Shopping List: Pressing Pause

The Family Plan #86

Hi. So, I have a big announcement (big for me, at least): I’m putting the newsletter on hiatus through the summer, and possibly beyond.

Between The Family Plan and my old “What to Cook This Week” column at Epicurious, I’ve written more than 150 weekly meal plans, all with intentional, interlocking leftovers. It’s a complex undertaking—further complicated by the pandemic, of course—and I’ve enjoyed it. But I’m exhausted. And if I’m being honest, writing two editions of this newsletter every week is taking more mental energy than I’d like.

Put simply: In the year since I first started to offer paid subscriptions, not enough people have felt my work deserved compensation. Subscriptions are bringing me roughly half of what I earned writing for Epicurious. And I can’t afford to keep doing this for 50% less. I love knowing that my work is helping people, but still: It’s work. Mama’s got bills to pay.

If you’re a paid subscriber, thank you! Without your support, I would’ve stopped a year ago. You won’t be charged further—if you have an annual subscription with some time left on it, that will freeze. If/when I resume, you’ll continue to receive the paid Saturday newsletter until your subscription runs out. If I don’t resume in the fall, you’ll receive a prorated refund.

And if you’re not a paid subscriber but liked The Family Plan enough that you’ll miss it and consider subscribing, drop me a line by replying to this email. If enough of you feel my work is important enough to support, I’ll almost definitely resume in the fall.

That’s all, for now.

Here’s the menu for next week:

SUNDAY: Cook up a double-batch of wheat berries, farro, or brown rice—whichever your family prefers. Divide into two containers and refrigerate.


Spiedie Sandwiches from What’s Cooking America with grilled or roasted cherry tomatoes. I went to college in Binghamton, New York. The local delicacy was known as a spiedie (pronounced speedy)—skewered meat that’s absorbed the flavor of a marinade similar to Italian dressing and then grilled. It’s served on a hearty slice of Italian bread. The beauty of a spiedie: You can use virtually any protein you want. Traditionally they’re made with lamb, but I’ve seen them made with chicken, beef, tofu, and seitan—choose whichever you like and grill up a one-and-a-half batch. (A single batch of marinade should cover it.) Serve it with bread and grilled or roasted cherry tomatoes, and make extra tomatoes for Friday.

TUESDAY: Easiest Crudités Platter Ever from Take Two Tapas. On a hot summer night, a no-cook dinner is a godsend. This recipe offers you tons of leeway. Use whichever vegetables and dips your family likes best, and serve it with some more of that Italian bread.


Summer Vegetable Stir-Fry from Bon Appetit with wheat berries, farro, or brown rice. Another gloriously flexible recipe: This one lets you choose both the vegetables and the herbs that go into the sauce you drizzle on top.

THURSDAY: DIY Grain Bowl. Use the second container of grains as a base, and set out bowls of leftover spiedies, extra crudités & dip, the green sauce from yesterday’s stir-fry, and anything else that appeals to your family.

FRIDAY: Grilled Pizza with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes from Feedfeed. If you like, buy basil for Wednesday’s stir-fry and use the rest for a quick homemade pesto. My family loves grilled pizza—we make them individually, so my picky son can have his exactly the way he likes it (fresh mozz and kalamata olives, nothing else). If you’ve got someone in your family who’s the same way, divide the dough and make individual pizzas—otherwise, follow the recipe.

Here’s the shopping list:

Items with an asterisk * are for the vegetarian option.


  • 5 cloves garlic (M, W, Th)

  • 1 small red onion (F)

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (M, F)

  • Assorted vegetables for crudités (T, Th)

  • Assorted vegetables for stir-fry (W)

  • 2 bunches tender herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, and tarragon (W, Th)

  • 1 bunch scallions (W, Th)

  • 1 small knob ginger (W, Th)

  • 2 lemons (M, Th)

  • 2 (14-oz.) packages extra-firm tofu* OR seitan* (M, Th)


  • Olive oil (M, Th, F)

  • Vegetable oil (W, Th)

  • Red wine vinegar (M, Th)

  • Sugar (M, Th)

  • Bay leaves (M, Th)

  • Cayenne pepper (M, Th)

  • Dried thyme (M, Th)

  • Dried basil (M, Th)

  • Dried oregano (M, Th)

  • Sesame seeds (W, Th)

  • Unseasoned rice vinegar (W, Th)

  • 2 cups wheat berries OR farro OR brown rice (W, Th)

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts OR prepared pesto (F)

Meat Counter

  • 3 lb. boneless chicken OR lamb OR pork OR beef (M, Th)


  • Prepared dips/spreads like hummus, ranch dip, garlic cheese spread (T, Th)

  • Prepared pesto OR homemade (Th, F)

  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella (F)

  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan OR prepared pesto (F)


  • 1 large loaf French OR Italian bread (M, T)

  • 1 lb. pizza dough (F)

Stay safe, be kind, and thanks for reading.