Shopping List: A Little Bit Korean, a Little Bit Italian, a Lot of Easy Dinners

The Family Plan #43

Hello, friends! I’m back in the city after a week of lobster shacks and foghorns, mask-free walks on quiet country roads, and ice cream. It’s… an adjustment.

Meanwhile, here in NYC school still hasn’t started—our kids will have some sort of orientation/onboarding Wednesday-Friday next week, and classes officially start the following Monday, the 21st. I cannot wait. My about-to-be-high-schooler has had far too much unstructured time this summer, and things have gotten a little looser than I’d like. Chaos is reigning. How’s it going where you are? Leave a comment to share your successes or challenges!

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Here’s the menu for next week:

OPTIONAL SUNDAY PREP: If you want a head-start on the week, cook up a big batch of seasoned ground beef (anywhere from 2-4 pounds) or if you’re vegetarian, a pound of lentils. You can also do this Monday, of course.


Photo courtesy The Recipe Critic

Korean Ground Beef (or Lentil) Stir-Fry from The Recipe Critic, with a double-batch of rice. The recipe suggests vegetables to use, but in pandemic times you’re fine using whatever you’ve got. Having pre-browned meat shaves off some cooking time tonight. Vegetarians, swap half of your lentils for the beef here.

TUESDAY: Big Italian Salad from Food & Wine. I love a good salad-for-dinner. Add fresh mozz or canned beans for a protein boost, and serve with crusty bread to sop up the yummy dressing.

WEDNESDAY: Sloppy Joes from AllRecipes with carrot sticks and chips. Just like on Monday, having pre-browned meat or pre-cooked lentils makes this extra-easy. Serve with carrot sticks or some other crunchy vegetable, and potato chips.

THURSDAY: Crispy Rice and Egg Bowl with Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had this over the years—between the crunchy rice and the ridiculously good vinaigrette, it’s definitely a winner. Plus, you can serve it salad bar-style, so it’s perfect for picky eaters. You’ll use the leftover rice from Monday here, and if you don’t have carrots or cucumbers feel free to swap in whatever you do have. Double that vinaigrette to use tomorrow.


Photo courtesy Food Network

Zucchini-Corn Fritters from Food Network make the most of late-summer produce. The recipe calls for cooking them in a skillet, but if you’ve got a waffle iron it makes things even more fun. For a dipping sauce, mix yesterday’s ginger-scallion vinaigrette with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Serve with a big salad and/or pan-fried sausages. Note that the recipe’s ingredients list has a typo: 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal should be on its own line.

Here’s the shopping list:

If no quantity is provided, assume it’s a relatively small amount. And as always, items with an asterisk * are for vegetarian options.


  • 5 cloves garlic (M, T, F)

  • 1 small red onion (T)

  • 1 small onion (W, F)

  • Stir-fry vegetables, such as red pepper, zucchini, sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, etc. (M)

  • 2-3 bunches scallions (M, Th, F)

  • 1 large romaine heart OR other crispy lettuce (T, F)

  • 1 small head radicchio OR another bitter green (T)

  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce OR more romaine (T, F)

  • 1 rib celery (T)

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (T, F)

  • 1 small green bell pepper (W)

  • 1 lb carrots (W, Th, F)

  • Small knob ginger (Th)

  • 3 Persian cucumbers OR 1 large English cucumber OR 2 small regular cucumbers (Th, F)

  • 2 medium zucchini (F)

  • 2 ears corn OR frozen corn kernels (F)

  • 1 lemon, optional (F)


  • Extra-virgin olive oil (M, T, W)

  • Neutral oil, such as grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, or canola (Th)

  • Red wine vinegar (T)

  • 1/2 cup sherry OR rice wine vinegar (Th)

  • 1 lb. dried brown or green lentils* (M, W)

  • 1 can beans, preferably white or garbanzo OR fresh mozzarella (T)

  •  cup brown sugar (M)

  • 1/2 cup or more soy sauce, preferably reduced-sodium (M, Th)

  • Sesame oil (M, Th)

  • Sriracha, gochujang, or another hot sauce (Th)

  • Ground ginger (M)

  • Crushed red pepper flakes (M)

  • Sesame seeds, optional (M)

  • Dried oregano (T)

  • Garlic powder (W)

  • 2 cups rice, any kind (M, Th)

  • Mayonnaise (T)

  • Prepared yellow mustard (W)

  • 3/4 cup ketchup (W)

  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, preferably Sicilian (T)

  • 8 peperoncini (T)

  • 1 bag potato chips (W)

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (F)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (F)

  • Baking soda (F)

  • Buttermilk powder, optional (F)

Meat Counter

  • 2-4 lbs. ground beef (preferably chuck, 20% fat) (M, W)

  • 4-6 sausage links, any type, optional (F)


  • 2 oz. Parmesan (T)

  • 4-8 oz. fresh mozzarella OR canned beans (T)

  • 5 eggs (Th, F)

  • Unsalted butter (F)

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk OR milk + lemon juice OR buttermilk powder (F)

  • 6-8 oz. sour cream OR plain Greek yogurt (F)


  • 1 loaf crusty bread (T)

  • 4 hamburger buns OR rolls (W)

Freezer Case

  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels OR fresh corn (F)

On Saturday, paying subscribers will get the details on how it all comes together.

Stay safe, be kind, wash your hands, and wear a mask.