Wednesday, September 26, 2012

60+ Dinners for Picky Eaters

My husband is a super picky eater.  As in bread, meat, potatoes, pasta, and pizza only.  That is simplifying it a bit...he will eat cheese and a select few fruits and veggies too.  His choice in fruits include strawberries, bananas, and oranges and his veggies are limited to broccoli and corn {if you even consider corn a veggie}.

This makes it tough on me to plan dinners and use recipes that I find anywhere without adapting them.  Any dish that is mexican, chinese, barbecue, or spicy is out.  Any onions or veggies in the dish?  Forget it...he won't eat it.  Picky kids are a lot easier to outsmart and sneak veggies in than picky husbands {or wives} are!

I know I'm not alone out there!  There have got to be others who have a picky kid or husband that they have to accommodate :)  Hence, the list of my dinner options for picky eaters.  If you have other ideas, add them in the comments!  I'd love to add them to the list!

A lot of these meals can be made a lot of different ways.  The preparation can be from mostly store bought to totally made from scratch.  And of course, this affects your grocery costs. The more you buy pre-made, the more expensive it will be, but the quicker your dinner prep is.  And the more you make from scratch, the cheaper it will be, but will obviously take longer to make dinner.  Do what's right for your family and your budget!  Plus, you can make just about all of these gluten-free or allergy friendly if your family needs it.

{CP = Crockpot Dinners}

For these pizza dishes, make with sauce {bought or made from scratch} and cheese.  Add whatever topping your picky eater will agree to!  We usually serve with salad or raw veggies & dip for the rest of the family.

1 - Traditional Pizza
      Variations: Boboli pizza crust, refrigerated or frozen crust, pizza crust mix, made from scratch crust

2 - French Bread Pizza
      Variations: With frozen garlic bread, refrigerated bread dough, bakery bread, made from scratch

3 - Pizza Roll
      Variations: Make with refrigerated pizza crust or make from scratch

4 - Pizza Muffins
     Variation:  Make with refrigerated biscuit dough

5 - Crescent Roll Pizzas

6 - Inside Out Pizza

7 - Bagel Pizzas
     Recipe: Top bagels with pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings.  Sprinkle with a little oregano & garlic powder.
     Variation: Use mini bagels for a yummy appetizer for get togethers!

8 - Pizza Dip
     Recipe: In 9x13 dish, spread a block of cream cheese on bottom, then a layer of sauce, then cheese of your choice!  Serve with cut up bagels or full bread sticks for dipping!

9 - Pizzadillas

10 - Chicken Alfredo Pizzas

11 - Deep dish pizza

12 - Calzones
       Recipe: Make 6-8 inch circles from pizza dough, stuff with yummy fillings, pinch edges to close and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

13 - Pull Apart Pizza Bread

Chicken is the perfect dinner meat! It's delicious, lean, and can be prepared so many different ways!
We typically serve our chicken entrees with a potato dish and vegetable side.  I try to make a variety of potato dishes so that Mr. Picky doesn't get bored, but that's another post for another day!

Budgeting Tip:  I buy my chicken breasts in bulk when it's on sale.  Then I use as much as I can to make freezer meals and cut up the rest into the necessary portions {breasts, tenders, cubes, etc}.

14 - Chicken Cordon Bleu {Weight Watchers recipe that we've used for 7 years}

15 - Breaded Chicken Parmesan
       Recipe: Prepare chicken breasts using this breaded pork chop recipe.  Top with marinara sauce and provolone cheese.  Serve on top of linguine.

16 - Grilled Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches
        Recipe: Grill chicken breasts, top with marinara sauce & provolone, serve on buns. {Add spinach leaves for non-picky eaters}

17 - Chicken Tenders
        Recipe: Cut chicken breasts into strips.  Bread using the method in this recipe.  Bake 15-20 minutes until breading starts to brown a tad.

18 - Chicken Marinara
       Recipe: Cook cubed chicken using desired method {boiling, baking, saute}.  Add chicken to pasta {penne, rotini, farfalle} and marinara sauce.

19 - Italian Marinated Chicken Breasts
       Recipe: Marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing at least 1 hr {overnight is best}.  Grill on outdoor grill, on George Foreman grill, or in the oven.

20 - Chicken a la King {CP}
        Recipe: Prepare this recipe without veggies. Prepare mixed veggies on the side {carrots, peas, corn}.  Separate & mix veggies in half for the rest of the family, reserving the other half for your picky eater :)  Serve over country biscuits!

21 - Chicken & Dumplings

22 - Savory Chicken & Noodles
       Recipe: Prepare chicken a la king {above} or Chicken & Gravy {below} and serve over egg noodles.

23 - Chicken Club Sandwich
       Recipe:  Grill chicken breasts.  Top with colby or cheddar cheese & bacon & serve on buns. {Add lettuce or tomato for non-picky eaters!}

24 - Chicken Bites
       Recipe: Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.  Bread using the method in this recipe.  Bake 15-20 minutes until breading starts to brown a tad.

25 - Crispy Chicken Legs

26 - 20 Clove Garlic Chicken {CP}

27 - Chicken & Gravy
        Recipe: Pour thin layer of chicken gravy in baking dish.  Place chicken breasts on top.  Add more gravy and bake for 15-20 minutes or until there chicken is cooked through.

Breakfast for dinner is a treat around here!  The hubby and the kids love breakfast foods.  I generally serve bacon or sausage {links or patties} on the side with most of these dishes.

28 - Pancakes
       I use the recipe from the Better Homes & Garden cookbook 12th edition or this one looks yummy!

29 - French Toast
       Recipe:  Mix 6 eggs, 3/4 c milk, 1t vanilla, & 1/2 t cinnamon in shallow bowl.  Dip bread on both sides and cook on griddle or skillet.

30 - Waffles
       I use the recipe from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook 12th edition.

31 - Biscuits & Gravy
       Recipe:  Brown 1 lb sausage in large skillet, chopping finely as you brown.  Lower heat to low.  Add enough flour to absorb grease {3-4 Tbs}.  Add milk to fill skillet 3/4 way.  Mix and heat and gravy will thicken.  Let cook on low for 10 minutes.  If needed add more flour or milk to reach desired consistency.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Serve over country biscuits.

32 - Cinnamon Rolls
Variations: From canned rolls to Pioneer Woman recipe.

33 - Fluffy Scrambled Eggs & Toast
       Recipe: Beat as many eggs as needed for your family.  Add some milk {I use about 1/3 c milk for 6 eggs}.  Mix well.  Add a few pinches of salt and a few shakes of pepper.  Pour into a skillet on med-high heat.  Keep stirring and scraping with your spatula until most of the "juice" is gone.  It will still be nice and moist from the milk and you won't be left with plain dry scrambled eggs!

34 - Fried Eggs & Toast
       Recipe: Put 2-3 Tbs oil in a warm skillet.  Crack eggs into the skillet and let cook 2-3 minutes or until the whites are getting pretty solid.  Flip and allow to cook for a few minutes on the other side.  This makes the eggs pretty over easy.  If you prefer more solid yolks, add a minute or two to each side.

35 - {BLT - LT} Sandwiches or more simply, Bacon Sandwiches
       Recipe: Cook bacon via preferred method.  I prefer baking in the oven, but I also use the stove top and the microwave.  Serve on bread with mayo/Miracle Whip. {Add LT back in for the non-picky eaters!}

36 - Sausage Biscuits
       Recipe: Cook sausage and serve on country biscuits.  Optional: Add cheese and/or egg to the biscuits.

37 - Omelets
        Recipe: Beat 2 eggs together.  Pour into hot skillet {med-high heat} and allow to "firm" up on the bottom.  Add mixings {ham, sausage, bacon, cheese for picky eaters.  veggies too for non-picky eaters}.  Flip over and cook other side for 2-3 minutes.  Flip out and serve.

Pork is our other go-to meat.  We are mostly a chicken and pork family!  As with the chicken, I usually serve a potato dish and veggie with these entrees.

Budget Tip: I buy chops and loins on sale and freeze them.  I try to do some of the prep work ahead of time (ie. breading them or marinating them) before freezing.  It simplifies dinner time!  I also will buy the whole loin and "butcher" it myself.  I can usually get 2 dinners of pork chops, a pork loin, and pork roast from one whole loin.

38 - Herb Crusted Pork Loin - I omit ginger, cilantro, and lime :)
       Yes, it has onions.  Yes, he still eats it.  But only after he discovered he liked it before he discovered the onions.

39 - Pork Roast {CP}
       Recipe: Place pork in crockpot after rinsing it off.  Apply pepper to outside very liberally.  Add 1-2 inches of water to the crockpot.  Add veggies for the rest of the family {carrots, potatoes, etc.}.  Cook 5-6 hrs on low or 2-3 hrs on high.

40 - Grilled Pork Chops
        Recipe: Marinate in Italian dressing for at least one hour {overnight ideal...or freeze with marinate}.  Grill and serve!

41 - Breaded Pork Chops

42 - Baked Cavatelli

We love pasta dishes at our house, too.  They are filling and yummy!  Plus, it's very budget friendly!  A box of pasta is very cheap and can feed most families with one box.  Add in some jar or homemade sauce and you are set!

If your picky eater likes broccoli or spinach, add some to any of these dishes.

We usually serve our pasta dishes with a salad and either garlic bread or french loaf.

43 - Spaghetti

44 - Baked Penne
        Recipe: Mix cooked pasta, plenty of sauce, and cheese together and place in a casserole dish.  Top with cheese and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

45 - Fettuccine Alfredo
        Easy Alfredo Sauce Recipe or packet mixes

46 - Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
        Recipe for Creamy Garlic Sauce or packet mixes

47 - Cheese Tortellini
       Recipe:  I cheat on these :)  I buy the big bags of frozen tortellini, boil, and serve with marinara sauce.

48 - Cheese Ravioli
        Recipe:  I cheat on these too.  I buy the big bags of frozen ravioli, boil, and serve with marinara sauce.

There is something so comforting about soup.  I love soup.  My picky eater...not so much.  There are a few {as in 2 - #49 and #50} that I can get him to eat.  I included a few others that may be successful with other picky eaters.

These soups are perfect paired with a big yummy salad, sandwich, or french baguettes!

49 - Cheesy Potato Soup

50 - Chicken and Noodle Soup
       My recipe for this changes all the time!  I never really follow one :)  I've attempted to capture what I do here.
       Recipe:  Boil 3-4 chicken breasts in a large pot until cooked through.  Strain and shred or chop chicken while retaining the broth from the pot.  Add 16 oz chicken stock or broth to retained broth.  Add 2-3 spoonfuls of chicken soup base.  Chop 3 stalks of celery and 3-4 large peeled carrots and add to the broth.  Optional: add 1 c fresh chopped spinach.  Bring to a boil and add large egg noodles.  Cook until pasta is al dente.  Reduce heat to low and add chicken back in.  Season with plenty of salt & pepper.

51 - Ham and Cheese Soup
        Recipe:  Use this recipe with or without potatoes and add 2 c diced ham.

52 - Italian Wedding Soup

I don't tend to use a lot of deli meat in my dinners because Mr. Picky takes a lunchmeat sandwich for lunch every day.  As if he doesn't get tired of lunchmeat anyways, I don't want to overwhelm him with deli meat for dinner too.  When I do use it, I try to be creative...and make it warm!

53 - Lunchmeat Calzones
       Recipe: Make 6-8 inch circles from pizza dough, stuff with yummy fillings, pinch edges to close and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Ideas:  Ham & Cheese, Club {turkey, ham, bacon}, Italian {Ham, pepperoni, salami}

54 - Ham & Cheese Croissants

55 - French Dip Croissants

56 - Hawaiian Baked Ham & Swiss - you guessed it...without the onion.

57 - Mini Monte Cristos

58 - Toasty Subs
       Recipe:  Slice sub buns in half and spread with butter.  Toast on a skillet or griddle.  Pile high with meats and cheeses of your choice and bake for 10 minutes in the oven at 350F to warm.  Top with any veggies that your picky eater will eat!

When compiling this list, I realized how little beef is in our diet!  One reason is because its so dang expensive.  The other is because of my picky husband!!  I'm listing a few ideas for ground beef for picky eaters, but in reality, hamburgers is the only beef meal that we currently eat, unless we splurge on steak.

58 - Hamburgers
       Recipe - Apply salt & pepper very liberally to both sides and grill or broil.  Seriously, lots of salt & pepper is the secret!

59 - Fab Flank Steak

60 - Baked Mostaccioli - a family fave {no mushrooms}...just not Mr. Picky!

61 - Spaghetti & Meatsauce
       Recipe:  Brown 1/2 lb to 1 lb ground beef and add to sauce.  Put on top of spaghetti!

62 - Spaghetti & Meatballs

So, let's hear it!  What are your other dinner ideas for picky eaters?  I'd love to do a 2nd post with even more ideas.  And I'm always open to new things to mix it up!


  1. Do we have the SAME hubbies? Unstinking believable!!! Mine is exactly PICKY. He ends up cooking his own food or I get to hear about how I never cook anything for him---cuz u are too picky honey bunny;) I love him to pieces,but what to do,what to do! I end up cooking two separate meals when I do cook for him. He has been ff the last 2 weeks due to returning from Afghanistan. When he returns to work I need a plan. You have saved me quite possibly. I am going to have him go through this list and pick out what he would like to eat! I know he won't do the chicken and dumplings. Though they look fabulous Sarah;)

    So thank you,thank you!!!

    Hope that baby is keeping you smiling and that other little munchkin:):):)


  2. I'm so glad that I'm following you! This is such a great collection, THANK YOU so much for sharing it!


  3. I ma always looking for new dinner ideas, thanks for sharing! And thanks for stopping by our Pretty Things Party. Hope to see you back next week!

  4. How funny!! My husband is pretty picky, too (except he loves cheese, but doesn't eat). One of our favorite meals is making large baked potatoes and putting favorite toppings on (if you make 2 potatoes per person, chop off one end of each, slit them across the top, then put the 2 potatoes together... It looks like one jumbo spud :). We make this the entree of the meal (cheese, sour cream, ranch, and/or bacon bits on top).

    1. Whoops... Never finished that "doesn't eat"... He doesn't eat meat :)

  5. Wow! I'm set! You should make an ebook! That rocks! Thank you!
    New follower from Six Sisters. Love for you to stop by and return the follow when you can ;) I am hosting Moms Monday Mingle tomorrow evening. Love for you to stop by and link up.
    Julie @ Naptime Review

  6. This is perfect for my kids! Thank you for doing all the leg work and putting all these awesome ideas in one place! Cant wait to look around more!

  7. My oldest son is out-of-control picky! Thanks for the list, totally saving it. I would love to have you stop by 'Or so she says...' and share your great idea at the link party, happening right now. Hope to see you there!

  8. Hi Sarah! I'm visiting via the Mom's Monday Mingle Blog Hop! These are great recipes - I'm the picky eater in our family so I will have to try some of these! Following you now! :)


  9. These are great ideas! I'm looking forward to trying them.

    I found you on the Naptime review. Please visit me at

    Have a great day

  10. My husband isn't a picky eater but my son is! I love all these ideas :) I'm going to pin this so I can remember it!

    I"m your newest follower from the Monday Mingle

  11. fantastic ideas!!! love the sound of the creamy garlic pasta

    would love it if you could share this on my link party Serenity Saturday -

    Natasha xx

  12. I will definitely be trying some of these on my picky crew. My hubby is also picky and it drives me nuts at times. I also have a couple picky little ones. I posted a family favorite on my blog. We call it the Good Dinner LOL. It is a wonderful London Broil recipe that my kids LOVE and the hubby too. I am super Mom around here when I make that. Here is the link:
    I came over to visit your blog from the Monday Mingle and I think your blog is great.

  13. Thanks for linking up on 'Or so she says...', hope to see you again tomorrow for another round of 'Your Great Idea'.


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