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: Fish Meunière and Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts
Game Plan: Start by blanching and chilling the green beans and preparing the hazelnut topping (steps 1 and 2). Cook the fish, then reheat the green beans and add the topping.
This pairing doubles down on browned butter. Fish Meunière with Browned Butter produces delicately crisp and golden brown fillets that are moist and flavorful on the inside. To create the lightest coating, we dry the fillets, season them with salt and pepper, allow them to sit for five minutes, and then dredge them in flour. We then cook the fillets in a mixture of oil and butter in a nonstick skillet. Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts and Brown Butter start with blanched beans, which can be done in advance. When the fish is ready, we toss the beans in a hot skillet and top them with hazelnuts toasted in brown butter.
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Dinner 2: Sweet Potato Soup and Biscuits
Game Plan: Start by preheating the oven, then prep both recipes. Mix the biscuits and bake them. While biscuits are cooking, prepare the soup. Remove the biscuits from the oven, brush with them with butter, and keep them warm while the soup finishes.
For Sweet Potato Soup that actually tastes like sweet potatoes, we use only a minimal amount of flavor-diluting water. To do so, we let the sweet potatoes sit in hot water off heat for 20 minutes to make use of an enzyme that reduces their starch content. Less starch meant we could create a soup with less water, keeping the sweet potato flavor in the forefront. Easiest-Ever Biscuits combine the ease of cream biscuits (which eliminate the step of cutting cold fat into dry ingredients) with the ease of drop biscuits (which skip the rolling and cutting) to create the easiest biscuits ever. The key is to heat the cream to between 95 and 100 degrees, which melts the solid particles of butterfat dispersed throughout. This makes a dough that is moister and scoopable but that rises up instead of spreading out in the oven, producing biscuits that are appropriately rich and tender but not greasy.
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Dinner 3: San Bei Ji (Three-Cup Chicken) and Sautéed Baby Bok Choy
Game Plan: Both recipes call for a 12-inch nonstick skillet. If you only have one nonstick skillet, a traditional skillet or a large Dutch oven can be used to cook the chicken. Start with the chicken recipe. Once the scallion whites are added to the chicken, start steaming the bok choy.
These two recipes share many ingredients, which streamlines preparation. San Bei Ji (Three-Cup Chicken) calls for marinating boneless, skinless chicken thighs in soy sauce and sherry along with a touch of brown sugar for sweetness. Lightly coated in a mixture of soy and chili-garlic sauces, Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Chili-Garlic Sauce is quickly steamed to soften the stems before being briefly sautéed.