Wednesday Night Dinner Ideas? SWH ADDED

Updated on March 22, 2016
P.1. asks from Albany, CA
21 answers

So for the past 2 years, I have been doing "family dinners" on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The dinner invite is extended to my adult daughter and granddaughter, and my mother on those nights. The rest of the nights, it is just the folks that live under my roof for dinner. Starting this week, I am changing to Wednesday and Sundays, with every Sunday meeting at a restaurant so we can pick up our one son who lives in a group home and he can join us for family lunch (he was just transferred closer to us so we can do this now).

I would like to do the same dinner every Wednesday. Cook enough for 10 - 12 and the invite is open to whomever is wanting to come - if only 6 show up, then I have extra lunches for the rest of the week. If everyone shows up, I should still end up with 1 lunch for my husband the next day. The problem is figuring out what the one dinner should be . . . I have ruled out spaghetti since my daughter makes that quite a bit, it wouldn't be a treat to have it on Wednesdays at my house. Also, lasagna is ruled out for the same reason. We talked about tacos, but my 2 yr old granddaughter isn't a big taco fan (overall, though, no one is really a picky eater). Beef roast with carrots and potatoes is a possibility . . . Meatloaf could be done, but I would need two pans (which I could do). Pizza is a definite no.

My thought with having the same dinner is 1. eliminating the question one night a week "what's for dinner." 2. Being able to plan and buy in bulk for this one night a week. 3. Simply eliminating the figuring out dinner one night a week.

Thoughts on great family dinner ideas?

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So What Happened?

First, I just have to say: Gamma - really? *sigh* you are something else.

Everyone else: Thanks for all the great ideas! Makes me hungry just reading them all :)

Featured Answers


answers from Danville on

Now that the weather is getting better (theoretically at least) what about a 'grill' night?

Most any meat is better on the grill, and then salad on the side? Home made potato or macaroni salad?

One of my favorite items for larger groups was 'shish k bob'. I would have out several different kinds of meat in a marinade (cut into chunks), and then all kinds of veggies from which to pick. Guests were in charge of their own 'bob'. I would have a salad and a rice pilaf (or cous cous), and everyone was free to make whatever combo suited them.

I think the idea of a family dinner every week is a nice one. But, if it were me, I would try to make it special, but easy on ME!!


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Meatball sandwiches, hot roast beef sandwiches, grilled ham and cheese made in a panini maker or hoagies. Then you can vary the sides (fruit salad, pasta salad, French fries). As you can see I am not much of a cook.😉

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from St. Louis on

Generally every Sunday the whole family comes over. We buy something from Costco and smoke it. Pork bellies, port butts, briskets, chickens..... The kids usually request the sides. A lot is sent home with the kids so they have food for the week too. It is kind of funny because the kids show up with their storage containers for the leftovers.

Um, Gamma, good to know your specific religion has Wednesday services but actually, most don't. Also not sure what the heck that had to do with menu planning when clearly the OP does not share your religious beliefs.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well I was going to suggest a "pasta feed" with garlic bread, Caesar salad and maybe changing sauces each week, marinara, pesto, Alfredo, etc. but your spaghetti/lasagna comments make me feel like that's not really what you're looking for.
What about a soup night, or chili or stew? With a soup night you could also do rolls/bread sticks and change up the kind of soup each week so it doesn't get too monotonous.
You could also have some fun with it, maybe pancakes/breakfast for dinner?
Taco/nacho bar?
Sandwich bar during the summer, with good rolls, meat and cheese.
Salad night, make a hearty salad with plenty of protein, meat, nuts, eggs, cheese, etc.
Hot dogs and/or burgers with all the fixins.
Casserole night, basic green salad on the side.
Chinese or Asian night, stir fry with rice or noodles.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I guess it's only me but I'm thinking I would tire quickly if the same thing is offered every single Wednesday. It might be ok at first but will get old I think. I would be more willing to think of a few things and rotate it than have only the one thing every week.

If you do decide to do it I would do a BBQ of burgers, hot dogs and chicken (maybe use different marinade/sauce each time?). Side of Mac n Cheese and sliced watermelon. Big bucket of ice cream for dessert (different flavor each week?). That way at least you can have an option on meat. JMO. Good luck.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

A turkey
Cook up a couple of roaster chickens.
A ham
A pot roast
A leg of lamb (or lamb stew)
Split pea soup (actually - if you make it a soup night, you can rotate various soups by the season - there are SO MANY to pick from!).
A large pan of home made mac n cheese
A big scrambled egg breakfast casserole bake (it's not just for breakfast anymore!).

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would still do taco night. Would your granddaughter eat just a plain flour tortilla with melted cheese like a roll up or quesadilla? Personally, I like variety, so I would not want to have ham or meatloaf every single Wednesday. The taco idea is great because you can vary it so much - ground beef, shredded chicken or ground turkey can be different weekly. You can have corn and flour tortillas available; people could use lettuce to make a taco salad. Change up the cheeses, like a mex mix, shredded cheddar, or a jack cheese. The toppings are easy to prep and assemble (most are healthy too) like lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos, black olives, salsa, sour cream, black beans, refried beans, etc. You could add cheese sause and guac dip too. There is a lot of fun possibilities with tacos and it's not like having the exact same thing each week since everyone can mix it up according to taste.
ETA: sorry about my grammar or punctuation errors - typing up a response on here is a bear!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

if you end up not going to church on wednesday night :)
then a few ideas
beef stroganoff
pot roast
chicken parm (with rice instead of pasta)
(i don't count tacos as dinner, i mean it's ground beef and chips)
roasted chicken pieces with potatoes and carrots (make in two big disposable pans) and a salad.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

why not do tacos? Your grand daughter can either adapt or she can have a quesadilla.

Burrito bars work out great too...then you have leftovers for breakfast too!!
Fajita bar....sliced bell peppers and onions with chicken and beef
sides would be black beans or refried beans and rice

Enchiladas are pan could be chicken and the other beef.

Is there a problem with BBQing hamburgers? You live in California, right? It's not like you live in New York and there's snow....heck! nothing really stops us from grilling but lightning!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Not sure why a 2 year old granddaughter who won't eat tacos is the problem. A taco bar lets everyone choose what they want for fillings and toppings. You can make most of the options ahead of time in small bowls or tupperware, and just add in the fresh stuff at the last minute. Pre-cook ground meat or cut up roast chicken, grate cheese (or use the pre-grated cheese in the bag), dice tomatoes/green peppers/red peppers, rinse/drain beans and chopped olives, maybe some defrosted frozen peas or corn. At the last minute, shred some lettuce, put out bottled hot sauce. If the child only eats a taco shell or a tortilla (soft tacos), fine. Put out some cheese cubes and some diced veggies (peppers, maybe). You can put out some sliced carrots too. You can serve a side dish of rice, or beans/rice - I make rice for this by using some tomato puree instead of some of the water, and adding some coriander and cumin to the water as well.

Alternatively - salad bar. A lot of the same ingredients as above, but you can do some cottage cheese, cubed tofu, Asian veggies, any leftovers from a prior night (shredded chicken, noodles, whatever). Have a bowl of lettuce and one of spinach, and 3 dressings. Done.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would still do the tacos because you can make a huge quantity easily.
Meatloaf is always a crowd pleaser. Experiment ahead of time trying to cook 3 at the same time
to ensure they cook evenly and all the way through.
I would do pulled pork in a crock pot or two. Just buy the biggest one you can find. Serve on buns w/coleslaw
and baked beans.
Definitely do the pot roast with carrots and potatoes.
I would do a big baked ham one night. Easy (just throw into the oven). Serve w/mashed potatoes & biscuits.
How about 2 big pots of soup, salad and bread?
You could easily do hamburger night. Serve w/green salad, potato salad & macaroni salad.
Bbq ribs, corn, biscuits & salad.
Steaks, corn on the cob, salad.
Google the cooking show "Pioneer Woman". She has an episode where she does all these make ahead meals and
freezes them for her family. They looked like good ones & might be right up your alley.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Awe, this makes me wish I lived closer to my parents. I really like the idea of a big salad with meat on top ie steak or chicken. Maybe with a side of mac and cheese.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

And if your church, like mine, doesn't meet for service on Wed nights :) (Still shaking my head over that one!)...

Try pot pie that can be frozen and then put in the oven. I never met a kid who didn't like pot pie! I know they're full of fat, but... yum! Big salad, voila!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My parents come over every Sunday for football during the season and family game day/night when football is over. We do different things every time so no one gets bored. The same thing every single week would bore the heck out of me. We sometimes order out, sometimes do appetizers, sometimes do big just depends, but we don't get bored at all. And we plan for at least 12 people as well. Sometimes my brother or sister and her two kids will come.

If you're going to stick to the same meal, maybe just do chicken and rice/potatoes and a vegetable. Then you can vary it. You can marinate the chicken differently or do different rice/potato/vegetable sides.

We would LOVE taco's though. My 10 year old doesn't really care for them, so he always makes nachos when we have taco's.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

homemade chili and cornbread

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I like felinestroller's suggestion of a kabob night. You can marinate meat and cut veggies in advance. Tacos are, IMO, a pain. So many toppings to prep, so many little bowls and spoons to clean up...pre-heating the shells or warming tortillas. So much work and cleanup!

If managing kabobs are a pain (which I can totally see in my family...that's mine, no that one was mine!) then just grill everything, throw it on platters, serve with a couple of cold sides (salad and potato salad or something) and you're done!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

How about individual meatloaf muffins, or mini meatloaves made in small bread pans? Bake lots of potatoes to go with them. If there are extra potatoes, scoop them out and make loaded potato skins on the weekend, or make baked potato soup (Hard Rock cafe's recipe is online and it's excellent).

Or meatballs. Do a different take on meatballs each time, like pork with pineapple pieces, or Italian, or chicken with spinach, or Asian, or Swedish or Mexican. Serve with rice or noodles or baguettes or vegetables.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I vote for enchiladas, since you can make them ahead of time and also reheat easily the next day for leftovers. Plus, chips and quac and mexican food are fun to have once a week and don't get old.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Tacos don't have to be ground beef. I had one son who would not eat any ground beef till he was in highschool. So no tacos, spaghetti, sloppy Joe's etc. However for him I got a bag of grilled chicken. When the rest of us had tacos I threw a handful of the grilled chicken in a pan and he had that on his taco shell. Might work for you. Also just a plain cheese quesadilla might work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Enchiladas. Lots of possible fillings and, unlike tacos, they reheat well!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, most people go to church on Wednesday evenings so your plan wouldn't work for most. I assume you've taken religion into your change of plans....

Tacos can be taco salad, taco burgers, cheese tortillas, soft tacos, crunchy tacos, etc....we love taco night because everyone eats something different that they like. My girl will put Colby cheese on her flour tortilla and warm them in the microwave for 22 seconds and have yummy cheese tortillas. Then eat a few spoons of taco meat on shredded lettuce. I've also used taco flavored TVP from Emergency Essentials so it's basically a non-meat meal. Some like meat and cheese on a flour tortilla and some like to take a warm corn tortilla then spread some butter on it then pile on the refried beans, meat, and cheese on top of it. Taco night is usually a hit with everyone.

I think you are overthinking this. Let them know what you're having and they can bring something for that 2 year old if they don't think they'll eat what you're serving.

Think of things that restaurants have that we seldom take time to prepare.

Meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, white gravy, corn or green beans and warm rolls.

Turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and maybe a salad.

Chef salads where everyone puts their own ingredients on. Everyone can bring some too.

Taco night. Do it more open where other things can be done with the foods offered.

Italian night, chicken Parmesan. Flatten out, roll in Italian seasoned bread crumbs, fry it, keep it warm in the over. Make a homemade marinara sauce, cook some pasta. On the table you put it all out and everyone puts the pasta, chicken, sauce, top it with a slice of Mozzarella cheese, then add a side and wonderful garlic butter Parmesan rolls. Do a Chianti pasta or a pizza casserole or something like that this is yummy and kid friendly.

One of our favorites is Lion House Sweet and Sour Meatballs. I make a double batch of Oven Steamed Rice. If I want to do a side with this I pick something without a strong flavor. The sweet and sour flavor needs to stand alone so you can savor it.

When making the Lion House Sweet and Sour Meatballs one need to double the sauce recipe. Make the meatballs smaller rather than larger so the sauce flavor will permeate them more. Use a good BBQ sauce that doesn't have a weird tang to it. I use Head Country regular and it's okay. I don't use that sauce for any other BBQ foods though. I don't really like it, I use their Smoke flavor when I'm eating BBQ.

Speaking of BBQ, do burgers and hot dogs on the grill. You can do the fresh veggies on it too.

Baked potato bar. They can bring their favorite topping if they want. I like to buy some Jim Beam Pulled Pork from the Meat section at Walmart and top my baked potatoes with that. I also like to do a good chili on one occasionally. Not much into broccoli and cheese on it though.

There are many meals you can come up with if you just think about what's on menus from your favorite restaurants. That's where I come up with a lot of new ideas.

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