December 5, 2013

75+ Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Guys, I have a confession to make.

I'm the totally annoying lady that knows what she's making for dinner every night for the next month.

I have a whole SYSTEM, you see, with menu cards, and grocery lists, and all that good stuff. What I've noticed over the years, though, is that my system doesn't work for everyone, and that’s okay! Your family is not my family, and what we like to eat might not be your thing. For example, before kids, I was all about the seafood. But now, I have a child with shellfish allergies. BOOM! New plan. Menu planning is an ever evolving art as your family grows and changes.

What IS helpful, is finding out what other families eat.

You just need ideas! Some simple inspiration! Sometimes, you just need a reminder of what types of meals you COULD be eating. I personally have pulled out my menu, and thought to myself, “Oh yeah, I forgot we like to eat that!”. So that’s all we’re doing today. I’m going to share some of the dinners that I like to make for my family. I’ll even include what I do for the side dish! (But sometimes there is no side dish. That’s just how it goes folks.)


  • 7 layer Burritos
  • Shredded Beef Tacos
  • Chicken Mole Tacos
  • Pollo Fundido
  • Chicken Tortilla soup
  • Enchiladas (TONS of variations here!)
  • Bean and cheese quesadilla
  • Fajita’s
  • Fajita quesadilla
  • Nachos Supreme
*standard sides are beans, rice, salad, and fresh salsa, mmmm.


  • Stir fry (my all time favorite stand by. most of the time, it’s strictly veggies too!)
  • Teriyaki Chicken
  • Orange Chicken
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Moo Shu Pork
  • Teriyaki Salmon with asparagus
* standard sides are rice, noodles, and egg rolls


  • Spaghetti and Meatballs (meatballs are not mandatory) with green salad
  • Lasagna
  • Chicken Cacciatore
  • Pizza (lots of variations here too. My favorite is spinach and feta or fresh tomatoes, husband likes ham and pineapple, kids like pepperoni and veggies. Served with celery and carrot sticks.)
  • Fettuccini Alfredo
  • Fettuccini with Pesto
  • Roasted red pepper and clam pasta bake
  • Green bean and bacon pasta toss
  • Ravioli and green beans
  • Calzones
  • Herbed chicken with tomato balsamic vinagrette
* I think green beans taste great with anything Italian.


  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs (go crazy with the toppings)
  • BBQ Ribs
  • Kabobs
  • Lemon Pepper Salmon with baked potato and wilted spinach


  • Enchilada casserole
  • Mexican lasagna (this one is fun!)
  • Thanksgiving Casserole (stuffing, chicken or turkey, peas, and gravy. Serve with cranberry sauce)

Breakfast for Dinner:

  • Pancakes
  • Crepes
  • Frittata
  • Quiche
  • Waffles
  • Potato Surprise (It’s like a hash. potatoes, onions, peppers, veggies, then add an egg at the end and scramble it up. It’s a surprise because the ingredients are ever changing.)
  • Cherry cheese blintz
  • French Toast
  • Omelets
* breakfasts usually include whatever fruit I happen to have, and sometimes bacon, sausage, and scrambled eggs and hash browns.

Classics and Comforts:

  • Roasted chicken with root vegetables
  • Meatloaf and mashed potatoes plus a green vegetable
  • Macaroni and cheese (Try new variations! Right now, we’re big into jalapeno and bacon mac&cheese)
  • Beef Stroganoff and peas
  • Chili and cornbread (I make chili a hundred different ways. no recipe. just throw it in the crock pot and let it go)
  • Ghoulash with green beans
  • Grilled cheese and Tomato Soup
  • Pork Chops with applesauce, peas, and stuffing
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Shepherds Pie
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Pot roast with carrots and potatoes
  • Honey glazed ham

Family Favorites:

  • Chinese Sundaes aka Hawaiian Haystacks (Bonus: use the leftovers to do a veggie stir fry the next day. Also, we add maraschino cherries to top our sundaes off. It sounds weird, but it’s delicious)
  • Baked Potato Bar
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Submarine Sandwich (I get a french roll, and make one giant sandwich, then cut it into smaller pieces)
  • Chicken Wings
  • Indian Fry Bread
  • BLT’s with four bean salad
  • Reuben sandwich with fries and a pickle
  • Fish and Chips
  • Black bean and corn salad
  • Pulled BBQ Pork sandwiches


  • Posse Stew
  • Taco Soup
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Clam Chowder
  • Baked potato soup
  • Cabbage stew
  • Hamburger soup
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • French onion soup
  • Broccoli Cheese Soup


Emergency Dinners - because sometimes, it's that kind of day

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
  • Cheese Crisp
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal.... from a box. with milk. no judging. 
  • Corn Dogs
  • Cold Sandwich (tuna, ham, turkey, veggies, whatever.) 
  • Ramen 
  • Leftovers
  • The Drive Thru 

Now tell me: what do YOU eat for dinner?