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: Fast Beef Chili
Dinner 1: Pork Schnitzel and German Potato Salad
Our Breaded Pork Cutlets (Pork Schnitzel) feature thin pork tenderloin cutlets that are coated in ultrafine bread crumbs and then fried until puffy and golden brown. Microwaving bread cubes before grinding them produces extra-dry bread crumbs that help with crispness, but the real breakthrough is in the frying method. To get the characteristic puffiness and rumpled appearance, we cook the cutlets in a Dutch oven in an inch of oil, shaking the pot to get some of the oil over the top of the meat. The heat quickly solidifies the egg in the coating, so that the steam from the meat can't escape and instead puffs the coating. For our German Potato Salad, we start with a low-starch potato, which remains intact when cooked. Next, we fry up plenty of bacon and use part of the rendered fat in the vinaigrette, along with white vinegar, whole-grain mustard, sugar, and some of the potato cooking water.
Printable Shopping Lists: Breaded Pork Cutlets (Pork Schnitzel) and German Potato Salad
The Best Kitchen TongsWhich pair offers the best precision and comfort?
Dinner 2: Fast All-American Beef Chili and Southern-Style Cornbread
For our Fast All-American Beef Chili, we double up on pots to reduce the simmering time by half. In one pot, we simmer beans, chipotle chiles, and canned diced tomatoes. In a second, we brown ground beef to develop a rich fond, and then add aromatics and spices. After each pot has developed its own flavor, we combine the two and simmer them together for a mere 15 minutes before serving. Our Southern-Style Cornbread uses yellow cornmeal and includes a small amount of sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of the corn. We start the mixing process by making a cornmeal mush (moistening the cornmeal with some water) to create robust corn flavor and produce a fine, moist crumb.
Printable Shopping Lists: Fast All-American Beef Chili and Southern-Style Cornbread
12-Inch Nonstick SkilletsWe demanded our contenders clear a slew of sticky hurdles.
Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Scallops and Risotto with Parmesan and Herbs
Game Plan: The scallops cook quickly and will require your full attention as you sear them. Start by making the risotto up to the point where the Parmesan is added in step 4. Meanwhile, lay the scallops on towels to dry (step 1). Once the Parmesan is added to the risotto, cook both batches of scallops. When the scallops are ready to serve, the risotto can quickly be finished.
Achieving a perfectly browned crust without overcooking is a challenge with Pan-Seared Scallops. Waiting to add the scallops to the skillet until the oil is beginning to smoke and cooking in two batches instead of one are all steps in the right direction. But a common restaurant technique—butter basting—is the real secret. We sear the scallops in oil on one side and then add butter to the skillet after flipping them. (Butter contains milk proteins and sugars that brown rapidly when heated.) We then use a large spoon to ladle the foaming butter over the scallops, which helps to brown them quickly and adds a nutty flavor. For our Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Parmesan and Herbs, we swap the normal saucepan for a thick, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven that traps and distributes heat uniformly and ensures the rice cooks evenly. We add most of the broth after the rice absorbs the wine and simmer it with only a few stirs during the process.
Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Scallops and Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Parmesan and Herbs
Start Free Trial
10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients Equipment Reviews save you money and time Videos including full episodes and clips Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
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.