Meal Plan: Beer Can Grilling, Easy, Cheesy Black Beans, and Icebox Cake

The Family Plan #28

I’m feeling optimistic for a change. As soon as I hit “send” on this newsletter, we’re packing up the car and heading upstate. It’ll be raining when we arrive most likely, but I won’t mind. Just the change of scenery will be enough to keep me even-keeled for another few weeks back in the city. And tomorrow night we’re going to the movies, the first time since February! Not in a theater, obviously—there’s a drive-in about an hour from our house and they’re showing a double-feature of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Bad News Bears (the original one, with all the cursing). It’ll be my kid’s first time at a drive-in, which gives it a whole extra layer of special.

I predict I will return to NYC calm and happy on Monday. I hope. And I hope your Memorial Day weekend is every bit as restorative.

Here’s the plan for next week:

Memorial Day

Beer Can Chicken OR Beer Can Cabbage Sandwiches with grilled vegetables, and icebox cake for dessert

Throw together the icebox cake no later than 4PM, I’d say, since the graham crackers need time to soften and turn into “cake.”

Meat eaters: Don’t forget to prepare two chickens, if you have them. If you’re also making the potato salad, do that while the chickens are on the grill. (Unless I’m mistaken Martha’s recipe doesn’t tell you when to start checking the temp. If you’ve got 4-pound or larger chickens I’d give them an hour, but if they’re smaller do your first check after 45 minutes.) Grill your vegetables while the chickens are resting—if it takes more than the 10 minutes stated in the recipe, that’s fine. The chicken will hold for at least 20 before it starts to cool. After dinner, pull the meat from the second chicken and refrigerate for Wednesday. Stash the extra grilled vegs in the fridge, too, for Thursday.

Vegetarians: The Beer-Can Cabbage recipe has all the details you need. I have two extra points to make. First, remember that you’re cooking a larger cabbage than the recipe calls for so it may take an extra 15 minutes or so to cook through—give it an extra brush with BBQ sauce. And cut the entire white onion into slices for grilling. If there’s room on the grill, add some vegetables to use on Thursday (you can also do this right after everything comes off the grill, while the cabbage is cooling a bit). When everything comes off the grill and you chop it up, set aside about 1/3 of the cabbage and onion mixture for Wednesday.  

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Photo courtesy Bon Appetit

Roasted Squash and Grains with Tahini-Honey

You’ll be doubling the basic recipe tonight to serve 4, and also making some additional leftovers. So: For the farro or barley, use a large pot and cook 2 1/2 cups of it, using the method spelled out in the recipe. Set aside and refrigerate a little more than half of it for Thursday. And triple the tahini honey, again refrigerating the extra for Thursday.


BBQ Chicken (or Cabbage) Enchiladas

This is more of an enchilada casserole than the traditional rolled kind, but that just means it’s easier to assemble. (And the BBQ sauce means it’s definitely not authentic, so, yeah.) Vegetarians, you might want to chop your cabbage & onion mixture into smaller pieces for this—use it in place of the chicken and caramelized onion in the recipe.


Farro & Grilled Vegetable Salad

You don’t need a recipe tonight—this is one of those clear-out-the-fridge salads and you made plenty of leftovers. So: Grab the farro, the grilled vegetables, the tahini honey, leftover chicken if you have any, and whatever else looks good. Herbs? Yup. Cheese? Sure. Crunchy raw vegetables? Absolutely. Maybe some nuts or dried fruit, something pickled for a little piquant bite, and definitely a can of beans, drained and rinsed. Chop anything that’s large into bite-size pieces and toss all that good stuff in one giant bowl.


Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake

This is one of those delightfully straightforward pantry recipes that doesn’t need any help from me. The only thing I’ll say: If your kids don’t like spicy food, leave out the red pepper flakes and pass hot sauce at the table. Oh, and don’t forget to set out tortillas or tortilla chips to eat with it.

Stay safe, be kind, and wash your hands.