Even with the best-laid plans, cooking during these unprecedented 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: Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Steamed Rice
Game Plan: Freeze the chicken for 20 minutes (step 1). During this time, prep the remaining ingredients for the lettuce wraps. Start marinating the chicken (step 2), then start the rice. Stir-fry the chicken while the rice cooks.
We like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Sung Choy Bao), but boneless, skinless breasts can also be used. Water chestnuts add crispness, but they can be omitted. If you leave them out, we suggest adding another stalk of celery. Other varieties of mushrooms can be used in place of the shiitakes. Steamed White Rice starts with rinsing the grains to remove some of their surface starch. Briefly boiling the rice in water before lowering the heat provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.
Dinner 2: Grilled Pork Kebabs with Carrot and Radish Slaw
Game Plan: Start by salting the pork for the kebabs (step 1) and the vegetables for the slaw (step 1). Next, heat the grill and prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Grill the pork, then toss the slaw right before serving.
Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze calls for pork tenderloin, but other boneless cuts of pork such as chops or country-style ribs can also be used. Bottled barbecue sauce can be substituted for the barbecue glaze; you will need about ¼ cup. Carrot, Radish, and Asian Pear Slaw is a fresh, crunchy accompaniment to the kebabs. A sweet-tart apple such as Fuji or Gala makes a good stand-in for the Asian pear. We like the oniony bite of scallion greens, but cilantro or parsley will also work.
Dinner 3: Sautéed White Fish Fillets and Spinach Salad
Game Plan: Prep all of the components for the salad (steps 1 and 2) before sautéing the fish. Once the second batch of fish has been cooked, rewhisk the dressing to combine, and toss the salad.
Sautéed White Fish Fillets will work with virtually any type of white fish, as long as the fillets measure ¼- to 1-inch thick. Don’t skip the salt and 5-minute rest; it will create a sticky surface for a light flour coating to adhere to. For our Spinach Salad with Carrot, Orange, and Sesame, we shave carrots thin with a vegetable peeler so they don't collect at the bottom of the bowl, then add fresh orange segments for bright, clean flavor and textural appeal. If you don't have spinach on hand, any type of tender lettuce can be swapped in.