Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner This Week: Streamlined Chicken Fricassee
Dinner 1: Quick Chicken Fricassee with Boiled Potatoes
To make our Chicken Fricassee weeknight friendly, we use quick-cooking boneless, skinless chicken parts. We brown the chicken, then set it aside while we make a rich sauce by cooking onions and glutamate-rich mushrooms until they develop a savory fond, then pouring in chicken broth and white wine. A final addition of sour cream mixed with egg yolk thickens the sauce and makes it incredibly silky. We pair the chicken with a simple dish of Boiled Potatoes with Butter and Chives . We like to cook whole potatoes that are less than 2½ inches in diameter since larger spuds tend to get mushy right under the skin by the time the center is cooked. We boil the potatoes skin-on in well-salted water to highlight their earthy taste.
Printable Shopping Lists: Quick Chicken Fricassee and Boiled Potatoes with Butter and Chives
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Dinner 2: Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli and Restaurant-Style Rice
Game Plan: Start by tossing the shrimp with the salt and sugar. While the shrimp sits, complete the rest of the prep for the stir-fry and mix the sauce ingredients (step 2). Once the ingredients for the stir-fry are in place, start cooking the rice. As soon as the heat under the rice is reduced and the pan is covered, start cooking the stir-fry.
We start our Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli by tossing the shrimp with a little salt and sugar and letting them sit for 30 minutes. This not only seasons the shrimp but also helps them retain moisture during cooking. Then, rather than stir-fry the shrimp in a hot skillet as most recipes call for, we add the sauce to the pan and poach the shrimp gently in the liquid, covered, to ensure that they stay moist. We serve the stir-fry with our Chinese Restaurant-Style Rice, which is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. We found that rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and that starting them in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.
Printable Shopping Lists: Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli and Chinese Restaurant-Style Rice
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Dinner 3: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Kale Caesar Salad
Game Plan: Start by giving the kale leaves a 10-minute soak in warm water (step 1). Meanwhile, prepare the dressing and start cooking the croutons (steps 2 and 3). Once the kale is dried and dressed, set it aside while preparing the spaghetti. For the spaghetti, toast the garlic while the pasta water is coming to a boil.
The key to our Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts is to make the most of the garlic. We toast 2 tablespoons of minced garlic over low heat in ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil to ensure that it cooks to a pale golden brown (any darker and its flavor becomes bitter and harsh). We then add 1/2 teaspoon of raw minced garlic near the end of cooking to take advantage of garlic’s dual personality—buttery sweet when toasted and fiery when raw. For the Kale Caesar Salad, we give the leaves a 10-minute soak in warm water, which slightly breaks down the fibrous cell walls and helps to tenderize the chewy green. A 20-minute rest after tossing the kale with dressing further softens the greens and helps the flavors blend.
Printable Shopping Lists: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts and Kale Caesar Salad
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.