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: Spanish Grilled Pork Kebabs and Couscous
Game Plan: Start by brining the pork. After 15 minutes of brining, heat your grill. Meanwhile, prep the couscous. Grill the pork. While pork is resting, cook the couscous (it's OK that the pork will end up resting for longer than 5 minutes.)
For Pinchos Morunos (Spanish Grilled Pork Kebabs), we prefer to use boneless country-style pork ribs, but pork loin can be used in a pinch. If using pork loin, cook the kebabs to 140 degrees to prevent the meat from drying out. Couscous with Dried Cherries and Pecans relies on the pilaf method to produce a light, fluffy texture. Dried cranberries can be used in place of the cherries and other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, can be swapped for the pecans.
Dinner 2: Pasta with Cauliflower and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Start by roasting the garlic for the pasta. Meanwhile, prep the remaining pasta ingredients and the components for the salad. Once the pasta dish is complete, rewhisk the dressing to combine, and toss the salad.
For Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic, and Walnuts, we roast cauliflower florets to bring out their sweet, complex flavor. This dish is best with short, molded pasta shapes such as fusilli, campanelle, or orecchiette. For our Arugula Salad with Pears, Almonds, Goat Cheese, and Dried Apricots, we use sweet and salty ingredients—dried apricots and goat cheese—to balance the assertiveness of the arugula while accommodating its lively, peppery flavor. Other sweet dried fruits such as cherries can be swapped in, and creamy feta can stand in for the goat cheese.
Dinner 3: Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew) with Rice Pilaf
Game Plan: Start by preparing the stew through step 3. Next, start the rice pilaf. As soon as the rice is gently simmering, turn your attention back to the stew and begin step 4. Once the seafood is fully cooked, the rice will be ready. If you have any leftover lime juice and chopped cilantro from the Moqueca, stir them into the rice before serving to boost its flavor.
Moqueca (Brazilian Shrimp and Fish Stew) is a bright, fresh-tasting dish that comes together easily. We call for cod, but haddock or other firm-fleshed, flaky whitefish can be substituted. Other sizes of shrimp will work here, but we prefer to use untreated shrimp. As a foil to all of the bold flavors, we pair the stew with Basic Rice Pilaf. We like the flavor that butter brings to the rice, but oil (either vegetable or olive) is a good substitute.