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 1: Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Pork Chops and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Our Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Pork Chops employ a reverse-sear method: We first cook the salted chops in a low oven and then sear them right before serving. Slowly bringing the chops up to temperature ensures evenly cooked meat. The low oven also dries the surface of the chops so they develop a deeply browned crust when seared. To keep our Mashed Sweet Potatoes from becoming thin and watery, we braise the sliced potatoes in small amounts of heavy cream and butter. This provides just enough moisture to yield a silky puree while adding a hint of richness.
The Best Rimmed Baking SheetsA rimmed baking sheet is essential for baking but also for roasted veggies, proteins, and more. We found the best models in every size.
Dinner 2: Oven-Fried Chicken and Roasted Carrots
To create Oven-Fried Chicken with real crunch and good flavor, we dip chicken in beaten egg seasoned with spices and Dijon mustard and then dredge the pieces in crushed Melba toast, which we found provided better texture, flavor, and color than cornflakes, bread crumbs, bagel chips, or any other coating we tried. We use legs and thighs rather than breasts because they don't dry out as quickly (breasts are OK if that's your preference) and bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to develop a deeply browned coating. For perfect Roasted Carrots, we start by cutting the carrots into identically sized batons. We first precook the pieces on a covered baking sheet to minimize moisture loss and withering. Then, when the carrots are tender, we remove the foil and roast them until they caramelize.
Salad SpinnersWhich salad spinner model can wash and dry your greens without wearing you out?
Dinner 3: Pasta e Ceci and Bibb and Frisée Salad
Our Pasta e Ceci is simple to prepare, yet packed full of satisfying flavor. A finely minced soffritto of onions, garlic, carrot, celery, and pancetta gives the dish a meaty backbone and anchovies, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese add even more depth. To ensure a silky, stick-to-your-ribs texture, we cook the pasta in the same pot with the chickpeas to capture the starches released during cooking. Our Bibb and Frisée Salad uses a combination of frilly, crunchy frisée and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thinly slicing the celery and apple allows them to combine cohesively with the salad greens. Walnuts add crunch and nuttiness. We use red wine vinegar as a base for the dressing to accent the apple's sweetness and the celery's subtle earthiness.