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: Spanish Grilled Pork Kebabs and Couscous
For Pinchos Morunos, 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.
Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter
The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.
Dinner 2: Pasta with Cauliflower and Arugula 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.
The Best SaucepansThe saucepan is a kitchen essential, used to make everything from soup to custard. Which is best?
Dinner 3: Moqueca 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 is a bright, fresh-tasting dish that comes together easily. We call for cod, but haddock or other firm-fleshed, flaky white fish 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.