This was one of my most popular posts on my previous blog on building relationships, so I thought I would post it here as well.
When I was growing up, we had this tradition of sorts. Every once in awhile, we would have a very spontaneous on-the-spot type of meal in our home. The four of us would go to the grocery store and secretly choose whatever we wanted to eat that night. Then we would all gather at the checkout counter, pay, go home, make our portion of the dinner, and enjoy a “crazy dinner”.
We ended up with some of the most ridiculous, silly, and fun meals ever!
My husband and I carry on this tradition every once in awhile – you know, those days you don’t feel like cooking, nothing sounds good, and you are tired of the same food! Or, those days when you don’t really feel like figuring out a new, well balanced meal for the family.
We did this awhile ago and this was our meal the first time we included our daughter in this game. We all had to choose something for dinner that could be found in the frozen food department, and this is what our meal looked like:
Yes, that is dinosaur chicken nuggets, quesadilla wraps and a cookies and creme pie! It was awesome, silly, highly un-nutritious, and a lot of fun! So, if you are tired of the same old recipes or want to do something a little different for a family fun night, consider your own Crazy Dinner!
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Free reign – everyone chooses whatever they want
- Everyone chooses something with a certain color in it
- Everyone chooses something they have to actually make
- Choose food groups for each person (growing up we had a jar with 4 cards of each food group, so often we could end up with 2 main dishes and 2 desserts, or 3 side dishes and a fruit/veggie.
- Keep a $5 spending limit
- Pick a number of items the dish has to have
- Choose a theme – Mexican, Asian, Italian, German, etc…
- Keep to certain aisles
- Everyone choose something that doesn’t need to be heated
Have fun with it, be spontaneous, but most of all, just spend time with your family! We like to make a night of Crazy Dinner when we do this. We turn the TV off, take a family walk/bike ride, come back and settle into pajamas, choose a puzzle or a game, and we have a great time!
A couple of tips:
1) If you have someone in the family who struggles with spontaneity, secretly tell that person what you plan to do that night. Give them the “theme” and allow them time to think through what they would want to make that night. This enables them to have fun with it too instead of feeling pressure and stress when it is time to go to the store.
2) If your family is in the process of grieving, this could be a great way to do something a little bit differently, especially when nobody feels like cooking. However, if there is one person who is having a particularly difficult time that day, they may not want to go to the store. Do your best not to let this stop your plans for the night. Ask them to think through what they’d like to make that night (even if it is carrots and dip) and purchase the items for them. Generally speaking, as they see the excitement in the others, they are more likely to come around and enjoy the night. (This has been tested!)
3) Invite another family or couple of families over for Crazy Dinner and have a party.
Be sure to also check out my post on 35 Themed Dinner and a Movie nights…