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: Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Game Plan: Heat the oven while you prep all of the ingredients. Start roasting the potatoes. Once the potatoes have cooked for 10 minutes, start braising the lamb.
Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops with Tomatoes and Red Wine starts with a relatively tender cut that doesn't require a long cooking time. In just about 20 minutes, the chops reach the desired doneness after simmering in a simple yet flavorful sauce of dry red wine, chopped canned tomatoes, and garlic. For Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chives with a well-browned exterior and tender interior, you need high, dry heat and a low-sided roasting pan that is large enough to accommodate the vegetables without crowding.
The Best 12-Inch Stainless-Steel SkilletsOur longtime favorite 12-inch pan by All-Clad faces new competition. Is it still the best choice?
Dinner 2: Chorizo and Potato Tacos and Avocado Salad
Game Plan: Prep all the ingredients for the taco filling. While the potatoes simmer (step 1), prep the salad ingredients and make the dressing. Continue to cook the taco filling (steps 2 through 4), using the unattended cooking time to make the taco sauce. Plate the salad right before serving.
For our Chorizo and Potato Tacos, we start by making our own juicy, highly seasoned chorizo: We mix ground pork with ancho chile powder and spices that have been bloomed in oil to bring out their flavors. We cook the pork mixture in a skillet and add parboiled diced potatoes that absorb the flavorful pork fat and juices as they finish cooking. Mashing some of the potatoes makes the filling more cohesive. For a balanced Avocado Salad with Mango and Jicama, we pair buttery avocados with a highly acidic dressing to cut their richness. We emulsify the vinaigrette with a bit of mayonnaise to ensure cling. Arranging the mango and jicama on top of the dressed avocado maximizes visual appeal by preventing the avocado from turning the salad murky.
The Best Instant-Read ThermometersWe've recommended a Thermapen for more than a decade, but there's new competition. Is it still the best digital food thermometer?
Dinner 3: Teriyaki Tofu and Sautéed Baby Bok Choy
Game Plan: Prep and bake the tofu. Sauté the bok choy 5 minutes before the tofu is done.
Teriyaki Tofu starts with making from-scratch teriyaki sauce with soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch. To encourage the tofu to absorb as much flavor as possible, we cut it into slabs and bake it in the slow, gentle heat of the oven. To make up for the liquid that the tofu sheds as it cooks, we overreduce the sauce to start. As the tofu bakes, it releases water into the concentrated sauce, diluting it to just the right flavor and thickness. Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Miso Sauce is lightly steamed to soften the stems before being quickly sautéed. A mixture of white miso and mirin forms the base of a salty-sweet sauce.