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All Dinners | Beef | Chicken | Pork | Pasta | Rice | Potatoes | Casseroles

6 Different Types of Dinner Dishes

A variety of Thai food,

It’s the question asked in every household around the world every single day, “What’s for dinner?” If you’re like most families, the question is often up in the air until someone goes and looks through the fridge or pantry to see what’s available. If you’re more of a planner, perhaps you meal prepped or have a schedule of what’s going on with your groceries.

In an effort to have a more diverse menu, I’ve developed a schedule so that I can try a wild variety of meals and have that question answered at least a week in advance. That, of course, comes after years of being tired of looking aimlessly in the cabinets and having to go to the store a few times a week.

To help pass on the tools to have a more reticent schedule, here are some dinner dishes that will provide you with some inspiration! To be better organized, I’m going to separate them into popular types of cuisine.

American food from the past shouldn’t be overshadowed by modern convenience

Various American food

There are plenty of videos online where people from around the world try American snacks or American versions of cultural dishes. It never goes well. If our food doesn’t taste like real food, it’s a far cry from what the dish is supposed to taste like. It’s kind of embarrassing, as an American.

However, there is one takeaway we can get from those videos and it’s about catering to American tastes. We’re guilty of over-cheesing Mexican food, under spicing Indian food, and breaking our Italian noodles before putting them in the pot. That’s similar to saying we like extra cheese, not too spicy, and easier to grab items.

So, it makes sense that the most American food is hotdogs. There’s more to us, though, than fast and easy food. With that being said, here are some good dishes that America can be associated with.

Clam Chowder

Just hearing the name makes me want to grab a sweater. Clam chowder has become synonymous with New England and chilly days. The mix of clam, potato, cream, herbs, and more has become a staple of the coastal region. Many have taken that idea and spread it across the US with their own versions of the now-famous favorite.

Biscuits and Gravy

Growing up in the south, I can almost taste the thick, buttery biscuits smothered in sausage gravy as I write about it. This became a massive favorite of southerners during the depression. Flour can go a long way and using the grease from the sausage can make your gravy last longer. The gravy is almost sort of brown when mixed with freshly fried sausage. Then, pouring it over those biscuits is basically asking for a nap. Thanks to the carb overload, this is not the dish you’d have before a busy day at work.

Texas Barbecue

I say Texas and not just BBQ because the USA does not have a monopoly on BBQ. To be fair, there are plenty of BBQ varieties within our borders. Two of the most well-known are probably Texas and Kansas City. I’ve had both. I grew up in a place where our BBQ restaurant was probably most similar in flavor to Texas barbecue. So, there’s likely a regional bias. However, the few times I’ve had Kansas City BBQ, there is too much of one flavor that makes it not sit well.

However, if you think Texas doesn’t have the best, you haven’t tried Texas BBQ. The secret might be the smokiness mixed with a sweet twang. It’s the best and everyone should try the beef brisket before they die.

Soul food has a long history that goes hand-in-hand with the cuisine 

Soul food dinner

African Americans have had a long tradition of making scrumptious dishes that are put together with love and planning. Soul food has the gift of bringing everyone together. The story starts when Africans were taken from their homelands and forced into slavery once they arrived in America.

They brought recipes over in their hearts and made an effort to keep those ties alive through cooking with what ingredients they had access to. What developed are dishes rich in greens, proteins, and delectable carbs.

Shrimp & Grits

Grits are an ingredient that stumps many people. When made incorrectly, they can be bland and grainy. When made right, they will be a delight. The soul mix with shrimp and a litany of flavors takes grits to new heights. You can also expect to bite into garlic, Cajun seasoning, green onions, and bacon.

Macaroni & Cheese

If you’ve never experienced out-of-the-box macaroni and cheese, you are surely missing out. There’s much more vibrancy to the homemade kind that you might not ever go back to store-bought. The noodles used here are fat elbow noodles and a variety of cheese that melts like butter over them. You can even use the oven and turn it into a casserole with breadcrumbs on top.

Collard Greens

This is a process. Like grits, if they aren’t cooked right they will come out bitter and grainy. Collards that are cooked for a long time on a low setting makes for the most tender greens. While they’re softening, it’s common to have ham that cooks right along with the collards. The pork provides a heartiness to the sauce, as do the garlic, onion, pepper, and vinegar.

Mexican dishes have long been a part of the American fabric 

Mexican food on a blue wood plank table.

Since Mexico once extended up through what is now the United States, it’s not surprising that their food has resonated with us. Texan soldiers in the 1800s continuously came in contact with the spicy flavors and carried that love with them back home. The cuisine got onto the world stage in Chicago of all places. It was in 1893 during the Colombian Exposition that people from far and wide got to try some new foods that packed a punch.


For this dish, you typically expect a few together. They are long corn tortillas stuffed with a mix of things like meat, cilantro, and onions. The enchilada is seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and garlic. The spice level can be up to preference but you will want to dip the tortillas in a red space so the flavor can soak through. Top with cheese and sour cream.


For years as a teenager, I looked forward to going to my favorite restaurant and getting fajitas on my birthday. It was a tiny location run by a couple who moved from Mexico to my hometown with the goal of sharing their food with America. I can remember vividly the sizzling of the mini skillet with the beef still cooking on it as it came around the corner to my table. Also in the skillet were onions and peppers, which I would put in the tortilla with the beef strips, refried beans, rice, sour cream, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce.

Chile Relleno

Have a glass of milk nearby, this one can get spicy. It is, after all, a stuffed pepper. Inside that pepper is often beef or chicken and cheese. Once stuffed, the pepper is rolled in flour and fried until golden brown.

Italian cuisine is probably one of the oldest guilty pleasures

Different Italian cuisine

Carbs have never tasted so good. One thing we’re blessed to have is a melting pot of cultures. Italian food has long delighted the senses of many, whether you’ve had a chance to eat pasta on the rooftop of a villa in Italy or not.


Around since the 1300s, lasagna was once the food of special events and holidays. It was especially beloved due to the cheesy dish being introduced during the darkest days of the bubonic plague. Now, we eat it whenever we can because it’s a hearty meal. Lasagna will cause you to change into comfier clothes.

The favorite Italian dish is also quite easy as it’s all about layering. There’s tomato sauce, ground beef, Italian seasoning, noodles and three types of cheeses in a repeated pattern. Cut into a square when served.

Chicken Scallopini

For less tomato, here’s a protein-heavy dish with a creamier sauce. Here, we have a thin-cut chicken breast that’s lightly breaded and pan-fried. Then, everything is sauteed together in lemon butter sauce with capers, mushrooms, and pancetta. Served over fettucini.

Veal Marsala

This is another savory dinner item that will have you full for the rest of the evening. You start with veal sauteed in marsala wine sauce. Add in the mushrooms and onions, then serve with vermicelli.

Mediterranean food is taking vegetables to a better place

Mediterranean food on a wooden table.

Alright, we’re getting a bit healthier here. Mediterranean is so much so on the lighter side that an entire diet is named after the cuisine. Of course, that’s not every entree, but superfoods and vegetables are a big part of how the flavors are put together to make something special.


Who needs the carbs when you have a stick that works better than a bun? Kebabs are loved all over the Mediterranean and Middle East. On a skewer is a combination of meat and vegetables that are roasted until they are soft and singed on the edges. Traditionally, you can expect lamb with peppers and onions.

Riz ala Dajaj

This is the type of platter where you can grab a piece of naan and scoop it up before shoving it in your mouth. Since it’s a rice dish, it digests slower and keeps you unable to walk for a while. It’s worth it, though. To make this, have short and long-grained rice ready. Mix in the grilled chicken and ground beef to start and then add onions, pine nuts, and season with cinnamon.


I’ve mentioned layering as a delicious way to get more of the best stuff and this is the Mediterranean version of that. Instead of layering with noodles, though, moussaka is eggplant, lamb, and tomatoes. It’s all baked together like a casserole. I feel fortunate to have had this many times and it just never gets old.

Chinese dishes have been perfected over dynasties 

Assorted Chinese dishes

As we move into Asia, our pallettes are going to be so grateful for a new range of ingredients that will kick it up a notch. That’s really the beauty of trying new things, getting to go around the world without leaving the dinner table.

The first Chinese restaurants in the states debuted in San Francisco around 1849. Since then, several dishes have been attributed to China but aren’t actually from there, such as General Tso’s chicken or egg rolls.

Dim Sum

One of the tastiest dishes is also a lot of fun. Dim sum is often served in steamy baskets. When you take off the lid, you get to see several dumplings. Only the freshest ingredients are hidden inside these steaming piles of goodness. They take a long time to put together, but you feel better physically after eating one. I’m not getting specific about what’s inside of dim sum because there are over 100 kinds. Try a new one each time you have dim sum so you can find your favorite flavor.

Wonton Soup

Speaking of dumplings, wontons are small dumplings used in soup. There’s less inside and the outside layer itself is more delicate. Usually boiled with broth, inside is shrimp or even pork. There might even be little bits of veggies wrapped up together with the meat as well.

This soup goes well by itself or in addition to a heartier entree.

Chow Mein

This Chinese dish was invented by a woman who was cooking for a group of laborers. The food was spoiling too quickly. So she figured out how to make Chow Mein noodles, which lasted longer. If you’ve ever enjoyed takeout, you know these reheat better than other types of noodles.

Chow Mein isn’t only noodles, however. A complete dish will include meat, onions, and celery. There might be even more ingredients but not by too many. These aromatics complement the noodles, not take them over.