Shopping List: Grilled Kebabs, Flexible Frittata, and Couscous Cakes

The Family Plan #35

So. I’m working on a story about what school might look like in the fall and lemme tell ya, it’s depressing. Over the last two days I’ve interviewed eight different experts, teachers, and parents. Nobody could say with any confidence how things are going to work. What we know about COVID-19 changes pretty much by the day.

But I did learn a lot about what we parents should look for when deciding whether to send our kids back to school, so once the story goes up next week I’ll share a link.

Don’t forget, this is the last week where both Thursday’s shopping list and Saturday’s meal plan will go out to everyone. Starting next week, the Saturday issue will be behind a paywall. In case you missed the previous announcements, here are the details:

Subscribers get the free Thursday issue (i.e. today’s) as well as several subscriber-only benefits: The Saturday issue, which gives you the full food Tetris plan. Special 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 options. The basic plan is $7/month, or $70/year. Using the plans could save you that much on grocery bills in just one week. There’s also a “Founding Member” option, for readers who want to show a little more support—that’s $210 for the first year. Click here for any of those options:

(BTW, if you can’t swing the cost of a subscription right now, please don’t hesitate to reach out—just respond to this email.)

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

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

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I feel like I should just keep saying this: Thank you for all the support. Really.

Here’s the menu for next week:

MONDAY: Yogurt Marinated Chicken or Tofu Kebabs from The Mom 100 with grilled vegetables and couscous. Katie Workman, the cookbook author behind The Mom 100, is an old friend of mine. She’s got an ingenious way of handling picky eaters she calls “Fork-in-the-Road” recipes. You make a basic version of something, then separate it in half and add more sophisticated seasoning to one half only. These kebabs have you marinate chicken (or tofu) in a lemony yogurt mixture, and add fresh oregano and ground cumin for the more adventurous diners. It’s got an easy tzatziki sauce, too. Double everything, including the vegetables and couscous, to use later in the week.

TUESDAY: Lentil Smothered Greens on Fried Bread from Epicurious. This is one of those simple weeknight meals that seems like it’s too basic to be really good—but surprise, it’s fantastic. Use whatever cookable (as opposed to salad) greens you’ve got.

WEDNESDAY: Super-Fast Chicken or Tofu Gyros with a cucumber-and-tomato salad. This is a no-recipe dinner. I’ll walk you through everything you need to turn Monday’s leftover protein and tzatziki into an easy sandwich.

THURSDAY: Grilled Vegetable Frittata from Cooking Light uses Monday’s grilled vegetables. Serve it with bread and a green salad.

FRIDAY: Spinach and Artichoke Salad with Couscous Cakes and Feta from Fine Cooking. Leftover grains make fabulous fodder for fritters. Monday’s couscous gets mixed with a handful of basic ingredients then pan-fried until crispy. The salad calls for baby spinach, but you can use whatever greens you’ve got.

Here’s the shopping list:

Remember, items with an asterisk * are for the vegetarian option. And I know you may not be able to go food shopping (or get everything on your list when you do go) so I’ve suggested swaps wherever possible.


  • 2-3 shallots OR 2 small red onions (M, W, Th)

  • 16 cloves garlic (M, T, W, F)

  • 1 medium onion (T)

  • 10 oz. potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold (W)

  • 1 bunch oregano or thyme OR dried (M, W, Th, F)

  • 1 bunch mint OR dried (M, W, F)

  • 3 large cucumbers (M, W)

  • Vegetables for kebabs (i.e. zucchini, mushrooms, onion, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers), enough to make around 6 cups (M, Th)

  • 1 fennel bulb OR 2 ribs celery (T)

  • 2 bunches hardy greens (such as mature spinach, kale, and/or Swiss chard) OR 2 (5-oz) packages kale or other greens (T)

  • 1 large head romaine or iceberg lettuce (W, Th)

  • 8 oz. baby spinach OR other greens (F)

  • 3-4 tomatoes OR 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (W, F)

  • 5-6 large lemons (M, T, W, F)

  • 2 packages extra-firm tofu* (M, W)


  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano or thyme OR fresh (M, W, Th)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (M, W)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint OR fresh (M, W, F)

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (T, Th)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika (T)

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (M, T, W, Th, F)

  • Red wine vinegar (M, T, W, Th)

  • 2 cups couscous (M, F)

  • 1/2 cup red split lentils (T)

  • Small can chickpeas (F)

  • 1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts or bottoms (F)

Meat Counter

  • 3 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts (M, W)


  • 4 cups plain Greek yogurt (M, W, F)

  • Milk (Th)

  • 1 oz. Parmesan (Th)

  • 10 large eggs (Th, F)

  • 2 oz. crumbled feta (W, F)


  • 1 loaf country-style bread (T, Th)

  • 4 pita or naan (W)

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


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