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: Spicy Sichuan Noodles and Pai Huang Gua (Smashed Cucumbers)
Spicy Sichuan Noodles is a flavorful dish that comes together quickly. Fresh or dried Chinese noodles work best in this recipe, but linguine can be substituted in a pinch. We pair the noodles with a cooling dish of Pai Huang Gua (Smashed Cucumbers). English cucumbers, which are nearly seedless and have thin, crisp skins, are placed in a zipper-lock bag and smashed into large, irregular pieces. Salting the cucumbers helps them expel excess water and breaking them into craggy pieces allows them to hold on to the dressing.
The Best Rimmed Baking SheetsA rimmed baking sheet is essential for baking but also for roasted veggies, proteins, and more. We found the best models in every size.
Dinner 2: Oven-Roasted Salmon and Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Oven-Roasted Salmon starts in a 500-degree oven to achieve a nicely browned exterior. We then lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees and cook the fish slowly to retain a silky, moist interior. Starting in a cold skillet and using plenty of olive oil produces Skillet-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pecorino Romano that are deeply browned and crisp-tender in less than 10 minutes.
The Best Dutch OvensA Dutch oven is an essential investment for serious cooks. We find the best options at every price and in every size.
Dinner 3: Split Pea and Ham Soup and Drop Biscuits
Split Pea and Ham Soup eschews the traditional hambone and instead uses a ham steak. Simmering the ham in water along with some bacon makes the soup smoky and meaty. Unsoaked green split peas absorb the pork-enriched broth so that every layer of the soup is deeply flavored. Our Drop Biscuits offer an easy-to-make alternative to traditional rolled biscuits, with the same tenderness and buttery flavor. The key is to let the melted butter clump in the cold buttermilk. These pockets of butter expand during baking, creating a light, airy crumb.