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Dinner This Week

Dinner This Week: Pan-Seared Inexpensive Steak

This week’s menus include Pan-Seared Inexpensive Steak, Sautéed Tilapia, and Beijing-Style Meat Sauce and Noodles for dinner in an hour or less.
By Published May 31, 2019

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.

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Dinner 1: Pan-Seared Inexpensive Steak with Smashed Potatoes

Game Plan: Start boiling the potatoes, then prep the remaining ingredients for the potatoes and the pan sauce for the steak. Heat the skillet for the steaks right before draining the potatoes. Cook the steaks, then smash the potatoes and make the pan sauce while the steaks rest.

To make the best Pan-Seared Inexpensive Steak, we started by evaluating 12 different cuts. Two earned favored status: boneless shell sirloin steak (a.k.a. top butt) and flap meat steak (a.k.a. sirloin tips). Both deliver solid beefy flavor and a tender texture. Searing quickly in a hot skillet creates a nice crust on both sides without overcooking. It also leaves behind a flavorful fond, which forms the base of flavorful pan sauce. Smashed Potatoes feature chunks of Red Bliss potato bound by a rich puree. A combination of cream cheese, melted butter, and some reserved potato cooking water creates a tangy yet creamy puree that binds the potatoes in terms of both flavor and texture.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Inexpensive Steak with Smashed Potatoes

Dinner 2: Sautéed Tilapia with Farro Salad

Game Plan: Start by boiling the farro. As the farro cooks, prep and cook the remaining ingredients for the salad. Once the salad is complete, let it stand at room temperature while you sauté the fish.

For Sautéed Tilapia, we cook the fillets in a nonstick skillet over high heat to maximize flavorful browning without overcooking and drying out the fish. Dividing each fillet into a thick and a thin portion and sautéing them separately allows for more precise cooking and even browning. For Farro Salad with Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas, and Tomatoes, we prefer whole farro, in which the grain’s germ and bran have been retained. It has a nutty flavor and a delicately chewy texture. We found that the simplest cooking method was best: Just boil in salted water for about 20 minutes until tender. After the grains are drained, we cool them briefly and combine them with vegetables, a bright vinaigrette, and a sprinkling of cheese.

Printable Shopping Lists: Sautéed Tilapia with Farro Salad

Dinner 3: Beijing-Style Meat Sauce and Noodles with Pan-Steamed Broccolini

Game Plan: Make the sauce through step 3, then start cooking the broccolini. While the broccolini steams, boil, drain, and sauce the noodles. Once the noodles are done, finish the broccolini.

Beijing-Style Meat Sauce and Noodles is an easy-to-make one-dish meal. We substitute red miso paste and soy sauce for the traditional ground bean sauce and use a combination of hoisin, molasses, and soy sauce as a substitute for sweet bean sauce. Shiitake mushrooms and a small amount of ground pork add meaty depth. We spoon the sauce over chewy lo mein noodles and finish with crisp bean sprouts, cucumber matchsticks, and scallion greens. Broccolini can be tricky to cook because its tender florets are quicker to soften than its stems. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Ginger, we split the thicker stems so that they are the same size as the thinner ones in the bunch, allowing for even cooking.

Printable Shopping Lists: Beijing-Style Meat Sauce and Noodles with Pan-Steamed Broccolini


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

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.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

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!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

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.