I’ve been using a themed schedule to plan dinner menus for just over a year now. Earlier this fall, I switched to a new schedule and I’m really enjoying it. Here is the new one (except Wednesday and Thursday got switched because our Bible study night changed). You can find a description of these new themes here.
You can see my original post about this here (with two more schedule options), but I’ll give a quick rundown of my process.
- I came up with themes that would have a lot of opportunities for variety. My first schedule had breakfast for one day, but it ended up being eggs or pancakes every week. Boring! Then I assigned each theme to a day of the week, taking into account my family’s weekly schedule.
- The next step was to find recipes that fit the themes. I get A LOT of the recipes from Pinterest. You can search for “shrimp meals” or “Indian food” or whatever. Then Pinterest also sends you emails based on your searches and saves, so you can get even more ideas there. THEN the algorithm makes your feed even more things similar to your searches. And if you scroll down below a pin you like, there are EVEN MORE ideas. I have a board for dinner recipes, with a sub-category for “meals to try”. If I find something that looks good, then I’ll stick it in there for later.
- Once I have made a recipe and it was a hit, I will print it out and put it in a binder that is divided into sections so I can find it again easily.
That’s it! It’s a little challenging at first, especially when you don’t have a good bank of recipes/ideas. But don’t worry, it does get easier! Also, there are lots of recipes that could span multiple themes, so you have even more options.
Today, I will even help you out by giving you some recipes that I’ve found and my family loves. (I may have already shared some of these, but I’m gonna do it again, mmmkay?) If you want to check out my dinner board to get more ideas, you can find it here.
- These healthy Asian lettuce wraps are delicious, have lots of veggies, and you can also eat them in a regular tortilla or on rice or spaghetti.
- Sneaky zucchini mac & cheese is yummy and a great way to get some veggies in your kids.
- The last time I made these curried chicken salad pitas, Tim said I could make them once a week and he would be happy. Noah loves them too. And if you use pre-cooked chicken, they are ridiculously easy.
- This cheesy shrimp and tortellini one pan meal is probably not terribly healthy, but it is super yummy!
- This very best chicken tikka masala really is THE BEST.
- This teriyaki shrimp is really good, too. I have also used the basic idea to make a sheet pan meal, but I used bottled teriyaki sauce.
- I don’t know how I never knew about sheet pan meals? They are amazing! This basalmic chicken and veggies is really easy and so flavorful.
- OMG, you must drop everything and make these mini meatloaves with green beans and potatoes right now! All three of us were fighting over the last meatloaf. I mean, they’re stuffed with cheese, so what’s not to love?
- This rosemary chicken was super delicious, too!
- Oh yeah, and last night I shredded an apple and a zucchini and added those along with some Greek yogurt, a couple eggs, milk, and some cinnamon to Bisquick to make pancakes. Noah devoured them AND I got him to eat zucchini without complaining. Win!
For soups, I have fewer “winners”, but I’ve got lots of delicious-looking recipes to make. Here’s my soup board if you’d like to check it out.
- This chicken tortilla soup recipe was sooooo delicious and easy. I pulled some pre-cooked and shredded chicken out of the freezer, so it was super fast, too!
- I make this copycat Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup frequently and it is so delicious! The last time I made it, I had pre-chopped/shredded the veggies in the freezer and also used pre-cooked chicken, so it was super fast.
- We actually prefer this creamy chicken tortellini soup with gnocchi. This recipe is delicious and makes a ton!
- Speaking of super delicious, this creamy white bean and ham tortellini soup is amazing.
I hope this was helpful for you. Do you have any recipes that I absolutely must try?
Buon appetito, everyone!