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Picky People Coming for Dinner, What to Make?

I know one of my friends that is coming doesn't like onions. I briefly mentioned that I might make tacos and I got a lukewarm response. (I make a killer taco bar with homemade salsa and Emeril's recipe for taco beef but I'm afraid if I go through the effort, they won't like it.)

We've had dinner with these friends before and we've always had pizza. I'm thinking hamburgers but I don't have a grill. My grill was on its last legs last summer. I threw it away and haven't replaced it.

I know they like mushrooms and most vegetables (carrots, peas, peppers) but not onions. I know they like hot wings.

Do you have a recipe for a baked pasta without onions? The recipes I love for lasagna and ziti have onions.

Any other main course suggestions for a casual dinner party/game night? Something for somewhat picky eaters and to feed seven people? Can I bust out my George Foreman and make hamburgers on it or will that be lame? There will be four adults and three growing boys.

Thank you.

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  1. Just leave the onions out of your pasta recipe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      Yes. Good idea. I'm thinking of doing this. Not sure if would compromise flavor too much. Thank you.

    2. Do you mean that when you make a baked pasta dish, you add onions as a separate element? Or are you talking about the onions that may have gone into your sauce?

      In either case, leave them out.

      I know that's difficult when they're an element in a sauce. But if you substitute diced carrot and celery -- if you're making Bolognese, you're already using diced carrot and celery, obvs -- your sauce will be wonderful. You will probably be the only one who notices the missing onion.

      Oh, my favorite baked pasta dish consists of half-cooked cavatappi, Bolognese, and Besciamella with a lot of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix, then bake for half an hour.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Jay F

        Jay, could you give me proportions for four servings please? As you may remember, we're visiting our 'kids' and I'm thinking about this for dinner one night. Thanks.

        1. re: c oliver

          I don't know that I've ever made it for four, c, but you might halve the sauce recipes and use 3/4 of a pound of pasta. She says each sauce recipe makes enough for six people.

          I'd be more inclined to make a full recipe of each sauce, use the whole pound of pasta and lots of Parmigiano, and feel confident that anything left over won't last long.

            1. re: c oliver

              You're welcome. I look forward to hearing how they liked it.

            2. re: Jay F

              Esp. a couple with a toddler and a five week old!

        2. Unless they have an allium sensitivity you can still use onions, just use a purée so no onion is visible and don't over do it

          1 Reply
          1. re: scubadoo97

            So you think they won't still taste it?

          2. I agree with sunshine - a big baked pasta sounds perfect for this kind of affair. Just leave the onions out of your lasagna or ziti. Add a salad and maybe an antipasto platter, and you're set. Burgers on the George Foreman are not something I'd serve to company, even casual company.

            4 Replies
            1. re: biondanonima

              but make sure the cipollini onions are right in the middle of the antipasto platter.

              (no, I'd never really do it, but my inner 6-year-old would want to)

              1. re: biondanonima

                I agree with both of you guys. Make a lasagna without onions, a big green salad, and antipasto platter. I think that is an excellent lineup.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I've fixed burgers many times on the CI skillet, turn and then into a hot oven.

                2. For game night I don't think you need to go crazy. Why not to make a sub/sandwich bar instead of a taco one. Good rolls, assorted meats and cheese, lettuce and sliced tomatoes. You could whip up some assorted flavored mayos, maybe a pesto and a few mustards. Sides could be as simple as chips or you could make coleslaw. I recently made a kohlrabi slaw that was really good.

                  Instead of burgers you could do spaghetti and meatballs, add some garlic bread and big salad since you know they like all kinds of veggies. However if you are in the deep south that might be too steamy for a summer night. Then again you could do meatball subs w/ cheese and still do the salad.

                  Speaking of pesto you could make a Pesto lasagna. I'm not home but this recipe is pretty close to what I make. Add a big salad and dinner is done
                  http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...