Anyone else super-excited for Hamilton, the movie, tomorrow? My son and I were lucky enough to see it twice, the first time with several original cast members (swoon, Renee). And speaking of work…
Friends, I have an announcement to make. Starting with the edition coming out on July 16, The Family Plan will be offering paid subscriptions.
I’ve been sending out my free meal plans for 34 weeks now. They’re complex creatures, with intentional leftovers and numerous interlaced parts. While I love writing the newsletters and connecting with you all, this is hard work.
The last few months have been the busiest of my 17-year freelance career. There have been weeks when I wondered how on earth I’d get this out to you on top of all my other responsibilities. But I take my commitment to you as seriously as I do my paying clients. In order for me to continue, I need your support.
If money’s too tight right now, don’t worry! You’ll still be getting the Thursday newsletter for free—this edition, the one with the menu and shopping list. But the Saturday newsletter, the one that shows you how to play and win the weekly game of food Tetris, will go to paid subscribers only. Here’s what else you’ll get:
The ability to comment on posts
Subscriber-only discussion threads
Access to the full archive
And a special bonus: I’m creating a subscriber-only index of all the recipes that have appeared so far in The Family Plan.
I’ve heard from many of you over the last eight months, so I know The Family Plan has been helpful. In fact, quite a few of you have offered to pay! Here’s a peek at some of the comments I’ve received:
“Using the plan has helped me save money the weeks I've used it, like cutting my grocery bill in HALF. Amazing. I love how the recipes build off of each other, and you give great guidance on what to prep at the beginning of the week.” –JH
“It is the best and most diverse but doable and affordable meal plan I have ever seen.” –JM
“Last week’s meals were a hit Every. Single. Night. And I am finding comfort in being able to find some control by planning what we are eating.” –JR
Subscriptions cost $7/month, or $70/year. I know times are tough for many of you, but if you use the plans, you’ll recoup that and a lot more from a single grocery bill. And check this out: Until the paid version launches on July 16, I’m offering an early bird discount of 20% off a year’s subscription. For the next two weeks, it’ll be just $56. (If you’re feeling flush and you’re very appreciative of my hard work, there’s also a “Founding Member” option with a one-time price of $210.)
I hope you’ll consider supporting my work. In the meanwhile…
Here’s the menu:
Photo courtesy New York Times
Mediterranean Smashed Chickpeas from The New York Times, with pita and other Middle Eastern stuff. Today you’ll cook a pound of dried chickpeas—not only is the flavor and texture better than canned, it’s less expensive (and you need more chickpeas for Thursday). I know some of you can’t access NYT recipes, so here’s a version that lives outside the paywall. Serve it with the minted yogurt and tahini sauce mentioned in the recipe as well as things like pita, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, olives, roasted peppers, artichokes—you get the idea.
TUESDAY: Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Ricotta, and Arugula from Food Network. Have you ever grilled pizza? It’s one of my favorite things to cook on the grill—in just a few minutes, everybody’s chowing down. This recipe is as much about the grilling technique as it is about the toppings—you can use almost anything you’ve got, but you should try to get your hands on ricotta since you’ll need some for Friday, too. Obviously, vegetarians should skip the prosciutto. I’d swap in something savory/salty like capers, olives, or sun-dried tomatoes.
Photo courtesy Eating Well
Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Tacos from Eating Well. I know, the recipe has “cauliflower” in the name, but if you can’t get a head right now it’ll work with almost any vegetable you can roast.
THURSDAY: Nancy’s Chopped Salad from Smitten Kitchen. Deb from Smitten Kitchen bills this as an Italian sub in salad form—it’s packed with cheese, salami, pepperoncini, and chickpeas, all tossed with an oregano dressing. Again, don’t sweat it if you don’t have all the ingredients, and vegetarians you can skip the salami outright. It’ll still be plenty filling. Serve some bread on the side.
FRIDAY: Spring Pea Pasta with Ricotta and Herbs from MyRecipes. Around here we’ve been eating oodles of snap peas, since they’re abundant at the farmers market. But again, if you can’t find any, you can either add more frozen peas or introduce another vegetable that does well when blanched in boiling water, like broccoli or spinach. The herbs here are flexible, too.
Here’s the shopping list:
I’m still assuming most of us aren’t shopping weekly yet. Use this list to see what you can make with what you already have. A note about herbs: You’ll see five different ones on the list below, but I’d say you’re fine without the chives and tarragon.
1 medium onion (M)
12 cloves garlic (M, W, Th)
4 ribs celery (M)
1 bunch mint, optional (M)
1 bunch cilantro (M, W)
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley (F)
1 bunch chives, optional (F)
1 bunch tarragon, optional (F)
2 avocados (M, W)
2 cups baby arugula (about 2 oz.) (T)
1 small head cauliflower OR any other vegetable you enjoy roasted (W)
2 small red onions (W, Th)
Red cabbage, optional (W)
1 head iceberg lettuce (Th)
1 head radicchio (Th)
3/4 lb. cherry tomatoes (Th)
1 lb. sugar snap peas OR fresh or frozen broccoli OR fresh or frozen spinach (F)
4 lemons (M, T, Th)
3 limes (W)
1 lb. dried chickpeas (M, Th)
Extra-virgin olive oil (M, T, Th)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (Th)
Ground cumin OR cumin seeds (M)
Red pepper flakes (M)
1-4 tablespoons dried oregano (Th)
1/4 cup tahini (M)
A little all-purpose flour (T)
Chipotles in adobo sauce (W)
1 (15-oz.) can refried beans (W)
Pickled jalapeno, optional (W)
8 oz. gemelli, penne, or other short pasta (F)
6 oz. prosciutto (T)
1/2 lb. salami (Th)
4 eggs (M)
1 cup plain yogurt, Greek or regular (M)
2 cups ricotta (T, F)
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta (W)
1/2 lb. provolone OR fresh mozzarella OR another Italian cheese (Th)
2 tablespoons butter (F)
4-6 pita (M)
1 lb. prepared pizza dough (T)
8 corn tortillas (W)
Crusty bread (Th)
Frozen broccoli or spinach OR fresh OR fresh sugar snap peas (F)
Stay safe, be kind, wash your hands, and wear a mask.
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