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: Chicken Parmesan and Pan-Steamed Broccolini
Game Plan: Start by making the tomato sauce and salting the chicken (steps 1 and 2). While the chicken sits, prep the remaining chicken ingredients and the broccolini ingredients. Bread and fry the chicken (steps 3 and 4), but wait to broil it until after the broccolini is steamed.
Traditional Chicken Parmesan is a minefield of potential problems: dry meat, a soggy crust, and a chewy blanket of mozzarella. To keep the meat moist, we salt the cutlets for 20 minutes. To ensure a crunchy coating, we replace more than half of the starchy (and consequently sog-prone) bread crumbs with grated Parmesan cheese. For a tender cheese topping, we mix the usual shredded mozzarella with creamy fontina. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Lemon and Capers, we split the thicker stems lengthwise so that they are the same size as the thinner ones, allowing for even cooking along the length of the vegetable.
The Best 12-Inch Nonstick SkilletsStep 1: Buy the best skillet. Step 2: Treat it right.
Dinner 2: Cheese Soufflé and Bibb and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Prep and bake the soufflé. While the soufflé is in the oven, prep the salad ingredients. Toss the salad right before eating.
Our Cheese Soufflé has bold cheese flavor, good stature, and a light, but not-too-airy texture—all without the fussiness of most recipes. To bump up the taste of the cheese without weighing down the soufflé, we combine light-but-potent Parmesan cheese with nutty Gruyère. To get the texture just right while keeping the preparation simple, we beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, and then—rather than carefully folding the whites into the cheese béchamel—we just add the sauce to the egg whites in the mixer and beat everything until it is uniform. 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, tangy 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: Roasted Shrimp and Quinoa Pilaf
Game Plan: Start by brining the shrimp. While the shrimp soaks, toast the quinoa and then cook the pilaf. As the pilaf simmers, get the shrimp ready for the oven, but don't broil them until the quinoa is fully cooked.
To keep our Garlicky Roasted Shrimp with Cilantro and Lime plump and moist, we brine the shrimp briefly and then broil them in their shells. The shells brown quickly in the heat of the oven and transfer roasted flavor to the shrimp. To develop nuttiness in our Quinoa Pilaf with Chipotle, Queso Fresco, and Peanuts, we toast the grains in a dry skillet before adding liquid. We then season the pilaf with boldly flavored chipotle chiles and cumin.