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 that dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner 1: Grilled Chicken Souvlaki with Tomato Salad
Game Plan: Start by making the tzatziki sauce and brining the chicken for the souvlaki (steps 1 and 2). While the chicken brines, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Salt the tomatoes for the salad and light the grill. Grill the chicken. While the pita is warming (step 6), toss the salad.
For moist, flavorful Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, we quickly brine chunks of chicken breast before tossing them in a bold mixture of lemon, olive oil, herbs, and honey. To prevent the chicken pieces on the ends of the skewers from overcooking, we protect them by threading pepper and onion pieces onto the ends. For our Tomato Salad with Feta and Cumin-Yogurt Dressing, we salt the tomatoes before mixing them into the salad, which brings out their juices and makes a base for the dressing. Sliced scallions and minced oregano add freshness and a sprinkling of feta cheese adds a salty tang.
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Dinner 2: Linguine with Seafood and Green Beans Amandine
To create a bold sauce for Linguine with Seafood, we fortify the juices shed by the shellfish with bottled clam juice and minced anchovies. Cooking the seafood in a careful sequence—starting with hardier clams and mussels and then adding the shrimp and squid during the final few minutes of cooking—ensures that every piece is plump and tender. Adding parboiled linguine to the sauce allows the noodles to soak up its flavors while also shedding starches that thicken the liquid. Cherry tomatoes, lots of garlic, herbs, and lemon contribute freshness and complexity. Green Beans Amandine starts with toasted almonds, nutty browned butter, and a splash of lemon juice. We steam the beans in a little water in a covered skillet until they are crisp-tender and then add the sauce right before serving to preserve the texture of the green beans and almonds.
Wooden SpoonsThis old-school kitchen tool is sprouting all kinds of new bells and whistles. But do any improve on the classic design?
Dinner 3: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce with Steamed White Rice
To ensure that the meat in Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce is tender and succulent, we soak the pieces in a baking soda solution to tenderize them and help them retain moisture. We serve the stir-fry with Steamed White Rice, which is soft enough to soak up the savory sauce, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. Rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and starting the rice in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.