Shopping List: Meat or Not-Meatballs, Kid-Friendly Tofu, and Spanish Chickpeas

The Family Plan #31

Things aren’t back to normal. Not by a long shot. But at least as far as food is concerned, it feels like we’re approaching normalcy. I still don’t run to the supermarket for one or two things the way I used to, but when I do go the shelves are pretty well-stocked and the atmosphere feels orderly. It feels like the new system is working.

This week’s menu is still the flexible, work-with-what-you-have approach I’ve been taking since March, but within the next few weeks I imagine I’ll edge a little closer to the way things used to be. If you’ve got any thoughts about that, I’d love to hear them.

Here’s the menu for next week:


photo courtesy Vegetarianfoodie, AllRecipes

Meatball Parm Heroes, made with meat from Food & Wine or without from AllRecipes. The meat-based ball recipe is super-flexible and can work with virtually any ground meat. Make sure to look at the section labeled “The Extras” to see what kind of add-ins you might include. You’ll be making a double batch of balls from either recipe, to use on Friday. Tonight they’ll get stuffed into whatever crusty bread you’ve got along with some prepared pasta sauce and mozz (fresh or shredded, whatever’s available).

TUESDAY: Crispy Tofu With Maple-Soy Glaze from Epicurious, with rice and vegetables. Crispy, salty, and sweet seem like three words that’ll entice the tofu-reluctant among us. Make a double-batch of rice to have enough for Friday, and serve tonight with whatever fresh or frozen vegetables you have.

WEDNESDAY: Grilled Vegetable Caprese with Pesto from MyRecipes. This dinner is on the lighter side, essentially a warm salad with grilled vegetables, fresh mozz or feta, and a pesto dressing. (You can also add a little oil & vinegar to prepared pesto instead of making your own.) Double that dressing to use on Friday.


photo courtesy Gimme Some Oven

Catalan Chickpeas and Spinach from Gimme Some Oven with bread. Smoked paprika, raisins, and nuts make this more than just a chickpea stew. Check out the “Possible Variations” section above the recipe to see if anything strikes your fancy.

FRIDAY: Meatball Bowls with Pesto. This is one of those use-it-up dinners that takes advantage of Monday’s meatballs, Tuesday’s rice, and Wednesday’s pesto dressing. If you’ve got ‘em add frozen corn, chopped bell pepper and/or tomatoes, pine nut, or walnuts.

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Here’s the shopping list:

Although grocery shopping is getting easier, I’m still assuming you won’t be running out to buy individual ingredients. Use this list to see which recipes you can make with what you have on-hand. As always, an asterisk * indicates ingredients for vegetarian recipes.


  • 1 lb. white button OR crimini mushrooms* (M, F)

  • 1 medium yellow OR white onion* (M, F)

  • 1 large red onion (W)

  • 1 small white OR yellow onion (Th)

  • 10-14* cloves garlic (M, W, F)

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley* (M, F)

  • 1 bunch basil (W, F)

  • 1/2” piece ginger (T)

  • Daikon, optional (T)

  • Scallions, optional (T)

  • Vegetables to serve on the side OR frozen mixed vegetables (W)

  • 1 (1-lb.) eggplant (W)

  • 1-2 lbs. zucchini OR yellow squash (W)

  • 1-2 pints cherry tomatoes (W, F)

  • 1 (5-oz.) package baby spinach (Th)

  • 1 bell pepper, any color (F)

  • 1 (12-oz.) block firm tofu (T)

  • Kimchi, optional (T)

  • Hijiki, optional (T)


  • 1 cup panko OR cracker crumbs OR fresh breadcrumbs (M, F)

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth OR milk (M, F)

  • 1-2 cups prepared pasta sauce (M)

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (M, W, Th, F)

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed (T)

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking OR rolled oats* (M, F)

  • Cayenne pepper* (M, F)

  • Dried oregano* (M, F)

  • Crushed red pepper flakes (T)

  • Sesame seeds, toasted or regular (T)

  • Smoked paprika (Th)

  • Ground cumin (Th)

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (T)

  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (T)

  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar OR cider vinegar (T)

  • 1/2 cup white balsamic OR unseasoned rice vinegar (W, F)

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups rice, any kind (T, F)

  • 1/2 to 1 cup walnuts OR pine nuts OR almonds (W, Th, F)

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas (Th)

  • 1/2 cup raisins, preferably golden (Th)

Meat Counter

  • 2 lbs. ground meat, any kind (M, F)


  • 2 eggs (M, F)

  • 2 cups (about 8 oz.) grated Parmesan OR Pecorino Romano (M, W, F)

  • 1/2 cup milk OR chicken broth (M, F)

  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella OR 1 cup shredded mozz plus 1 cup feta (M, W)

  • 1 tablespoon butter (M, F)


  • 6 hero rolls OR 2 loaves Italian bread, ciabatta, or baguettes (M, Th)

Freezer Case

  • 1 package mixed vegetables, any kind, optional (T)

  • Frozen corn (F)

Stay safe, be kind, and wash your hands.