Even with the best-laid plans, cooking during these strange times can be a challenge. So we've put together three recipe pairings, each with an entree and a side, that call for ingredients you may already have on hand. But if you don't have a particular ingredient or the supermarket is out of stock, don't worry; we've also provided ideas for subsitutions.
Dinner 1: Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chops and Boiled Carrots
Game Plan: Start by breading the pork chops (through step 2). While the chops sit, prep the carrots. Before pan-frying the second batch of chops, start boiling the carrots.
Our recipe for Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chops calls for boneless chops, but bone-in chops of the same thickness will work, too. This method can also be used to prepare boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cook them to 160 degrees). Cornflakes give the chops a light, crisp coating, but if you don't have them on hand, don’t worry: Panko bread crumbs can be substituted. Boiled Carrots with Lemon and Chives is a simple dish that can be altered to suit what you have on hand. Add a little butter or olive oil for richness, some vinegar or citrus juice for brightness, and spices or fresh herbs for even more flavor.
Dinner 2: White Beans with Tomatoes and Broiled Broccoli Rabe
Game Plan: Prep and start cooking the white beans. While the beans simmer, prep the broccoli rabe. Five minutes before the beans are done, broil the broccoli rabe.
For Quick White Beans with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Sage we use meaty cannellini beans, but other white beans can be used, and even a mix of canned beans would be fine. We start the dish by sautéing sliced garlic and chopped sage in olive oil, then we stir in drained canned diced tomatoes and simmer the mixture to create a flavorful base. Gently cooking the creamy beans in the base (along with some chicken broth) brings all of the elements together. For our Broiled Broccoli Rabe, we use the intense heat of the broiler to create deep caramelization without overcooking the vegetable.
Dinner 3: Pasta All'Amatriciana and Bibb and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for both dishes. Prepare the pasta dish, then toss the salad right before serving.
Pasta All'Amatriciana uses salt pork as the flavorful base of the sauce, but pancetta can be also used. Pecorino Romano is traditional in this dish, but grated Parmesan will work in a pinch. Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pear and Goat Cheese can be adapted to suit what you have on hand. The pears, goat cheese, and pepitas can all be swapped out for similar ingredients that add sweetness, richness, and crunch.