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-Seared Strip Steak and Braised Red Potatoes
Game Plan: You will need two nonstick skillets for this pairing. If you only have one, cook the potatoes in a traditional skillet. Start by braising the potatoes. As soon as the potatoes start to sizzle (step 2), start searing the steaks.
Pan-Seared Strip Steaks employs a fast, mess-free method for achieving deeply seared, rosy meat. We start the steaks in a “cold” (not preheated) nonstick skillet over high heat and flip them every 2 minutes; that way, the meat's temperature increases gradually, allowing a crust to build up on the outside without overcooking the interior. After initially searing at high heat, we quickly lower the heat to medium; at this temperature, the meat will continue to sizzle, but there is no risk of the fat smoking. Braised Red Potatoes with Lemon and Chives is a one-pan side dish that features the benefits of both boiling and roasting. We start by combining small red potatoes, butter, and salted water in a skillet and simmering the potatoes until they turn creamy. We then fully evaporate the water and allow the potatoes to brown in the butter.
The Best 12-Inch Nonstick SkilletsStep 1: Buy the best skillet. Step 2: Treat it right.
Dinner 2: Broiled Chicken Thighs and Warm Farro
Game Plan: Start by boiling the farro. Once the farro has been transferred to the rimmed baking sheet to cool, start broiling the chicken. Prep the remaining ingredients for the farro dish while the chicken cooks. Finish cooking the farro dish (step 2) once the chicken is turned skin side up.
For moist, well-seasoned Simple Broiled Chicken Thighs, we brine the thighs for better flavor and texture. Slashing the skin a few times before broiling allows its fat to render, and cooking the chicken on the bottom rack of the oven keeps it moist and tender. Warm Farro with Cranberries, Pecans, and Herbs uses whole farro, in which the grain’s germ and bran have been retained, giving it a pleasant chewiness and a nutty flavor. After the grains are boiled and drained, we combine them with sautéed onions, tart dried cranberries, and fresh parsley.
The Best Kitchen TongsWhich pair offers the best precision and comfort?
Dinner 3: Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Wilted Spinach Salad
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Prepare the pasta dish. Once the pasta is finished, warm the dressing and toss the salad.
Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Fennel balances the hearty flavor and firm texture of whole-wheat spaghetti with a bold sauce made with sausage chunks and sliced fennel. Starch from the pasta cooking liquid thickens the sauce and helps it cling to the spaghetti. In our brightly flavored Wilted Spinach Salad with Oranges, Radishes, and Citrus Vinaigrette, the dressing does the work of wilting the greens. Simply heat the dressing ingredients in a skillet and pour it over the spinach. Orange segments add sweetness and radishes contribute a spicy crunch.