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: Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts and Boiled Potatoes
Game Plan: Start by brining the chicken and heating the oven. Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients for the chicken and potatoes. Start boiling the potatoes once the browned chicken is transferred to the oven. Finish the potatoes while the sage-vermouth sauce simmers.
Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Sage-Vermouth Sauce calls for browning the chicken in a skillet and finishing it in a hot oven. The result is moist and tender chicken with crisp skin. After cooking the chicken, we use the caramelized drippings, or fond, left in the pan to make a quick and flavorful sauce. We pair the chicken with a simple dish of Boiled Potatoes with Butter and Chives. We like to cook whole potatoes that are less than 2½ inches in diameter since larger spuds tend to get mushy right under the skin by the time the center is cooked. We boil the potatoes skin-on in well-salted water to highlight their earthy taste.
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Dinner 2: Cuban Picadillo and Quinoa Salad
Game Plan: Toast and simmer the quinoa (step 1). While the quinoa cooks, soak the meat and prep the picadillo ingredients. While the quinoa cools, start the picadillo. As the meat simmers, make the dressing and assemble the salad.
For Cuban Picadillo, we use a mixture of store-bought ground beef and pork for rich flavor. To keep the meat tender and moist, we soak it in a baking soda solution. Canned tomatoes and white wine provide bright flavor, and raisins introduce sweetness. For our Quinoa Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Cilantro, we start by toasting the quinoa to bring out its nutty taste. Spreading the cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet to cool produces the fluffiest grains and creates a salad with a light texture.
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Dinner 3: Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Bibb and Frisee Salad
Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for the shrimp and salad. Prepare the shrimp recipe, then toss the salad while the sauce simmers in step 3.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine is a lively and piquant dish of briny, plump shrimp and tangy tomatoes with red pepper flakes and garlic to provide a spirited kick. We boost the seafood flavor of the dish by first browning the shrimp shells and using them to make stock. This stock forms a sauce base in which we poach the shrimp. To finish, we add a bit more heat in the form of minced pepperoncini peppers; generous amounts of chopped parsley and basil contribute freshness. Our Bibb and Frisée Salad with Grapes and Celery uses a combination of frilly, crunchy frisée and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thin slices of celery incorporate easily with the greens. Seedless red grapes add pops of juiciness and freshness, while blue cheese adds salty richness.