Meal Plan: Indian Tacos, Stuffed Peppers, and Really Good Homemade Veggie Burgers

The Family Plan #32

Tomorrow is my dad’s first Father’s Day living alone—last fall my mom’s dementia got so bad he couldn’t care for her any more, so now she lives in a nursing home nearby. He hasn’t seen her since early March. On top of that, of course, we young(er) people are supposed to stay away from old(er) folks. So he hasn’t had much in the way of human contact for 100 days now.

Me and my dad at our socially distant meet-up last month

We’re going to meet up in a park in the Bronx, halfway between my family’s home in Queens and his in Westchester. A trial run last month worked out pretty well. We went for a walk along the water and with some prodding from me, he told me surprising things about his childhood. The whole event is going to feel strange and small, I expect, since my three brothers and their families won’t be there. But we’ll have a nice picnic with my husband and son (for my husband’s Father’s Day, we’ll do our annual hot dog jaunt to Connecticut on Saturday, which will be a whole ‘nother kind of weird). I’m going to pick up some farmers market strawberries today to make strawberry shortcake. That’ll make it feel festive, right?

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, wanna-be dads, and father figures out there. I hope you get to spend some time with your loved ones.

Here’s the plan for next week:


Creamy Braised White Beans with greens or without, with bread, maybe some sausage

Whichever combination you’ve got, pull out four cans of chickpeas, cannellini beans, or Great Northern beans. If you’re adding a little sausage or bacon, cook that in the skillet first and use the fat it renders in place of the recipe’s butter. Got some greens like kale, chard, or spinach? Or some frozen greens? If it’s a sturdier specimen like kale, add it in step 2. If it’s more delicate, like spinach, you can stir it in for the final 2-3 minutes of simmering. Refrigerate the leftovers for Thursday.


Photo courtesy Bon Appetit

Indian-Accented Red Pepper, Potato, and Egg Tacos

Friday’s dinner calls for just 1/4 cup of minced bell pepper, so while you’re prepping your peppers tonight mince the scraps and refrigerate. You can do the cooking as a two-skillet job, scrambling 8 eggs in their own pan during the 5-7 minutes after you add the red peppers to the sabzi. Or you can cook the sabzi entirely and transfer it to a dish to keep warm, then wipe out the skillet and scramble away. Don’t forget to heat some tortillas and pull out the hot sauce.

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Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Peppers

Use whatever vegetables appeal to you here if you don’t have the eggplant and zucchini called for in the recipe. Cook all the quinoa, and before you combine it with the vegetable mixture refrigerate 3/4 cup for Friday.


Quick Pasta with Beans & Maybe Greens

This no-recipe dinner couldn’t be easier. Pull out Monday’s leftovers. They’ve probably thickened substantially, but that’s ok. Cook 8-12 oz. of pasta according to package directions. While that’s going, warm the beans in a pan large enough to hold the pasta over medium-low heat. When the pasta is almost ready, dip a measuring cup into the pot and transfer about half a cup of the starchy water to the pan with the beans. That should give it a saucy consistency—if it doesn’t, add a little more pasta water. When the pasta’s ready, transfer it to the pan with the beans and cook another minute, just to pull it all together. Serve with grated Parm.


Quinoa Black Bean Burgers with potato chips

Grab the quinoa from Wednesday and skip to step 2. The recipe itself is pretty forgiving—you can use another type of bean and cracker crumbs or rolled oats in place of the breadcrumbs, and if you’ve got any fresh herbs left, I’d mince some and throw it in.

And that’s it, friends. Another week down.

Stay safe, be kind, and wash your hands.