These themed dinner ideas will help you decide what to make for dinner! Just pick one of the meals from this list of dinner theme nights for each day of the week!
One of my favorite memes out there says something to the tune of, “Parenthood is thinking of what to make for dinner over and over again for eternity.”
And I have to say, there are days where I feel that SO MUCH. My kids aren’t even picky eaters, and it’s still challenging to think of dinner ideas for every day of the week.
Although my husband is the cook in our house, I’m responsible for planning the meals and making sure we have everything on hand. I firmly maintain that I have the more challenging role. He thinks differently. We kiss each other and agree to disagree.
One way I’ve found that makes meal planning more manageable is to have themed dinner nights, and I’ve created a master list of dinner themes for inspiration!
Day of the Week Themed Dinner Ideas
Creating a rotation of dinner night theme ideas based on the day of the week makes meal planning so much easier – and who doesn’t love a good alliteration (or several)?
Themes like Taco Tuesday take the guesswork out of answering “Mom, what’s for dinner???” every five minutes, but you still have flexibility on what you serve that night. For example, you could make traditional tacos, but also make a taco casserole or walking tacos. Anything taco-related goes under the Taco Tuesday umbrella!
You can also change the themes each week, so don’t think you have to do Fondue Friday every single week until the end of time. That’s a lot of Fondue.
The beauty of themed dinner nights is that you can adjust them to fit your season of life, budget, and time constraints. Easy dinner night ideas like Mom’s Choice Monday (my favorite) and Sandwich Saturday are perfectly acceptable options that are full of opportunity and won’t break the bank.
Unless Mom loves steak – then it can get a little pricey!
Themed Dinner Ideas for Monday
This is a great budget-friendly dinner theme idea with countless delicious possibilities. You could make anything from eggplant parmesan, cheese quesadillas with beans and rice, or hummus veggie flatbread – just to name a few of our favorites.
Mexican Monday is easily one of my family’s favorite themed dinner nights, and it’s so versatile. Try different Mexican dinners each week to mix it up, like tacos, enchiladas, Carné Asada, and taco salad. This low-carb Mexican chicken casserole is my go-to when I want my kids to eat more veggies!
Let’s face it – Mondays are hard. So to give yourself a little break right out of the weekday gate, have everyone gather in the kitchen to make their dinners together. My kids make their own turkey and cream cheese tortilla roll-ups, and it’s an awesome way for you to spend time together in the kitchen (especially if your kids are older).
This themed dinner night is all about M-O-M, and everyone else just has to follow along. Hungry for spaghetti and meatballs? Done. Want to order takeout? Sure! It’s all about you, girl.
Our kids love this weeknight reversal, where you pick a different movie every Monday and make a meal based on the film. For example, you could make spaghetti to go along with Lady and the Tramp. Then you watch the movie together while you’re eating dinner!
Get in touch with your inner Greek goddess with this summery dinner theme night option. Think seafood, Caprese salad, Greek chicken, and anything glazed in balsamic vinegar. Opa!
Easily a family favorite, Taco Tuesday is one of the most versatile themed dinner nights in existence. Soft tacos, crunchy tacos, taco bowls, walking tacos – the possibilities are endless! If you’re trying to spend less on meat, opt for ground turkey instead of beef or use shredded chicken thighs mixed with taco seasoning and salsa. Yum!
Give your favorite takeout spot some love and kick your feet up by ordering out on Takeout Tuesday. If you have several family members who each like a different restaurant, draw names, play Rock, Paper, Scissors, or guess the magic number to see who gets to pick this week. May the odds be ever in your favor!
I know there are a few (hundred) moms out there who are shaking their heads right now, thinking their picky little eaters will never go for Try It Tuesday. And my suggestion is, just “try it” and see what happens!
Ask your kids to help you find a new dish to make and then involve them in the preparation process. Who knows? You might be able to add a new meal to the goldfish and chicken nuggets rotation.
If you live in a house full of snackers, Tapas Tuesday is the perfect themed dinner idea for your family. The word “tapas” is Spanish for small plates of food, appetizers, and snacks that are traditionally served before a meal.
However, you can serve a variety of tapas as dinner and give your little snack fiends exactly what they wanted the whole time! If you’re searching for inspiration, check out my snack plate dinner ideas!
Or, your kids will also love these bite-sized Chicken Parmesan Meatballs… They’re just three ingredients and super easy to make!
Turkey may only get recognized for one holiday out of the year, but it deserves far more attention than that! Think of all the mouthwatering dinner night ideas you could make with turkey – turkey burgers, turkey meatloaf, turkey tetrazzini, turkey and rice casserole…your family will just “gobble” them up.
Okay, don’t hate me. I had to!
This dinner night theme is all about whatever you have in the fridge, pantry, or on the kitchen counter that can be turned into a meal. This is a great opportunity to clean out the leftovers before they make their customary journey from fridge to trash can, or if you’re feeling creative, try making a whole new meal with what you have on hand.
I like to leave Wacky Wednesday wide open for interpretation, but I like to think of these meals as being a little out of the ordinary while still being quick and easy to prepare. Think ham and cheese crescent roll-ups, chicken and waffle sandwiches, mashed potato pancakes, and anything else that sounds oddly delicious!
If you’re craving breakfast for dinner, Waffle Wednesday is the answer to your prayers. Whether you’re making Belgian, minis, cake mix, buttermilk, or even Egg-O waffles, it’s a crowd-pleaser every single time.
Travel the world from your dining room table by making foods from around the world. This is also an excellent way to help your kids learn about other cultures and traditions. You can make dinner even more fun by playing trivia games for a different country each time.
Relive the most-loved meals of your youth with this fun themed dinner idea where anything from Rice Krispie treats to Cool Ranch Doritos is fair game. Macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and Lunchables are also perfectly acceptable options.
Craving a slurpy noodle dish you’re determined to eat with chopsticks? There are so many easy and delicious Thai recipes that feed a crowd and even work in a few veggies for the kids. Pad Thai, Thai noodles, Thai chicken, and chicken satay are a few go-to meals to start with.
I love themed dinner nights that save money, especially when there are so many amazing recipes out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg to prepare. For example, buy a few cans of beef stew and a box of cornbread mix for an easy and filling meal for the whole family. Or try your hand at making homemade pizzas instead of ordering delivery.
Practice gratitude year-round with Thankful Thursday. This is where you pull out all of your most-loved Thanksgiving recipes, although don’t try making them all at one time. No one needs that kind of stress in their lives!
You can also go around the dinner table and each say something you’re thankful for as a reminder that no matter how tough some days may be, there’s still plenty of reasons to be grateful.
Dinner Theme Ideas for Friday
Who knew that Fish Friday could be a regular thing outside of Lent? I usually see what type of fish is on sale at our local grocery store and then find a recipe for that specific type. Our family loves fish in foil and pan-fried salmon, and they pair well with steamed broccoli or asparagus and rice pilaf.
You mean I can make a meal out of creamy melted cheese and just dip all kinds of mouthwatering tidbits into it? Count me in!
While you may not want to have fondue EVERY Friday, there’s nothing wrong with fancying things up a bit once a month, and you don’t even need a fondue pot! Just grab some Italian bread, pretzels, fruits, and whichever meat you like and bask in fondue heaven.
Whether you’re a fan of southern fried chicken or air fried potatoes, this dinner night theme is all about crispy, crunchy fried goodness. You can either choose to make an entire meal of fried food or just one dish, although your arteries might thank you for the latter.
My husband and I enjoy thinking of themed dinner ideas that involve everyone in the family, which is why Family Favorites Friday is such a popular choice in our house.
You can ask each family member to write down a list of their favorite foods, and then you select from those items each week. It’s a guaranteed way to make sure your picky eaters will actually clean their plates!
Parents with young children will love this fun and simple dinner theme night because let’s face it – toddlers probably wish that every day was Finger Foods Friday. Some tasty finger food ideas include fried mac and cheese bites, pepperoni pizza rolls, sandwich rolls, and mini pigs in a blanket.
You can’t get much easier than stir-fry, and the good news is that there are so many different food combinations and recipes to try! Mix and match different meats, veggies, and even fruits to discover your family’s next favorite one-skillet meal.
Sushi might be a bit more on the complex side to make at home, but you’d be surprised how many easy sushi recipes are out there. I like to skip the whole rolling aspect altogether and make my own sushi bowls with cauliflower rice. Easy peasy.
When you have a job, kids, and all of the other million responsibilities that come along with adulting, this themed dinner night can be a real life-saver. Just throw a slow cooker liner in your crock pot, dump in the ingredients, and head off to those back-to-back soccer games without a care in the world.
Sheet pan dinners are another quick and easy option for the weekend, especially since that’s when families tend to cram in all the activities and chores they couldn’t get to during the week. I know that’s not just me! So throw some cuts of meat and veggies on a cookie sheet, toss with some oil, and head on down to flavor town.
Here’s another dinner night idea where everyone can gather together in the kitchen around a bunch of sandwich fixings and make their own culinary masterpiece. All you need is a loaf of bread, several different kinds of deli meats and cheeses, and any additional toppings.
If there’s one thing I CANNOT resist, it’s some good ol’fashioned soul food. Bring on the corn bread, greens, and baked macaroni and cheese, baby! Sunday is the perfect day to relax, unwind, and pour a little extra love into your evening meal.
Spaghetti is another fan favorite at our house, and it’s so inexpensive to make. You can sub ground turkey or Italian sausage for beef, and there’s no shame in using a jar of sauce instead of spending eight hours over a hot stove making your family’s treasured marinara recipe. Save that for special occasions.
Ah, soup. So versatile, so delicious! Whether you’re making your own or grabbing a few cans at the store, you can complete your Soup Sunday meal with some tossed salad and warm, crusty bread.
This easy Creamy Shrimp and Corn Chowder is one of our family’s favorites:
Weekends are the perfect time to choose meals that require a bit more preparation, so make Sunday your night to explore new seafood recipes for the family. Seared scallops, tuna melts, and cajun salmon are a few of our favorites.
If you love the idea of themed dinner nights but aren’t crazy about alliteration, sneak these ideas into your meal plan every now and then. You can choose dinner themes for a few nights a week or even designate one day of the week as your “Themed Dinner Night,” and just try a dinner theme one day a week to make it more doable.
- Fondue Night – dip bread, veggies, fruits, and meats into cheesy fondue
- Clean Out the Fridge Night – use up ingredients in the fridge that are nearing their expiration date
- Pizza and Pajamas Night – Order a pizza or make pizza egg rolls at home and snuggle up on the couch in your jammies
- Breakfast for Dinner Night – Make your family’s favorite breakfast foods that you don’t have time to make on weekday mornings
- Charcuterie Dinner Night – put together a big platter of meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, etc.
- Make Your Own Sandwich Night – get all of the sandwich meats, cheeses, condiments, and bread options out on the kitchen counter and let everyone create their own sandwich
- Potato Bar Night – Fix everyone a baked potato and lay out all kinds of topping options
- BBQ Night – Fix dinner out on the grill or make pulled pork/chicken in your slow cooker
- Gourmet Grilled Cheese Night – Not all grilled cheese sandwiches are created equal, so treat yourself to the gruyere once in a while!
- Grill Out Night – Great option for warm summer nights or during the fall
- Pasta Night – Lasagna, manicotti, and bowtie are all equal contenders (along with a tossed salad and breadsticks)
- Soup and Salad Night – Channel your inner Olive Garden by serving up your family’s favorite soups and stews along with a crunchy green salad
- Holiday Night – Discover different holidays around the world and the foods that go along with them
- Chili Night – Perfect for a crisp fall or cold winter night, and so many different variations to try
- Brunch Night – Get extra fancy with all your favorite brunch recipes like french toast casserole, hashbrowns, and pancakes
- Casserole Night – The ultimate comfort food you can customize for every taste bud, season, and meal plan
- Fix It and Forget It – Nothing better than being able to chuck everything into your slow cooker, let it do its thing, and savor the results
Free Printable Themed Dinner Ideas List
Want to print these themed dinner ideas to hang on your fridge when you’re seriously lacking in the creativity department? Just click the link below to download this super cute dinner ideas list:
Even More Dinner Ideas
Want even more dinner ideas? Check out these posts:
The Ultimate List of Meals for Dinner – Get 100+ dinner ideas and a super cute printable list to hang on your fridge for inspiration!
Snack Plate Dinner Ideas for Kids – Snack plate dinners are one of my favorite easy meal ideas for kids… especially for busy Moms that may not have time to make three different full meals every single night to accommodate different kids’ tastebuds! Hop over to grab a cute printable list to hang on your fridge, and just mix and match proteins, dairy options, fruits, veggies, and grains for a well-rounded and easy meal!
And if you need more help with planning your meals for the week, then check out this post for some super cute FREE Printable Meal Planners!
I can honestly say that working dinner theme nights into my meal planning has been a game-changer, and I hope it will be for you too! Do you have any ideas to add? Drop a comment below!
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