Are you feeling in a rut with your meal planning? One of the best ways to overcome this mental stumbling block is to assign themes to your nightly meals. This practice will provide inspiration as well as deliver a guide as you plan your dinners for the week. Here are a few of the best meal theme ideas to consider for your family.
Meatless Monday: Even for the most meat-loving family, you may be surprised at how many amazing meal ideas you can come up with for meatless Monday. Picking one night a week to eschew meat in favor of more vegetables can deliver significant health benefits. This easy sheet pan dinner is hearty without the meat. The addition of chickpeas provides a hefty dose of protein to the meal while the Old Bay seasoning ensures that all of the veggies are packed with flavor. Serve the vegetables over whole-grain brown rice or quinoa for a complete meal that will feel like an indulgence despite its high nutritional value.Read More »
Leftover Thursday: Thursday is a great night of the week to clean out the fridge and eat up all of the leftovers from the week before you head into the weekend. You can make this a challenge by trying to create fun meals from the ingredients left in your fridge. If you do not want to make everyone fend for themselves, try using your leftovers to make one meal for everyone. For example, the leftover vegetables and chicken from the week before could be repurposed into a hearty soup.
Breakfast for Dinner: Breakfast foods should not be limited to the first meal of the day. These foods also make a great dinner option when you feel as if you need to shake up your meal routine. It is a good idea to serve a mix of savory and sweet items if you are serving breakfast for dinner. For example, these peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes make a great side addition to a vegetable omelet or a frittata. Serve them with a side of breakfast meat and a bowl of fruit or a smoothie for a well-rounded meal.
Pizza Night Friday: Friday is made for pizza, making this a natural choice for this night of the week. Kick off the start of the weekend by making homemade pizza for the family. Every great pizza starts with homemade dough. This easy dough recipe is the base for all of your pizza creations. With just six ingredients and only minimal kneading required, you will never go back to store-bought dough again. From here, you can invite your family or guests to add the toppings of their choice. Serve your pizza with a green salad and the beverage of your choice and you have a great meal worthy of the end of the week.
Appetizer Extravaganza: Once the weekend rolls around, you may not feel up to preparing a big meal for your family. There is no shame in creating a meal out of traditional appetizers. This is a great idea for family movie night or to watch the big game. You can choose to make it easy with a variety of frozen apps that you can pop into your oven, or go with a few simple homemade favorites. These spinach artichoke zucchini bites are a breeze to whip up while also delivering a boost of nutritional value with every bite. Or go with a big charcuterie board stocked with a myriad of meats, cheese, and crudites.
Pasta Night: Who does not love a heaping plate of pasta? This is a great option if you are serving a large group or if you are on a budget. Simply prepare a few different types of pasta shapes and serve them alongside a couple of different types of sauces. Having one vegetarian and one meat sauce is a good approach. In addition to the standard tomato-based sauce, try this easy homemade alfredo sauce. With copious amounts of heavy cream and butter, this sauce is a true indulgence. Top this alfredo sauce with grilled chicken or shrimp or let it stand on its own.
Sandwich and Soup Night: While some may turn their noses up at simple sandwiches, there are a number of ways that you can elevate an easy soup and sandwich night to a special meal. Try making grilled panini sandwiches for something a little different. Or go with a gourmet grilled cheese paired with a bowl of homemade soup to warm the belly. However, this themed dinner should not be reserved for cooler nights. There are a variety of cold soups that will work well during the hot summer months. This creamy summer gazpacho is a fantastic way to harness the best flavors of the season with a cool soup. You can also make this soup up to one day in advance, making it a good choice if you know you have a busy day ahead.
These eight themed dinner ideas should provide you with plenty of inspiration the next time that you sit down to meal plan.
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