Make Theme Night Meals for a Fun and Simple Dinner!
Adding Theme Night meals can turn your meal plan from ordinary to fun and simple.
Meal planning can come in handy, in more ways than one. First, it helps us to know what we are having for dinner each night, thus avoiding that dreaded ‘What’s for dinner’ question.
Secondly, it helps keep our budget in line by cooking at home, rather than heading out to eat or picking up dinner in a drive thru.
An added bonus is that by cooking at home, you have more control over the ingredients, flavor, and costs involved. But all too often, we still have that same dreaded question, even when trying to plan ahead.
Theme Night Meals to the Rescue!
You have heard of Taco Tuesday, I am sure. But to create theme night meals, take it a step further. Instead of limiting it to just tacos, consider a Mexican night.
Tacos can certainly be on the menu. But there are other Mexican style meals you can fix. Quesadillas and Fajitas are an easy meal to make. Enchiladas are also easy to make. And with enchiladas, you can make a double batch and place one in the freezer for those hectic days.
If you love Italian, consider Spaghetti, Lasagna, Fettuccini Alfredo, and Cannelloni. All of these can be made in larger batches and frozen. Think Crawfish Etouffee or Gumbo for a Cajun night.
A salad, soup, and sandwich night can easily be created with leftovers from a dinner of baked chicken and vegetables.
Creating a meal plan doesn’t have to be boring. Instead, just set aside one night a week for Theme Night meals. And those meals you cook at home not only save you money, but will taste better, as well!
Ideas for Theme Night Meals
Make it Mexican
When you are creating a meal plan for the week, you may have listed a Mexican Theme night. It sounds good on paper, but what exactly do you want to serve?
Tacos, or a Taco Salad are good and easy options. You don’t need the pre-formed shells to make it either. Just place tortilla-style chips in the bottom of the bowl and add taco meat, shredded lettuce, and diced tomatoes. From there, top it with sour cream, grated cheese, and jalapenos. Then serve it with a side of salsa.
Enchiladas are another great dinner for Mexican Theme Night meals. I’ve shared this recipe before, but if you didn’t save it to your recipe box, you can find it on my website HERE.
Quesadillas are also simple to make but does take a bit more time than a Taco Salad. They can range from just cheese melted in a folded flour tortilla, to adding chicken or steak strips, sauteed onion and bell pepper, or any other stuffing you like. Just fill the tortilla, fold in half and place in a hot skillet. Toast until lightly browned, flip it over, then toast the other side. Remove from the pan and serve.
Make It Italian
Pasta is one of the most cost-effective and versatile ingredients you have in your pantry. And the meals you can create with it are endless!
Here are some great things you can do with pasta:
Spaghetti – with red sauce and/or meatballs
Pizza – it is even better if you make them at home – including your own Pizza Sauce!
Fettucini Alfredo – don’t be afraid to add other ingredients, such as shrimp, chicken, broccoli and more
Salad – a Simple Pasta Salad makes a perfect light and easy meal!
Lasagna – choose the way you like it, with meat and or vegetables in the layers
Your Theme Night meals don’t have to focus on a type of ethnic food. You can create any type of theme you want. The theme can be a celebration such as a birthday, where you prepare the celebrant’s favorite meal. Take the weather into consideration and have a Picnic, or a Snow Day meal and serve soup and a loaf of homemade bread.
You can also give a nod to a simpler plan, such as Meatless Mondays. On these days, you can serve salads that are accompanied by cheese, crackers, and fruit.
Another way to celebrate Theme Night meals is to use ‘Heritage’ recipes. Dig through those old family recipes and choose a meal you remember from childhood. Ask your family what meals they remember having at Grandma’s, and track down the recipe, if you don’t already have it.
More than Just a Meal
Theme night meals aren’t just about putting dinner on the table. You can also get creative.
I have to brag for a moment. My daughter is very creative. Recently, she was trying to find a way to have date nights with her husband at home. Both of them love movies and music from the 40s. She came up with the brilliant idea to combine their love of food, cooking and old movies.
She started with the book Movie Night Menus: Dinner and Drink Recipes Inspired by the Films We Love. From there, she chose a movie, created at least one of the recipes, and set a small table in front of the television.
And she didn’t stop there. These two decided to also ‘dress the part’, so their simple meal turned into a romantic date!
This idea turned out so well she decided to use the same premise to create a Family Movie night. She chose movies that were her children’s favorites and created meals that were the same – or at least similar – to the food the characters enjoyed.
Theme Night Meals Make Meal Planning Easy
When you are creating your meal plan, don’t get stuck in a rut. Instead, think outside the box, get creative, and learn to enjoy dinner time. Not only will you answer the ‘dreaded question’, but you may have the family rushing to get to the table!