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Let’s make your meal planning easier! Add some of these fun and easy family dinner theme night ideas into your routine menu.  I am a mother of six, and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to come up with new meal ideas every week. 

That’s why I suggest incorporating theme nights into your weekly dinner menus. By selecting a unique theme each night, you can enjoy a range of meals that are simple to plan and enjoyable to prepare. 

lady at computer and writing on a paper

So let’s jump into creating some fun and easy dinners for your family this week. I will provide some creative and straightforward dinner theme night ideas to make mealtime a breeze.

🖨 Be sure to print your copy of my free Family Dinner Theme Night Ideas Planner.

What Are Family Dinner Theme Nights?

family eating in kitchen around bar

Family-themed dinner nights are a fun and easy way to add diversity to your regular meal rotation. It breaks the monotony of repetitive menus and introduces new flavors, ingredients, and cooking styles into your weekly meal plan. Meal plan theme nights are perfect if you are in a meal planning rut!

Why Have A Themed Dinner Menu?

Having family-themed dinner nights helps create a fun and memorable meal for the whole family. Using a themed menu also introduces new variety to meals, and encourages exploration of different cultures.

family at table then pictures of meals

Themed dinners will make any night of the week dinner fun for the entire family and easier for you to plan your weekly dinner menu.

When planning your weekly dinner menu, it’s important to define the goals and needs of your family. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Likes and Dislikes: Consider the taste preferences of your family when planning meals to ensure that everyone enjoys the food and looks forward to mealtime. If you have picky eaters, be sure there is one item on the menu that they will enjoy.
  2. Budget: When it comes to your grocery budget, planning your meals in advance and choosing cost-effective ingredients can help you get the most out of your money. Utilizing leftovers and meal prep can help you stretch your budget further. It’s important to set a budget for your groceries and stick to it to create financial stability,
  3. Time: When planning your meals, consider your family’s schedule. If you have a busy week coming up, opt for quick and easy meals that only require a little preparation time.
  4. Variety: This is where dinner theme night comes in. You want to make your meals fun and easy for you. Choose a dinner theme to narrow down your main dish, salads, and sides. As you look through recipe ideas, be sure to have proteins, vegetables, and grains. This will help ensure your family gets a balanced and nutritious diet.

How Do I plan a dinner theme night?

Dinner theme night planner with printable pages for planning and sheets of theme night ideas and how-to planning pages

Say goodbye to mundane dinners and hello to a world of fun with over 70+ meal theme ideas, a comprehensive how-to guide, and printable planner worksheets. No need to spend hours racking your brain for themed menu ideas – let this planner be your secret weapon in creating memorable dining experiences for your family and friends.  Get ready for fun and unique meal planning to become a breeze.  

Fun menu ideas:  International, Pick A State, Fusion, Marry Me Dinners, DIY Food Bar Ideas, and many more.

  • 70+ Unique and Fun Dinner Theme Ideas
  • Pre-Menu Planning Worksheet
  • Dinner Theme Ideas Brainstorming Worksheet
  • Monthly Theme Worksheet
  • Weekly Meal Planner Page
  • Grocery List
  • Theme Night Menu Printable
  • You get a clickable PDF with tons of fun recipes to incorporate into your meal planning. 

How To Start Planning A Fun Weekly Menu

  1.  Scroll through this extended list of fun dinner themes. When you see a dinner theme that would be a good fit for your family, write it down under the Dinner Theme column on your Family Dinner Theme Night Ideas sheet. 
  2. Next, consider recipes you already enjoy as a family that might fit this theme. Pull out any cookbooks, recipe cards, or your favorite recipe app that you like to use. Gather some recipes and fill in your Main Dish, Sides, Salads, and dessert ideas.
  3. Hole punch your Family Dinner Theme Night Ideas sheet and place it into a binder. This way, you can pull it out and use it to quickly and easily brainstorm menu ideas in the future. 

International Dinner Theme Cuisine

Let’s explore the world by creating unique and fun dinner menus using various cuisines from different countries. 

International dinners, italian, greek, asian, mexican
  • Mexican Party Food Fiesta: Serve tacos, enchiladas, guacamole, and margaritas.
  • Italian Pasta Party: Offer a variety of pasta dishes, garlic bread, and tiramisu for Mexican desserts.
  • Japanese Sushi Night: Serve a selection of sushi rolls, miso soup, and green tea ice cream.
  • Greek Meze Feast: Offer a spread of Mediterranean Greek Recipes such as appetizers like hummus, tzatziki, spanakopita, and baklava.
greek dinner dishes and party decor
  • Spanish Tapas Soirée: Serve a range of tapas dishes like patatas bravas, croquettes, and churros with chocolate sauce.
  • Chinese Dim Sum Gathering: Offer an assortment of dim sum items like dumplings, buns, and egg tarts.
  • Thai Street Food Feast: Serve popular Thai street food dishes like pad Thai, green curry, and mango sticky rice.
  • Moroccan Tagine Night: Prepare flavorful tagine dishes with couscous, falafel, and mint tea.
  • French Bistro Experience: Serve classic French dishes like coq au vin, beef bourguignon, and crème brûlée.
  • Brazilian Churrasco Barbecue: Grill an assortment of meats like picanha and sausage, along with feijoada and caipirinhas.
  • Hawaiian Luau: Prepare dishes like kalua pork, poke bowls, copycat Zippy’s Chili Recipe, and haupia for a tropical feast.
  • Indian Dinner: Prepare different types of curry dishes, naan bread, and Toor Dal.
Indian dinner party dishes

Seasonal Dinner Theme Ideas

A seasonal dinner theme is an easy way to incorporate fresh seasonal produce into your dinner. 

4 tables with people eating, sommer, winter, fall and spring

Summer Dinner Themes:

  1. BBQ Bonanza: Fire up the grill and serve up classics like burgers, hot dogs, grilled vegetables, and fresh fruit skewers.
  2. Summer Seafood Soiree: Highlight the flavors of summer months with a seafood feast featuring grilled shrimp, fish tacos, ceviche, and refreshing seafood salads.
  3. Tropical Paradise: Create a tropical-inspired dinner with dishes like Hawaiian grilled chicken, coconut rice, mango salsa, and pineapple upside-down cake. You could also grill some hot dogs and top them with the famous Zippy’s Chili Sauce copycat recipe. 
  4. Picnic in the Park: Prepare an assortment of sandwiches, salads, and finger foods like deviled eggs, fruit salad, and lemon bars for a delightful picnic-style dinner.

Fall Dinner Themes:

  1. Harvest Celebration: Embrace the season’s flavors with dishes featuring butternut squash, roasted root vegetables, apple cider-glazed pork chops, and pumpkin desserts.
  2. Oktoberfest Feast: Pay homage to the German tradition with bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels, German potato salad, and apple strudel.
  3. Cozy Comforts: Create a comforting dinner with dishes like hearty soups, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and warm apple pie.
  4. Farm-to-Table Delights: Highlight local produce with dishes incorporating autumn ingredients like roasted beets, caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, and cranberry-infused desserts.

Winter Dinner Themes:

  1. Festive Holiday Feast: Prepare a traditional holiday dinner with roast turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and festive desserts like gingerbread or fruitcake.
  2. Soup and Stew Night: Warm up with a variety of hearty soups and stews, such as chili, chicken noodle soup, French onion soup, and beef stew.
  3. Comforting Casseroles: Serve comfort casseroles like macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, lasagna, and tater tot casserol.
  4. International Winter Flavors: Explore global cuisines with dishes like Moroccan tagines, Indian curries, Italian risottos, or Chinese hot pot to bring warmth and flavor to the winter season.

Spring Dinner Themes:

  1. Garden Fresh Delights: Celebrate the arrival of spring with fresh salads, grilled vegetables, herb-roasted chicken, and light fruit desserts.
  2. Easter Brunch: Host a brunch-themed dinner with dishes like quiche, smoked salmon, fresh pastries, spring salads, and colorful desserts.
  3. Spring Pasta Party: Prepare pasta dishes with fresh, seasonal ingredients like asparagus, peas, and lemon, along with light sauces and herb garnishes.
  4. Spring Picnic: Enjoy a picnic-style dinner with sandwiches, wraps, fresh salads, and refreshing drinks to embrace the mild weather and blooming surroundings.

Comfort Food Dinner Themes

Your dinner table is a place to relax after a long stressful day or a particularly emotional day. Comfort food will help set the tone for everyone to unwind, talk about problems, and receive encouragement from each other. These dinner menus will feature classic dishes that are your family’s favorites. Choose recipes such as mac and cheese, meatloaf, pot roast, or your grandma’s famous casserol or soup. 

🖨 Be sure to print your copy of my free Family Dinner Theme Night Ideas Planner.

Family Favorites Dinner Theme

For this menu idea, ask each family member to pick one favorite recipe. One member could do a favorite side or main dish. Another could pick a favorite salad or dessert. Serving recipes that are beloved by your family and easy to prepare is a great way to include everyone in a special dinner. Focusing on family traditions builds memories and strengthens family bonds. 

One Pan Dinner Theme 

One pan dinners are a great help for a busy mom. If you know the family will be having a hectic day, one-pan dinners are a great option to schedule on busy nights. One-pan dinners keep prep time to a minimum and clean up super easy.

nacho casserole on a plate
Beef Nacho Casserole
If you are looking for an easy one-dish Mexican meal idea then you need to try this Nacho Casserole. It has layers of classic nacho ingredients layered between tortilla chips or Doritos smothered in a creamy beef and cheese sauce. This casserole can be made the morning before dinner, kept in the fridge then bake for dinner for a warm quick dinner.
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35 Minute One Pan Pasta Dinner (vegetarian)
35 Minute One Pan Pasta Dinner (vegetarian)
A simple one-pan pasta dinner that’s ready within 35 minutes! Made on the stove in a skillet, noodles cook to al dente in a fresh tomato garlic sauce.
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Lemon Thyme Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
Lemon Thyme Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
This Lemon Thyme Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner is an easy meal. It’s simple to prepare and a great option for a weeknight dinner. You’d never know it was gluten-free and Whole30 compatible.
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Meatless Monday Dinner Theme

Having meatless meals on your weekly menu is a budget-friendly option for refreshing and light family dinners.

  • Veggie Stir-Fry
  • Vegetarian Tacos
  • Vegetarian Chili over french fries
spaghetti on a plate
Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Sauce
Spaghetti Sauce With Fresh Tomatoes is a simple vegan recipe that is full of delicious Italian flavors and a touch of spice. When you make this recipe your home will be filled with the aroma of roasted garlic, tomatoes, and herbs just like an Italian grandma's kitchen.
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Fishy Friday Dinner Theme

Seafood or freshly caught local fish-themed meals is a great dinner idea. Your main dish could be fried fish, grilled shrimp, crab cakes, etc. Serve with a simple side dish of coleslaw and store-bought frozen hushpuppies. 

lemon butter tilapia with cilantro
Lemon Pepper Tilapia
Pan-seared tilapia with lemon butter is sure to be an easy dinner the whole family will love!! This mild-flavored fish is infused with a hint of tart lemon, cilantro, and sweet, creamy butter perfect for a family dinner. The best part is, it only takes 10 minutes to cook making it perfect for busy weeknights!
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Budget-Friendly Dinners 

Involve your kids in planning this menu theme, as it presents an excellent opportunity to teach them a valuable life skill. Show them that cheaper ingredients can often be as good or even better than their expensive counterparts. Learning how to make affordable recipes that can feed a family without overspending is an essential skill.

Party Foods Dinner Theme

One of my favorite dinner themes is perfect for celebrating milestones in a family member’s life. You can make any day of the week a party! The menu consists of simple finger foods, appetizers, and snacking-type recipes. The dinner will feature a table full of these delicious options. If you are budget minded check out these Budget Friendly Finger Food Recipes.

People talking and images of Budget Friendly Party Finger Food Recipes

Grilling Out Dinner Theme

Grilling out is a great dinner theme to create a festive summer vibe dinner. It also makes clean-up easier if you cook all your recipes on the grill. 

  • Hamburgers and Hot Dogs with Chili Sauce
  • Grilled Chicken and seafood such as shrimp or fish
  • Grilling veggies makes a great side dish. Try mushrooms, zucchini and corn in the husk.

Slow Cooker Dinner Themes

Slow cooker meals are a great choice if you need to prep in the morning and let the slow cooker work for you all day. It’s a hands-off easy meal approach to cooking for a busy night or an easy slow cooker Sunday dinner.

pollo verde on a bed of rice with cilantro and peppers chopped on top
Slow Cooker Pollo Verde
You will definitely want to make this delicious and easy Slow Cooker Pollo Verde Recipe highlighting a fresh roasted salsa verde. A step-by-step guide will show you how to make this mouth-watering Pollo Verde dish with a simple and quick tangy salsa verde recipe.
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Slow cooker french onion soup mix chicken on a plates with rice and parsely on top. Fork with a piece of shredded chicken on a fork
Chicken with French Onion Soup Mix Recipe Slow Cooker
This French onion soup mix chicken in the slow cooker is a simple and tasty dish perfect for busy weeknights. All you need is a few basic ingredients and a little bit of time, and you'll have a hearty and satisfying meal that everyone will love!
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Pick A State Dinner Theme

Plan on serving various dishes from specific regions or states. This menu is a great time to try new recipes to teach the family members about other parts of your country. 

map of the united states with food pointing to which state it is famous for like peanuts = GA
  1. Southern Comfort: This theme focuses on the delicious and hearty dishes from the Southern United States. It can include classics like fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, cornbread, shrimp and grits, and pecan pie.
  2. Tex-Mex Fiesta: A Tex-Mex-themed dinner celebrates the vibrant flavors of Texas and Mexican cuisine. It can feature dishes like tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, guacamole, salsa, queso dip, and churros.
  3. New England Clambake: This dinner theme highlights the seafood-centric cuisine of the New England region. It typically includes steamed clams, lobster, corn on the cob, boiled potatoes, and coleslaw. If it’s cold out then make
  4. Midwest BBQ Bash: The Midwest is known for its barbecue traditions. A BBQ-themed dinner might include Kansas City-style ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, cornbread, baked beans, coleslaw, and apple pie.
  5. Pacific Northwest Seafood Feast: This theme showcases the abundance of fresh seafood from the Pacific Northwest. Dishes can include Dungeness crab, salmon, oysters, Clam chowder recipes.
  6. Cajun Creole Night: Inspired by the flavors of Louisiana, a Cajun Creole-themed dinner can feature dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, shrimp boil, red beans, and rice, beignets, and pralines.
  7. Hawaiian Luau: A Hawaiian-themed dinner brings the tropical flavors of the islands to your table. It can include dishes like kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, poke bowls, Zippy’s chili recipe, pineapple upside-down cake, and coconut haupia.

Fusion Dinner Theme Ideas

Here is a fun dinner theme; make it fusion. Fusion dinners are a combination of different cuisines and flavors. Here are some examples:

hot pots filled with asian food on a table
  1. Korean-Mexican Fusion: Combining Korean flavors like kimchi, bulgogi, and gochujang with Mexican staples like tacos, quesadillas, and burritos.
  2. Indian-Chinese Fusion: Incorporating Chinese cooking techniques and ingredients into traditional Indian dishes such as fried rice, noodles, and Manchurian dishes.
  3. Mediterranean-Latin Fusion: Combining the bold flavors of Latin America with the fresh, light ingredients of the Mediterranean, such as grilled fish with chimichurri sauce or tacos with tzatziki.
  4. Thai-Japanese Fusion: Infusing Japanese dishes with Thai flavors such as curry, lemongrass, and chili peppers.
  5. Southern-French Fusion: Blending Southern comfort food with French techniques and ingredients, such as shrimp and grits with a creamy béchamel sauce or fried chicken with herbs de Provence.
  6. American-Korean Fusion: Incorporating Korean flavors into classic American dishes, such as Korean BBQ pulled pork sandwiches or kimchi-topped hot dogs.
  7. Italian-Asian Fusion: Combining Italian pasta dishes with Asian ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger, such as spicy sesame spaghetti or stir-fried noodles with Italian sausage.
  8. Middle Eastern-Latin Fusion: Blending Middle Eastern spices and ingredients with Latin staples like tortillas, guacamole, and salsa, such as lamb kebab tacos with tzatziki sauce or chickpea and avocado tostadas with harissa.
  9. African-Asian Fusion: Incorporating African spices and flavors into Asian dishes such as Ethiopian-spiced ramen or curry made with North African harissa.
  10. French-Vietnamese Fusion: Combining French cooking techniques with Vietnamese ingredients and flavors, such as pho with a French twist or beef bourguignon with lemongrass.

Date Night or I Love You Dinner Theme

For I love you theme night dinners, choose some recipes known to be served at a romantic dinner. It’s a fun way to make everyone feel loved or celebrate a special occasion. 

Romantic Steak and Baked Potato Dinner

whiskey marinade in a sealed jar with pieces of garlic floating on top and a bottle of whiskey setting behind the jar
Steak Marinade
If you want a fabulous juicy steak then you need to make this Whiskey Steak Marinade. This easy steak marinade is a combination of whiskey, garlic, lemon, and Worcestershire that brings out bold flavors in your juicy steaks. All your friends will rave about your steaks!
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Perfect Air Fryer Baked Potatoes Recipe salt and pepper
Quick Baked Potato
Making the perfect crispy skin, quick baked potato can be a bit of a challenge. However, I have found the secret to perfect baked potatoes every time! This air fryer baked potatoes recipe makes a light and fluffy inside and a crisp salty outside every time.
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Marry Me Dinner Theme

Marry Me Cornish Hens on a white platter with sauces all around them
Marry Me Chicken
Merry Me Slow Cooker Chicken has a rich and creamy gravy with bites of sweet chewy sun-dried tomatoes and herbs all smothered over juicy cornish game hens. They are perfect for a special occasion, but best of all, they are easy to prepare and cook on their own in your crockpot.
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green jacket salad on a plate with masters program book next to it
Green Jacket Salad
The famous Green Jacket Salad Recipe is sure to be a hole-in-one with your family. A tangy vinaigrette made with fresh and dried herbs, sliced green onions tossed with crisp greens, and tomatoes. Add crunchy pita chips and top with freshly ground parmesan cheese. You will have a salad that is sure to become a family favorite.
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DIY Dinners Theme Ideas

DIY-themed nights are a great prep-ahead meal idea. You are preparing a food bar for convenient serving.

Taco Bar Ideas

Set up a taco bar for Taco Tuesday. Everyone will go through and make their own favorites on taco night. 

Mexican Food Bar Dinner Table with bowls of mexican ingredients

Mexican Dinner Meat Options:

how much taco meat for a crowd in a bowl with taco seasoning next to the bowl.
How Much Taco Meat Per Person
If you are hosting a Mexican dinner party, this is the taco meat recipe you will need to know how much taco meat per person to serve. Blend in the authentic homemade taco seasoning with quality beef, and your tacos are sure to be a hit with everyone.
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Tortillas:

  • Soft flour tortillas
  • Corn tortillas (both regular and small street taco size.
corn in basket, corn tortillas falling in basket and mesa
How To Heat Corn Tortillas For A Crowd
This informative guide teaches you how to heat corn tortillas for a crowd and gives you great tips to keep them warm.  Discover stovetop techniques, oven methods, slow cookers, and even grilling options to cater to different cooking setups.
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Toppings:

  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or queso fresco)
  • Diced tomatoes, chopped onions, lime wedges, chopped lettuce and cilantro
cowboy candy pickled jalapenos in a canning jar
Cowboy Jalapenos
Cowboy jalapenos is the perfect way to preserve a bunch of jalapenos in a sweet and spicy sauce. These sweet hot peppers are perfect on burgers, diced into Mexican foods, added to dips.
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green tomato salsa without tomatillos in bowl with chips and peppers by it
Green Salsa Recipe Without Tomatillos
This green salsa recipe without tomatillos is an easy recipe made with fresh ingredients such as tart green tomatoes, onions, chilis, garlic, and lime. This green sauce is perfect for all Mexican food types, such as tortilla chips or tacos. You will never want to buy salsa Verda in your grocery store again.
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fermented salsa in bowl with jalapeños and tomatillos by it
Fermented Salsa Recipe
Fermented salsa can be used in any recipe that calls for regular salsa as a topping for tacos and a dip for chips!
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Additional Taco Fillings and Sauce Ideas:

Pizza Night Food Bar

  1. Buy ready-made mini pizza crusts.
  2. Put sauce, cheese, and all your favorite pizza toppings in bowls.
  3. Have everyone go through the line and make their own pizza.
  4. Place each mini pizza on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Write family members’ names next to their pizza and bake. 

Italian Night Food Bar

a group of Italian meals with italian flag overlaid

 For this DIY Italian dinner party, cook a big serving of your family’s favorite pasta and sauce. Next, fill bowls with some fun toppings. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired: 

  1. Grated Cheese: Sprinkle on grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or another favorite cheese on top of your pasta.
  2. Fresh Herbs: Finely chop and sprinkle fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or oregano over the pasta to add a burst of freshness.
  3. Toasted Bread Crumbs: Lightly toast breadcrumbs in olive oil or butter until golden brown and sprinkle them over the pasta for added crunch and texture.
  4. Sautéed Vegetables: Cooked vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach can be added to pasta and sauce for extra flavor and nutrition.
  5. Roasted Garlic: Roast whole garlic cloves in the oven until soft and caramelized, then mash them and mix into the sauce or spread them over the pasta for a delicious, mellow garlic flavor.
  6. Red Pepper Flakes: If you enjoy a bit of heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes over your pasta for a spicy kick.
  7. Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Add a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper to enhance the overall flavor profile of the dish.
  8. Toasted Nuts: Crushed or chopped toasted nuts like pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts can provide a delightful crunch and nutty taste.
  9. Fresh Lemon Zest: Grate some lemon zest over your pasta to add a bright, citrusy aroma and taste.
  10. Fresh Tomatoes: Add diced or cherry tomatoes to your pasta for a spurt of freshness and juiciness.
  11. Olives: Sliced or chopped marinated Sicilian olives, such as Kalamata or green olives, can add a briny and savory element to your pasta.
Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe in a bowl
Sicilian Olives
Bring a little Sicily to your table with this delicious Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe. The olives are infused with fresh herbs, garlic, dried oregano, a pinch of chili pepper for heat all smothered in extra virgin olive oil and white vinegar dressing.
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Baked Potato Bar

Bake potatoes and then fill bowls with chopped bacon, chili, sour cream, cheese, pulled pork, and other items your family likes to stuff potatoes with. Check out Topping Ideas For A Potato Bar.

Prep-Ahead Party Topping Ideas For Baked Potato Bar

Breakfast For Dinner Theme 

I have a lot of fond memories from my childhood when we had breakfast food for dinner. It was probably a busy day, and my mom didn’t know what to make. She made a simple meal of pancakes and sausage links. It was a fun treat to do something out of the norm. 

Cracker Barrel Cheesy Hash Brown Recipe on a plate
Cracker Barrel Cheesy Hash Brown Recipe: Crock Pot
This copycat recipe is made with thawed hash browns, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, onion, and cheddar cheese and can be prepared in the oven or slow cooker. It is the perfect side dish for any meal, and the whole family will love it. 
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Leftover Night Contest Theme

Leftover night is the perfect solution when you need a fridge cleanout. Add a fun twist by adding in a family challenge. Encourage family members to get creative with their leftover combinations. It can be fun to see what unique and delicious dishes everyone comes up with using the available leftovers. Award a prize for most creative. 

Dinner Theme Ideas?

💡If you have any fun dinner theme ideas that were not on this list, please drop your ideas in the comments below. Let’s help each other make dinner time fun and memorable!

lady at computer planning her family weekly menu with a printable planner

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