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 Pork Chops and Sautéed Mushrooms
Game Plan: Salt the chops and cook them through step 2. While chops are in the oven, prep and cook the mushrooms through step 1. Once the mushrooms are well browned, remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside. While the chops rest (step 4), finish the mushrooms (step 2).
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. For the best Sautéed Mushrooms with Shallot and Thyme, we harness the power of steam. Adding a small amount of water to the pan and initially steaming the mushrooms allows them to quickly release their moisture and collapses their structure so they don't absorb much oil during sautéeing. In fact, just ½ teaspoon of oil is enough to prevent sticking and encourage browning. Adding broth and a little butter at the end of cooking creates a flavorful glaze that clings to the mushrooms.
The Best Kitchen TongsWhich pair offers the best precision and comfort?
Dinner 2: White Beans with Tomatoes and Sautéed Spinach
Game Plan: Prep and start cooking the white beans. While the beans simmer, prep the spinach. Five minutes before the beans are done, sauté the spinach.
Quick White Beans with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Sage starts with sautéing sliced garlic and chopped fresh sage in olive oil to coax out their aromatic flavors. We then add canned diced tomatoes and simmer the mixture to create a flavorful base. Gently cooking creamy white beans in the base (along with some chicken broth) brings all of the elements together. For our Sautéed Garlic-Lemon Spinach, we prefer the sweet flavor and hearty texture of flat-leaf spinach. After the spinach is cooked, we use tongs to squeeze it in a colander over the sink to get rid of its excess moisture. Once it is dry, we season it with a squeeze of lemon juice and some grated lemon zest, as well as a pinch of red pepper flakes for gentle heat.
The Best Slotted SpoonsWe rounded up eight dishwasher-safe nylon, silicone, and stainless-steel spoons, and used them to fish out green peas, poached eggs, meatballs, and jumbo shrimp from liquids in different kinds of cookware.
Dinner 3: Chicken Saltimbocca and Broiled Broccoli Rabe
Game Plan: Prep and cook the chicken. While the sauce for the chicken reduces in step 4, prep and broil the broccoli rabe.
The key to Chicken Saltimbocca is to balance the three elements—chicken, prosciutto, and sage. We place thin slices of prosciutto on floured chicken breasts and then cook them proscuitto-side down, which bonds the ham to the chicken and eliminates the need for toothpicks. Instead of using whole sage leaves, which can overpower the dish, we sprinkle a small amount of minced sage between the chicken and ham to add well-distributed herb flavor. For our Broiled Broccoli Rabe, we use the intense heat of the broiler to create deep caramelization without overcooking the vegetable. Because most of broccoli rabe’s bitterness comes from an enzymatic reaction triggered when the florets are cut, we keep the leafy parts whole and cut the stalks into large pieces.