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Do you want to make meal planning as easy as possible? I think we could all use a bit of a break when it comes to planning, right? I've been talking about creating a meal plan blueprint, and how that works for breakfasts and lunches, but now it's time to take a closer look at dinners. If you want a great, no-fuss meal plan, family dinner theme nights might be the answer.
Family dinner theme nights sound a lot more elaborate or time-intensive than they actually are. I'm not thinking Shakespeare every Sunday, or Dress-Up-Like-a-Frog Fridays (although both sound fun). A theme night can be as simple or detailed as you make it, but the idea is that you do the same thing every week.
Here's my family's meal routine:
Sit Down Sunday: This is a nice, sit-down family meal with either roast or chicken, vegetables, and potatoes for the kids. I like to make a whole roasted chicken and use up the leftovers in the following days for lunches. Certain seasons of my life have left me with Sunday as my only day with even a few hours of rest, and when that happens, Sit Down Saturdays make more sense so that I can enjoy leftovers on Sundays.
Meatless Monday: Usually rice and beans, but sometimes a big salad or egg dish fits the bill here, too. I like a simple recipe like this one for a THM E, but I usually use black beans or pinto beans instead of red beans.
Taco Tuesday: If we make rice and beans for Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday is a great way to use up those leftovers. My family devours these Taco Stack Ups, but they are an “S” recipe. That means if I add leftover rice and beans I'll be having a crossover, or I can just serve the rice and beans to the kids and keep the tacos to a strict S.
Whatever Wednesdays: Wednesdays are church days for us, so we usually end up eating leftovers or just whatever works in the time we have. Sometimes it'll be sandwiches and fruit (sprouted bread, lean deli meat, mustard, and fruit for a THM E), sometimes hot dogs or other S foods that heat up quickly.
Throwback Thursdays: I usually have a little more time to cook on Thursdays, so this is the night that we make family favorites and childhood favorites. My kids' favorite and most often requested dish is my Chicken Divan Casserole (S).
Friday is Pizza Night: While I've experimented with Fun Friday, Frugal Friday, and Fish Friday, good old pizza night is our favorite Friday meal (even though it doesn't fit into our overall theme of alliteration). I love to make THM pizza on a fathead pizza dough like this one, but this is a very heavy THM S meal so sometimes I'll go for a low-carb pizza crust from Trim Healthy Table.
Spaghetti Saturday or Soup Saturday: Just like it sounds, soup or spaghetti (since I follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I eat spaghetti squash or zoodles) every Saturday.
The idea of family dinner theme nights is just to keep a blueprint or routine to follow every week. It makes it much easier to come up with meal ideas when you have a basic plan in place!