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 Steak and Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
For Pan-Seared Inexpensive Steak, our preferred cuts are shell sirloin steaks (sometimes called top sirloin steaks) or whole flap meat steaks, but this method can be used for most steaks as long as they are 1 to 1¼ inches thick. A pan sauce is a nice addition, but the steaks are also great when simply sliced, drizzled with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkled with coarse salt. We prefer the buttery flavor of Yukon Gold potatoes in Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, but any type of potato will work. Omit the Parmesan for a more straightforward garlic mash.
The Best 12-Inch Enameled Cast-Iron SkilletsCheap and tough, a cast-iron skillet is a kitchen workhorse, but the upkeep makes some cooks balk. Could enameled cast-iron pans, which need no special care, top the classic?
Dinner 2: Glazed Salmon and Rice Pilaf
For Glazed Salmon, we lightly sprinkle the exterior of the fillets with cornstarch, brown sugar, and salt to create a tacky surface for the glaze to adhere to. We have a number of glazes (listed below) to suit your taste and what you have on hand. This is a basic Rice Pilaf, so feel free to stir in different ingredients to dress up the cooked rice: Grated Parmesan cheese, minced fresh herbs, steamed frozen peas, and toasted nuts or seeds are a few options.
The Best Lightweight Dutch OvensOur favorite Dutch ovens are reliable and versatile—but heavy. Could we find a great lightweight stand-in?
Dinner 3: Pasta alla Gricia with Pan-Steamed Kale
Pasta alla Gricia is a simple pasta dish based on cured pork, black pepper, and Pecorino Romano. The fat from the pork (guanciale is traditional, but easier-to-find pancetta also works well) combines with the starchy pasta cooking water and cheese to create a creamy sauce. Pan-Steamed Kale with Raisins and Almonds was designed for curly green kale, but red kale or collard greens can also be used. Pecans or pine nuts can be swapped in for the almonds.
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