If the pandemic’s protective protocols are getting to you, and you are looking for different dinner options instead of the same easy mac and cheese, try these ideas to enjoy a different kind of dinner.
Have a Culinary Adventure
If you cannot go out, order takeout, and pick up a delicious and exciting change of palette for dinner. Try something exotic from a Caribbean restaurant and pretend you are having a tropical vacation. Rustle up some grub over a backyard campfire and enjoy the starlit sky. Shop for a variety of cheeses and set up a fondue meal with a colorful tablecloth and floral centerpiece. Doing something apart from the ordinary will add zest to dinnertime to make it more interesting and fun.
Make a Creative Meal
Invite everyone to cook an item for dinner. Someone can set up beverages, another can plan the entre, with additional contributions of the appetizer, bread, and dessert. Younger children can draw or paint placemats for the table. Use the special dishes or opt for paper plates and plastic cutlery, depending on the style of meal that will be served.
Take a Themed Approach
If everyone is in the mood for Mexican, coordinate all the dishes in that meal group. For example, you could serve chips and salsa as an appetizer with home-made tacos or enchiladas for the main item. Accompany it with fried corn or Tex-Mex cornbread. Include all the expected accessories, like guacamole, sour cream, black beans, and other toppings. Do the same for any food style everyone is clamoring for. You might even dress for the occasion if you have themed casual wear to put on. Play some relevant background music while dining to complete the festive mood.
Plan a Progressive Dinner
Although progressive meals are usually staged around the holidays or special events, organize one now to make dinner truly memorable. A progressive dinner involves dining at one place for appetizers, another for dinner, and a third for dessert. Some groups have more than one host home serving dinner options that are usually light, so people can eat at more than one home to try different things. With social distancing in place, order takeout from three or more favorite restaurants and eat your dinner in stages at picnic tables between each place or in the car for a picnic in progress.
Swap Meals With a Friend
Cook double of a favorite meal and switch with a friend who does the same. Each of you can then have a night off from cooking dinner while enjoying someone else’s favorite recipe.
With a little planning and effort, you can pump enthusiasm into dinnertime by trying new ideas like these.