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: Seared Flank Steak and Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)
Game Plan: Start by prepping and baking the steaks. While the steaks are in the oven, prepare the corn salad through step 3. While the salad cools, sear the steak. Toss the salad while the steak rests.
Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Sriracha-Lime Butter is slowly baked before searing to ensure that all of the pieces are evenly cooked to medium-rare. The steak can be served plain, without the butter, or feel free to use a different compound butter. Our Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad) features charred kernels with a nutty, slightly bitter flavor that complements the corn's natural sweetness. If desired, substitute plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream. We like serrano chiles here, but you can swap in a jalapeño chile that has been halved lengthwise and sliced ⅛ inch thick. If cotija cheese is unavailable, substitute feta cheese or queso fresco.
Dinner 2: Grilled Scallops and Panzanella
Game Plan: Start by toasting the bread and salting the tomatoes for the salad (steps 1 and 2). Pat the scallops dry (step 1). Light the grill, then prepare the salad dressing and the oil mixture for the scallops. Right before grilling the scallops, toss the bread with the dressing. Finish the salad (step 4) after removing the scallops from the grill.
Look for untreated "dry" scallops for our Grilled Scallops to avoid the soapy flavor that affects "wet" scallops that have been processed with chemicals. To enhance browning and make flipping easier, we lightly coat the scallops with a slurry of vegetable oil, flour, cornstarch, and sugar. Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) uses the liquid exuded by the fresh tomatoes to create the dressing. The cucumber and shallot can be swapped for other ingredients; shaved fennel and thinly sliced red onion are good options.
Dinner 3: Spaghetti Puttanesca and Green Bean Salad
Game Plan: Bring pots of water to a boil for the pasta and green beans while prepping the ingredients for both dishes. Start cooking the pasta sauce (step 1). While the sauce simmers, blanch the green beans. While the pasta is boiling, toss the salad.
Boldly flavored Spaghetti Putanesca comes together quickly using a handful of pantry staples. Canned whole tomatoes that have been drained and chopped can be used in place of the diced tomatoes. Two teaspoons of anchovy paste can be substituted for the fillets. Basil can stand in for the parsley, but we recommend reducing the amount to 2 tablespoons. The ingredients in Green Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Feta can be adjusted as well. Goat cheese makes for a good substitute for the feta, and feel free to use balsamic or red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice.