Customizable Meals That Please the Whole Family
Each of these versatile recipes can be made in many ways, letting everyone—picky or not—enjoy dinner.
If Someone Isn't Eating... Fish
It'd be difficult to make a vegetarian version of, say, beef stew, since the beef cooks for hours and infuses the dish with so much flavor. Fish stew, on the other hand, is a cinch to veg-ify, since you add the fish (in this case, any firm white fillet, such as fluke, bass, grouper, blackfish or monkfish) at the end, and it cooks in just minutes. Before doing so, divide the stew—which is a hearty mix of fennel, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes—in two. Then add seafood to one half and plump white beans to the other.
Get the recipe: Vegetarian-Friendly Fish or Bean Stew
If Someone Isn't Eating... Meat
Pizza is the ultimate personalized food (we're fairly certain 90 percent of orders include the words "half-pepperoni"). But making it at home—which is surprisingly simple—makes it even easier to tailor to specific tastes. This basic recipe makes one of the best crusts we've ever had, and you can leave half, a third or even just a slice sausage-, prosciutto- or pepperoniless. (If only we had a touchscreen-enabled table we could use to envision the final product
Get the recipe: Nancy's Pizza Dough
If Someone Isn't Eating... A Dish with Sauce
Picky eaters can have their plain chicken and eat it, too, with this brilliant recipe for the classic Italian-American dish chicken piccata. You pound all of the chicken breasts (the more you flatten them, the more surface area there is to brown and crisp up), dredge them in flour and cook them in olive oil. Take out as many pieces as you need; to the rest, add shallots, garlic and wine, and finish those breasts off with a quick sauce of lemon juice, butter and capers.
Get the recipe: Chicken Piccata-ed or Plain
If Someone Isn't Eating... Cheese
Making lasagna sans cheese seems impossible, but this 30-minute skillet take on the dish shows how it's doable for those with lactose intolerance or an aversion to ooey-gooey foods. You prepare a quick meat sauce, toss in egg noodles, which cook in the pan, and then scoop out and set aside the cheeseless portions. Stir ricotta and shredded Italian cheese blend into the remaining sauced noodles and you're done.
Get the recipe: Easy One-Skillet Lasagna
If Someone Isn't Eating... Spicy Food
Let diners with tame palates have it their way with this veggie-rich bowl, which is reminiscent of tortilla soup. Set out an array of toasted tortilla strips, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, grated cheddar, sour cream and lime wedges for everyone to help themselves—plus a bottle or two of something spicy. Cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper are the traditional ways to bump up the heat, while turmeric, garam masala and pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) will add a more complex layer of flavor and subtle spice.
Get the recipe: Veggie Tortilla Soup with Quinoa