                                                                              --Anything that he can assemble himself: tacos, burritos, pizza, sandwich night... put out fixings for you and let him select the basics.

                                                                                                                              Baby steps... baby steps. You do want him to open up to variety if only so he'll have a long and healthy life with you!

                                                                                                                              1. I made hillshire farms sausage and hash brown casserole last night. The whole family raved about it.

                                                                                                                                1. My husband also does not like vegetables but I've found if I roast them, it makes all the difference! Even broccoli! Toss with olive oil, chopped garlic, sea salt, sprinkle on some Parmesan and roast away. I do the same with cauliflower but I toss it with a bit of paprika instead if garlic. I've done every kind if vegetable you can think of and he's loved them all! Brussels sprouts - toss with some whole grain Dijon, real maple syrup and olive oil and he'll eat that too (slice the sprouts in half first)! Just roast on dime parchment and toss in some raisins and onions if you like - I also place fillets of salmon directly over the sprouts and put the same marinade in it and roast all together so you have a complete meal in one. One last tip - any kind if white fish (I tend to use basa or tilapia) use an egg wash and roll in panko breadcrumbs and lightly fry - delish and simple with a squeeze of lemon to finish it off or homemade tartare sauce (mayo, relish, lemon juice). I even have my husband cooking this on his own!

                                                                                                                                  FYI these are all also kid and toddler friendly!

                                                                                                                                  1. some ideas that i was able to make early in my DH's food journey:

                                                                                                                                    turkey meatloaf -- make a few veggie sides. potatoes au gratin if you know he likes that, steamed carrots and some steamed broccoli. that way the success rate is higher and he may feel more comfortable trying the broccoli just a few bites. also try mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes. I steam cauliflower, add a bit of butter, garlic, salt and pepper and then bake topped with a bit of parmesan cheese, sometimes some breadcrumbs on top too.

                                                                                                                                    Someone suggested chicken parmesan cutlets. you could also try chicken or turkey cutlets topped with some pesto and mozzarella, or a bit of prosciutto and mozzarella (you can add some fresh sage like saltimbocca). veggies could be something simple like sautéed spinach or raw baby spinach salad with some toasted nuts, strawberries, etc.

                                                                                                                                    Turkey chili -- i make mine with a ton of diced veggies that get lost in the sauce. i dice up zucchini, yellow squash, even eggplant, red pepper, onion. dice them up really really tiny and all perfectly even. the texture blends in with the ground meat so they aren't even detectable. I add black beans to my chili, but you might not be able to get away with that just yet. I use really good quality chili powder (penzey's), some chipotle and a bottle of beer. it's delicious and chock full of nearly hidden veggies. serve topped with some shredded cheddar and maybe crushed tortilla chips? or cornbread on the side?

                                                                                                                                    Risotto: I'm not sure how this would go over because you say he doesn't like rice. if it's a texture thing, risotto might be distinct enough that he would try it? I make a number of different kinds -- tonight i might make one with spicy sausage and baby spinach leaves tossed in at the end to wilt. another popular one with my DH is a jambalaya style risotto. andouille sausage, shrimp, onions, red and green peppers. whatever combination of flavors he will accept. if rice/risotto is a no go, you could try it over pasta.

                                                                                                                                    Lasagna -- if he likes Italian red sauce type of flavors maybe lasagna will work? you can try to lighten things up a bit by making it with ground turkey and add some frozen spinach into the ricotta layer. no need to boil the noodles just assemble, cover with foil and bake. As with the turkey chili you can dice up some other veggies really tiny and they will meld into the sauce in a way that may let them slip by. I don't like to "hide" things as a general rule, preferring to have my family accept the ingredients as they are, but sometimes you need to start somewhere to get some footing.

                                                                                                                                    Slow roasted pork -- i do mine in the slow cooker. I season a pork roast liberally with garlic and some salt and pepper. slow cook for 6+ hours or so depending on the size, i add some quartered onions. you can use this for many things. either on its own sort of like carnitas. can be made into tacos or burritos (does he eat those?), or made into enchiladas (I do that with the leftovers). can be bbq pulled pork either on rolls or plain with whatever sides you can get away with -- mac n cheese (homemade vs. boxed), greens? corn?

                                                                                                                                    These are all things that I think of making when my husband's family comes to visit. Good luck!

                                                                                                                                    1. Here are some Chow Ideas

                                                                                                                                      Chicken Cordon Bleu

                                                                                                                                      Chicken Quesadilla

                                                                                                                                      Stuffed Shells (omit chard add sausage maybe?)

                                                                                                                                      Beer Braised Brats with onion and mustard

                                                                                                                                      Slow Cooker Chicken Adobe

                                                                                                                                      Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

                                                                                                                                      Chipotle Beef and Bean Chili

                                                                                                                                      1. Cook 1 of the easiest of his favorites and then cook something else for you. I know that is a hassle but then you don't have to live with his constraints. Make a couple of batches of something you like braised and keep it around. Then you heat your self up something... and let him lead his repetitive life. he'll get over it.

                                                                                                                                        1. My sister-in-law had two young children with the same problem. Eventually she got herself into the position where she was cooking separate meals for each of them. When they were old enough, she and my brother went on holiday and left the kids with my mother. My mother - who was a great cook - gave them the option "you eat this, or, you don't eat at all." In just a couple of days, they were tucking into everything. Problem cured? Well no. As soon as they were back with my sister-in-law, they reverted almost instantly to their old ways. I'm sorry if this is not what you want to hear, but I don't think your problem lies in the effort you're obviously making. Life's too short. Tell him to cook for himself.

                                                                                                                                          Walter Gunn

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: waltergunn

                                                                                                                                            a friend's Italian Nonna (who was a great cook) had a good phrase, please forgive my spelling:
                                                                                                                                            "il quest o gatz d'it la papagalle"
                                                                                                                                            (it's this or shit said the parrot)

                                                                                                                                          2. Hi Sdgirl, I know it's been a while since you posted, but just wanted to encourage you in your effort to bring more creativity to your table! My husband is an extremely picky eater, but I found that it was helpful for us to sit down together every few weeks and identify what textures and flavors bothered him. We agreed that he would only have to try something once, and if he really didn't like it, I wouldn't make it again.

                                                                                                                                            We discovered after much trial-and-error that my husband is not as "picky" as we both thought! He just doesn't cook and had no way of knowing that there might be multiple ways of preparing a veggie he tried once and didn't like. It's true that a canned or frozen carrot tastes nothing like a roasted one! I've found that unless a vegetable has some underlying texture that is present no matter how you cook it (like okra can be slimy), there's almost always one way that I can make it and my husband will eat it. We've built up a large repertoire of foods, to the point where it's hard for me to pick what to make on any given night :-)

                                                                                                                                            If you want more specific help, I'd be more than happy to share with you some of what we've learned over the past few years! Just let me know.

                                                                                                                                            That being said, I saw that some comments were negative and rather insulting. To those people I'd like to point out that there is a sizeable portion of the population with super-sensitivity to textures and flavors. These people aren't burdening others on purpose, and many wish they were able to eat what others enjoy so much. They miss out on a lot, and that should be sad, not irritating.

                                                                                                                                            1. Read this: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-liv....

                                                                                                                                              Make sure you click on Read Comments. It is not unpopular. I used to think I was the only one like this.

                                                                                                                                              Just a couple of comments I want to add as I deal with this myself. First, it is NOT a lack of flavor. In fact that is usually what turns me and I suspect others like me off - the flavors are too strong. I only discovered this when I was flying and got served a meal, and for some strange reason actually tried eating a piece of raw tomato. I think it is because of the altitude, but I find there are a few veggies I can at least swallow (I wont say so much eat or enjoy) when in the air I cant on the ground.

                                                                                                                                              Second, and again a bit of discovery - tomato sauces are good, but tricky. a lot of them I find intolerable, yet in other cases I love them. Whatever you do, don't do raw tomato sauces or tomato puree.

                                                                                                                                              What about fruit flavors? not so much fruit itself, which he probably wouldn't like, but fruit flavors? Try combining that with proteins such as chicken.