Theme Nights: It’s Tuesday – Sandwich Night!

Last year my husband started a new job which took him out of town each week, Monday – Friday and sometimes Saturday. He actually had an apartment in another city (which was actually sad little place, with rented furniture, yet somewhat heavenly as there were no toys, empty juice cups and random socks strewn about like our house – almost like a vacation. It was hard to feel sorry for him as I heard about his after-work runs, trips to the gym, dinners out with co-workers,  and yes, he signed up for a yoga class).

In any event, this definitely rocked our family’s world, yet of course our goal for our three children was life as usual and time marched on.

Something that worked for my kids and me at dinner time was theme nights. Each week we would designate a theme for each dinner – I would often let the kids decide – albeit I would limit them to only one pasta night each week. Some themes we had fun with were:

Pizza Night – I would use store-bought dough – either fresh dough from the grocery store’s prepared foods aisle or a tube of pizza dough. Pre-baked shells work too. I would let the kids make their own pizza – I would set out pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, veggies, etc.

Sandwich Night – There is nothing wrong with a sandwich for dinner – I would let the kids pick from turkey, ham, tuna, cheese – even pb & j! – and decide hot or grilled in the sandwich press, always with whole wheat bread and with baked chips and fruit on the side.

Breakfast for Dinner Night – Breakfast is the easiest meal in my house – my kids would eat it for all three meals if they could. Pancakes, eggs, bacon (my kids like turkey bacon), fruit – all good selections. My mom used to even pull out Cereal Night when I was growing up. I loved it – it’s all in the presentation.  

Cookout Night – It’s fun to have grilled hot dogs, sausage,  turkey burgers, hamburgers – even in the middle of winter. And cooking on the grill = less dishes. Throw on your parka and fire up the gas grill. I would stand out in the yard at the grill in the 20 degree weather and enjoy my glass of wine while the kids watched TV and I got some peace. This was also empowering as I had never known how to turn on the grill before this time – needless to say, I became the grill master.  

I have continued theme nights even though my husband is now home – he is not so big on the Breakfast for Dinner night but Pizza Night is definitely a favorite across the board. Do you have any theme night ideas? I am always looking to add to the repertoire.

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Rachael Ray