Here are 30 Weeknight Dinner Menu Theme Ideas to make meal planning easier! Use this list to help narrow down what to have for dinner using theme nights and browsing over 100 different dinner recipes.
What is a Dinner Menu Theme?
A dinner menu theme is a specific subject or topic of food and recipes that helps provide a more narrow list of meal ideas. For example, for Burger Night, all meal ideas would be related to burger recipes.
What’s on this list?
This is a list of 30 Weeknight Dinner Menu Theme Ideas. Each theme on the list has 3-4 recipe ideas included, so you’ve got a place to start if you’re trying to decide what’s for dinner.
How do I use this list?
The most important thing this list can do is provide you with dinner ideas so you’re less stuck when trying to decide what to eat every evening.
There are a few different ways to use this list of Weeknight Dinner Menu Theme Ideas. Here are my ideas:
- If you’re simply trying to decide what to make for dinner, this list provides tons of options. It’s easy to scroll through and find a topic or area of food that might interest you, because recipes are organized by theme.
- If you’re meal planning for the week and need a place to start, this list of dinner menu theme ideas can be referenced in order to add variety and think of new meal ideas when planning ahead.
- Some people meal plan for an entire month at a time. In that case, this list of 30 Weeknight Dinner Menu Theme Ideas can help add variety to the month of meals and can help ensure you never repeat a dinner meal.
- If you need some inspiration for general cooking, this can also be a helpful list of themes and recipes ideas to get you started.
Baked Potato Night
Potatoes are wonderful and they can serve as the base for a variety of meals! Make the potato the main event instead of just a side by piling on the protein and veggies.
Topping ideas are endless. You can go with classic russet potatoes, or try a sweet baked potato base. Creating a baked potato bar is a great idea to let people customize their dinner!
If you've never had gnocchi, you're missing out on an excellent, versatile base for meals. Gnocchi are small dumplings made out of potatoes. They work in pasta dishes, baked on a sheet pan, in soups, and more!
Gnocchi are very pantry/shelf stable and are a great thing to keep on hand for dinner time emergencies. You can serve gnocchi in vegetarian dishes, or alongside meat main dish recipes. It's quite versatile!
It's Meatless Monday, but it can be any day of the week! If you don't normally cook vegetarian meals, it can be a good way to expand your skills and try something new.
Vegetarian meals do not include any beef, pork, chicken, seafood or other meats, however you can still enjoy animal products such as cheese or eggs, depending on what kind of vegetarian restrictions you prefer!
This is another one of those categories that's a little more broad, but can still help you seriously narrow down the dinner ideas and land on the perfect meal.
There's ground pork, pulled pork, pork tenderloin, pork chops, oh and BACON! I always opt for sustainably raised & heritage bred pork from my ButcherBox meat delivery service.
What comes to mind when you hear the word stew? What kind of stew do you think of? When I hear the word stew, I get a very specific image of rustic hearty beef stew, full of potatoes and warmth.
In reality, there are several kinds of stew, and I'm sure you can find one your family would love. Stick with traditional, or try something new!
Okay, I know tofu isn't for everyone. If you're one of those people, you can skip this one and move right along. But if you like tofu, the door is wide open for tons of dinner ideas!
You can air fry it, bake it, marinate it, stir fry it, and more. I think the options are nearly as endless as the meat themed nights on this list. Some of my favorite food bloggers are really good at tofu, and here are some of their recipe ideas!
Sheet Pan Meal Night
Making your entire dinner on a sheet pan can save you serious time and dishes! There are so many ways to do a sheet pan meals and customize with your favorite proteins, sides, veggies and sauces.
My favorite proteins for sheet pan meals are chicken thighs and wild salmon. As long as you know the cook times and required temperatures of each ingredient, it's easy to make up your own sheet pan meals too!
Seafood night has tons of options, and most of them make a pretty quick dinner! Seafood main proteins, especially fish fillets and shrimp, are super quick to defrost and cook up even faster.
Some of my favorite seafood dishes include baked wild salmon, cilantro lime shrimp, and lobster rolls! You can go as complicated or as easy with seafood recipes as you want. Check out the examples!
Meatloaf might sound super specific, but there are actually lots of different kinds of meatloaf out there. If you can get the family to agree on a recipe, it can go in your permanent rotation!
You can opt for a classic meatloaf with multiple kinds of ground meat, or opt for a leaner ground turkey meatloaf! Or something with a totally different flavor profile - check the list below!
This is another more specific dinner menu theme, but it's easy to put together and loved by all! Go wild on toppings, or keep it simple. Try walking tacos, soft tacos, hard shell tacos, taco bowls, there are lots of options!
When I make tacos at home, I usually go for soft flour tortillas, and lots of sauteed veggies! And of course, do not skip the cheese 🙂
Soup options are endless. You probably don't even need my help figuring out soup recipe ideas! But of course, I've got some for you just in case.
One of the best things about making soup for dinner is that generally, leftovers are meal prep and freezer friendly. I love using Souper Cubes Trays to freeze individual portions. Soup night can be zero hassle if you've got freezer meals ready!
Canned tuna is a classic pantry staple and something you might already have on hand. You'll be surprised at how versatile it can be! A little more specific that seafood night, but possibly a little easier to accomplish with pantry items.
Some of my favorite ways to prepare canned tuna are in tuna noodle casserole, tuna melts, and classic tuna salad.
The absolutely most classic thing on this list. Pizza Night has been around since pizza has been around, I'm pretty sure. This night can be as easy or as challenging as you want! Make your own everything, or put a frozen pizza in the oven. Your call.
If you want to do something in between, you can purchase premade pizza dough and then make it into your own pizza at home. So much easier than dough from scratch!
Have Weeknight Dinner Theme Ideas helped you when it comes to trying to decide what’s for dinner? What’s your favorite theme night? I want to know how you use Dinner Theme Nights to help you meal plan. Share below!