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: Sesame Noodles and Sautéed Snow Peas
Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for both dishes. Broil the chicken and boil and cool the noodles, but don’t toss the components of the dish together yet. Sauté the snow peas and then toss the noodle dish right before serving.
We start the sauce for Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken by combining freshly ground sesame seeds with chunky peanut butter. Next, we add fresh garlic and ginger as well as soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and brown sugar. Shreds of broiled chicken breast, thinly sliced scallion, and shredded carrot add color and texture. Adding a little sugar to Sautéed Snow Peas with Ginger, Garlic, and Scallion helps to bump up the peas' natural flavor. To keep the pods crisp, we limit the cooking time: Two minutes is enough heat for most peas. Final punches of flavor come from garlic, cumin, and cilantro.
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Dinner 2: Clams Steamed in White Wine and Garlic Bread
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both recipes and make the butter for the garlic bread (step 1). Start steaming the clams and then toast the bread. The two dishes will finish at about the same time.
To flavor our Clams Steamed in White Wine, we make a quick broth using wine, shallots, garlic, and bay leaf. As the clams steam in the flavorful liquid, they open up and release their juices. Once the clams are removed from the pot, we turn the cooking liquid into a rich sauce by adding butter. Our Classic American Garlic Bread starts by toasting a generous amount of whole garlic cloves to mellow any harshness and highlight their rich, sweet, nutty flavor. We also add a small amount of grated Parmesan to the butter for depth and complexity.
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Dinner 3: Broiled Chicken Breasts and Skillet-Roasted Cauliflower
Game Plan: Start by brining the chicken. While the chicken brines, prep the cauliflower. Once the chicken has been flipped skin side up, start the cauliflower. The chicken will finish before cauliflower is done, so tent it loosely with foil while finishing the cauliflower.
For moist, well-seasoned Simple Broiled Chicken Breasts, we brine the breasts for better flavor and texture. Slashing the skin a few times before broiling allows the fat in the skin to render, and cooking the chicken on the bottom rack of the oven keeps it moist and tender. For Skillet-Roasted Cauliflower with Capers and Pine Nuts, we cut the vegetable into planks and then into flat-sided florets in order to maximize browning. We start the cauliflower in a cold pan and allow it to steam in its own moisture before removing the lid and letting it brown.