Menu planning can be challenging sometimes, especially when you’re busy running your household and all of the other things that you do in a week. One thing that I’ve used from time to time to help my menu planning is to come up with a monthly menu plan that takes advantage of themed nights.
This way, you are giving yourself some parameters for when you’re scheduling dinners for the week or month. If there are different theme nights, it helps to narrow your choices.
10 Themed Nights for Your Menu Planning
Large/Traditional Family Meal (or what we called “Feast”)
This is perfect for those Sunday meals that might come a few hours after church. At our house, we call it a feast, because that’s what Noah always used to say when we had a large meal with lots of choices that also usually involved having family or friends over. “It’s a feast!”
Of course, if you really love foods of a variety of ethnicities, you can break it down and have Italian Night, Mexican Night, Asian Night, and so on.
It’s pretty open ended for a theme, but that kind of makes it fun. Does this mean a standard lasagna or does it mean a pesto cream sauce over a fancy shaped pasta. It’s up to you.
Easy Meal or Pizza Night
If there is a certain night of the week that you know will always be crazy, it’s handy to have one day of the week where you know you can get away with sandwiches, leftovers, or pizzas (homemade, frozen, or delivery – your choice or mix it up!)
If there is a certain protein that you know that your family loves, has a lot of recipes for, or you have a lot of, then it might work to set up a night a week with that particular one. Our family really likes chicken, so we have a “Chicken” meal listed twice a month. It doesn’t mean that we don’t eat chicken other days, but it’s our very open ended category involving chicken.
There is a lot of talk about doing at least one meatless meal per week to save money and as a good thing for your health. We have ours written down on Fridays and we actually called it “Meatless or Seafood.” We don’t stick to it all the time, but it’s nice practice for when we have to for Lenten Fridays.
On a one month plan, I only add this once because it is not a favorite of most of the kids. If your kids love soups, then you might be able to get away with this more often.
This is another once a month addition. In a three month rotation, each of the kids gets to pick them meal plan, as long as it isn’t too crazy. In our house, the crazy meal ideas are more likely to come for our youngest wanting to recreate things like “best dinner ever.”
For me and my natural domestic challenged self, this would be too stressful to put on the calendar weekly. However, I do have it on their once a month and it helps us try some new recipes and see what we want to add to future months or what we never want to eat again. I find a lot of these recipes in cookbooks or on my “Lunch and Dinner” Pinterest board.
Breakfast for Dinner
While breakfast for dinner is not typically on the top of my wishlist, our kids love it. Sometimes it’s as simple as scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. Other times, we go all out and have pancakes, fried potatoes, eggs, and more.
Do you use themed nights on your menu planning? If so, what are some of your family’s favorites?
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