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: Roasted Game Hens and Brussels Sprout Salad
To achieve crisp skin on our Oregano-Anise Roasted Cornish Game Hens, we rub the birds with baking powder and salt, air-dry them, and poke holes in the skin to allow fat to drain away. We then roast them on a hot baking sheet to jump-start the cooking before broiling them for great browning. Our Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Mustard Vinaigrette uses a warm dressing to gently tenderize the shredded sprouts while allowing them to retain their fresh, mustardy taste. Quick-pickled shallots add pops of flavor and pistachios contribute crunch.
The Best Rimmed Baking SheetsA rimmed baking sheet is essential for sheet cakes and handy for cookies. But if yours is flimsy or you use it only for baking, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Dinner 2: Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chops and Roasted Green Beans
Game Plan: Preheat the oven while prepping the ingredients for both dishes. Bread the pork chops (through step 2). While the chops sit, start roasting the green beans (step 1). After you have redistributed the beans (step 2), pan-fry the pork. The pork recipe calls for keeping the first batch of chops warm in a low oven, but since the oven will be in use for the green beans, consider keeping them warm in a toaster oven.
Using boneless center-cut loin chops keeps our Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chops recipe fast and easy. We lightly score the chops and then dredge them in cornstarch to create an ultra-crisp sheath that stays strongly adhered to the chops. Crushed cornflakes add a crisp, craggy exterior, and mustard and minced garlic perk up the coating. Our Roasted Green Beans with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, and Olives use a high oven temperature to create tender, deeply caramelized beans. Tangy goat cheese, briny olives, and bright sun-dried tomatoes complement the full-flavored beans.
The Best Muffin TinsAre gold-colored pans the new gold standard?
Dinner 3: Tortilla Soup and Corn Muffins
Game Plan: Preheat your oven while prepping the ingredients for both recipes. Start by completing steps 1 and 2 of the soup recipe, using any unattended time to mix the muffin batter. Once the tortilla strips have been removed from the oven, bake the muffins. While muffins bake and cool, finish the soup.
To achieve maximum flavor in our Tortilla Soup, we make a puree of chipotle chiles, tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeños, and epazote, and then fry the puree in oil over high heat. We then add chicken broth, which we strain after poaching chicken in it and infusing it with onions, garlic, cilantro, and oregano. For a Savory Corn Muffin with great cornmeal flavor, we use a ratio of 2 parts cornmeal to 1 part flour and ditch the copious amount of sugar found in most recipes. To keep the muffins from becoming dry, we precook a portion of the cornmeal with milk to make a polenta-like porridge. This hydrates and gels the starch in the cornmeal and traps free water to produce a supermoist muffin.