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: Shredded Chicken Tacos with Quinoa Salad
For Shredded Chicken Tacos (Tinga de Pollo) with deep flavor, we cook boneless, skinless thighs in a tomato-and-chipotle-based sauce. Fire-roasted tomatoes increase smokiness, and a little brown sugar and lime juice and zest contribute sweet and sour notes. Before serving, we simmer the shredded chicken in the sauce for a full 10 minutes so the flavorful liquid can work its way into every crevice of the meat. For our Quinoa Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Cilantro, we start by toasting the quinoa to bring out its nutty taste. Spreading the cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet to cool produces the fluffiest grains and creates a salad with a light texture.
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Dinner 2: Spanish Tortilla with Bibb and Arugula Salad
We created a melt-in-your-mouth Spanish Tortilla that wasn’t too greasy by reducing the oil to a mere 6 tablespoons (some recipes call for twice this amount). We also use modereately waxy Yukon Gold potatoes instead of starchy russets, which tended to fall apart in the pan. To flip the tortilla, we slide it out of the pan and onto a plate, then place another plate on top of the tortilla before inverting it and sliding it back into the skillet to cook the second side. Our Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pear and Goat Cheese uses a combination of peppery arugula and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thin slices of subtly sweet pear incorporate easily with the greens. Pepitas add crunch, while soft, pungent goat cheese contributes richness. We use lemon juice as the base of the dressing because it pairs well with the sweetness of the fruit.
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Dinner 3: Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes
Our Swedish Meatballs boast a sausagelike springiness and satisfying snap. To achieve the right texture, we mix beef, pork, bread, cream together in a stand mixer along with a little baking powder, which keeps the meatballs delicate and juicy. For a light, creamy sauce, we add a bit of cream to chicken broth and brighten it up with a splash of lemon juice. Our Mashed Potatoes start with a high-starch russets. We cook the potatoes until they are just tender, but not falling apart (a paring knife can be slipped in and out of the potatoes with very little resistance). Finally, for a silky smooth texture, we use a food mill or potato ricer fitted with the finest disk to process the potatoes.