Shopping List: Japanese Pancakes, Italian Chopped Salad, and DIY Grain Salad

The Family Plan #79

Is there anybody, anybody in the entire world, who knows as much as a 14-year-old boy? Because my guy knows everything. Like, there is nothing I, his mother, could possibly teach him.

Now that he’s going to his new school in person, my husband and I have been taking him to and from on the subway so he can learn the commute—it’s about an hour each way, with one transfer and a mile of walking. (Yes, that sucks. But it’s a good school and we think it’s a great fit for him, so…)

Even though I’m only taking him one way each day, that’s still almost two hours out of my workday. Naturally, I want him to start going on his own ASAP. And he’s ready for that, too. But before he starts, I felt the need to teach him how to read a subway map, like a human—so that if he misses his stop or his train is taken out of service, he’ll be able to navigate. His phone’s not always going to have a connection, so analog knowledge could come in handy. Seems like a pretty obvious idea, no? Not to him! He graciously sat with me for all of five minutes before the eye-rolling and snark started. And it worked: I lasted another five minutes before I threw up my hands and wished him luck. Kiddo’s going to have to get lost and figure it out on his own, I guess.

Yes, I’m terrified. Thank god for Find My Friends. As long as his battery doesn’t run out, I’ll be able to get a sense of where he is.

Here’s the menu for next week:

SUNDAY: Optional Prep. To save yourself some time during the week, make a double-batch of  Cookie + Kate’s Carrot Ginger Dressing and a big batch of your favorite whole grain.


Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake) from AllRecipes with a green salad. Think of these savory pancakes as a bit of a blank canvas. As long as you’ve got flour, eggs, and shredded cabbage, you can add almost anything to it. Happen to have some cooked shrimp or sausage in the freezer? Defrost a little, chop, and throw it in. Kids love carrots? Shred one and add it. You get the idea. I feel the need to point out that this recipe makes no claims of authenticity! It’s just an easy weeknight vehicle for all kinds of good stuff, easily customizable for picky eaters. Note that the sauce recipe is very simple—just three ingredients. If you’d like to give it a little more oomph, add a few splashes of Worcestershire. Vegetarians, leave out the bacon, of course—add some thawed edamame and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika instead. Triple the sauce recipe, to use on Thursday. Serve your okonomiyaki with a simple green salad drizzled with some of that yummy carrot-ginger dressing.

TUESDAY: Baked Chicken Breasts or Baked Tofu from Gimme Some Oven with roasted asparagus or green beans and some of that cooked whole grain. Double the protein to use Thursday and Friday, and serve some of the carrot ginger dressing as a dip for the vegetables. If you have leftover roasted vegetables, even just a few pieces, save them for Friday.


Italian Chopped Salad from Love & Lemons with Italian bread. Use cabbage instead of radicchio if your kids balk at the bitterness, and meat-eaters, feel free to add some cubed Genoa salami if you’d like.

THURSDAY: Yakisoba Noodles with chicken or fofu from Dinner at the Zoo. Instead of making another batch of sauce tonight, use Monday’s extra okonomiyaki sauce. Your pre-cooked chicken or tofu means you can skip step 2 in the recipe.

FRIDAY: DIY Grain Salad from Epicurious. This is one of those no-recipe dinners. You’ll use the rest of the cooked whole grain, any remaining chicken or tofu, leftover roasted asparagus or green beans, edamame if you have some, and of course that carrot-ginger dressing. Fill it out with whatever raw vegetables you like, and add some toasted nuts or seeds. If you’ve got picky eaters, you absolutely don’t have to make one giant salad—set everything out (you guessed it) salad bar-style instead.

Here’s the shopping list:

Items with an asterisk * are for the vegetarian option.


  • 5-6 large carrots (M, T, Th, F)

  • 1 (5”) knob ginger (M, T, Th, F)

  • 1 shallot (W)

  • 4 cloves garlic (W, Th)

  • 1 head cabbage (M, W, Th)

  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce (W)

  • 1 head radicchio, optional (W)

  • 1 bunch scallions (M, Th)

  • 1 lb. asparagus OR green beans (T)

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (W)

  • 1 red bell pepper (Th)

  • Raw vegetables for Friday’s grain salad

  • 2 limes (M, T, F)

  • 1 lemon (W)

  • 2 (14-oz.) packages extra-firm tofu* (T, Th, F)


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

  • Vegetable oil (M, Th)

  • Red wine vinegar (W)

  • 2/3+ cup rice vinegar (M, T, Th, F)

  • Toasted sesame oil (M, T, F)

  • Soy sauce (M, Th)

  • 12 oz. yakisoba noodles OR udon noodles OR ramen noodles OR spaghetti (Th)

  • Honey (M, T, F)

  • 2 cups of your favorite whole grain (T, F)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (M)
    Ketchup (M, Th)

  • Worcestershire, optional (M, Th)

  • Mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie brand (M)

  • Panko, optional (M)

  • Garlic powder (T, Th, F)

  • Paprika (T, Th, F)

  • Dried oregano (W)

  • Cornstarch* (T, Th, F)

  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (W)

  • Pepperoncini (W)

  • Nuts or seeds for Friday’s grain salad

Meat Counter

  • Bacon (M)

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (T, Th, F)

  • Genoa salami, optional (W)


  • 2 eggs (M)

  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese, any kind (M)

  • Butter (T, Th, F)

  • 4 oz. pearl mozzarella (W)

  • 4 oz. provolone (W)


  • 1 loaf Italian bread (W)

Freezer Case

  • Edamame, optional (M, F)

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

Stay safe, be kind, wear a mask, and get vaccinated ASAP.