Meal Plan: Super-Fast Gyros, Spinach and Artichoke Salad, and the Last Free Saturday

The Family Plan #35

Good morning! Not to be all doom and gloom, but this email you’re reading might be the last Saturday edition of The Family Plan you’ll receive. In case you missed the announcements, after eight months of all-free-all-the-time menus, shopping lists, and plans, I’m starting to offer paid subscriptions. Y’know, for the cool kids. I promise, you’ll only get this whole spiel one more time, next Thursday—after that the paid version kicks in. Here are the details:

Subscribers get the free Thursday issue as well as several subscriber-only benefits: The Saturday issue (today’s). Private discussion threads with the opportunity for special requests. Access to the full archive. And a new recipe index I’m creating, which will include links to every recipe used in The Family Plan. Folks on the free plan will get only the Thursday shopping list every week.

Subscriptions come in several levels. The basic plan is $7/month, or $70/year. According to readers, using the plans could save you that much on grocery bills in just one week. There’s also a “Founding Member” option, for folks who want to show a little more support—that’s $210 for the first year. Click here for any of those options:

Until the paid version launches next week, the Early Bird Special lets you save 20% off a year’s subscription by clicking here:

Get 20% off for 1 year

There’s also an option to send a gift subscription to a friend:

Give a gift subscription

I know for many of us the pandemic has made money particularly tight. If you can’t swing the cost of a subscription right now, please don’t hesitate to reach out—just respond to this email. To those who’ve already subscribed, I offer every kind of thanks I can think of.

Here’s the plan for next week:


Photo courtesy The Mom 100

Yogurt Marinated Chicken or Tofu Kebabs with grilled vegetables and couscous

Tonight’s dinner is the only complicated meal of the week. And it’s going to give you tons of good stuff to play with on the nights that follow, because you’re doubling everything—the protein, the tzatziki, the vegetables, the couscous.

Here’s how it’ll go: About 90 minutes before you want to eat, get either the chicken or the tofu into the marinade. (Vegetarians: Press 2 packages of extra-firm tofu between layers of paper towels, to remove as much moisture as you can, then cut into 2-inch cubes before marinating.) While your protein is marinating, make a double-batch of the tzatziki. After about an hour, prep your vegetables for skewering—aim to get around 6 cups of cooked vegetables. Brush lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Skewer the protein.

Prepare 2 cups of couscous according to package directions, and set aside 3 cups of cooked couscous for Friday. Heat up your grill and start cooking. Depending on the size of the grill, you may need to do all the protein, then all the vegetables—loosely cover the cooked food with foil to keep warm. Enjoy your dinner, then deal with the leftovers:

Put the leftover protein and tzatziki into separate containers for Wednesday. Pop the vegetables into another container for Thursday. And don’t forget the couscous for Friday. Refrigerate everything.


Lentil Smothered Greens on Fried Bread

This recipe is wonderfully simple. Use celery if you don’t have fennel, and any hardy green you’ve got. Set aside the extra bread for Thursday.


Super-Fast Chicken or Tofu Gyros with cucumber-and-tomato salad

No recipe required here—it’s that easy. Pull out Monday’s leftover protein and tzatziki. Shred, slice, or chop the protein, then reheat in a skillet with a little oil. Chop a cucumber and 1 tomato (or half the cherry tomatoes), and thinly slice a shallot or some red onion. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and chopped oregano or mint—your choice. Heat up 4 pitas or flatbreads and divide the protein and salad among them, along with some crunchy romaine or iceberg lettuce. Pass around the tzatziki and dig in.


Photo courtesy Cooking Light

Grilled Vegetable Frittata with bread and a green salad

Pull out those vegetables from Monday and chop them into bite-sized pieces. They’re starring in tonight’s dinner. Before you start cooking, throw together a salad with whatever fresh vegetables you have. And don’t forget to warm up the rest of the country-style bread.


Spinach and Artichoke Salad with Couscous Cakes and Feta

The last of the leftovers get used tonight, transforming couscous into crispy little cakes to top a lovely salad. The dressing recipe calls for sour cream, but you can swap in Greek yogurt.

Stay safe, be kind, and wear a mask.