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: White Bean Soup and Bibb and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Cook the garnish for the soup (step 1) and then mix the salad dressing (step 1). Cook and puree the soup. While the soup is reheating, toss the salad.
For Creamy White Bean Soup with Herb Oil and Crispy Capers, we start by briefly simmering canned great Northern beans and their canning liquid with softened aromatic vegetables and herbs. This heating step causes the bean’s starch to hydrate, which makes the soup especially creamy. Herb oil and crispy capers are quick-to-make but impressive garnishes that complement the neutral soup base with vibrant color, flavor, and texture. Our Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pear and Goat Cheese uses a combination of peppery arugula and buttery Bibb lettuce. Thin slices of subtly sweet pear incorporate easily with the greens. Pepitas add crunch, while tangy goat cheese contributes richness. We use lemon juice as the base of the dressing because it pairs well with the sweetness of the fruit.
The Best Midpriced BlendersFrom burnt-out motors to cracked pitchers and smoothies that aren’t smooth, most midpriced blenders are a bust. Luckily, we found one you can count on.
Dinner 2: One-Hour Pizza with Greek Cherry Tomato Salad
Game Plan: Start by preheating the oven and pizza stone. Next, mix the dough. While the dough rests for 10 minutes, prep and salt the cherry tomatoes. While the tomatoes sit with the salt, knead the dough and roll it out. Use the 30-minute rising time to prepare the salad ingredients. While the second pizza bakes, mix the salad.
For our One-Hour Pizza recipe, we employ a handful of tricks to get a crust that is crisp, tender, and light without the need for a prolonged proofing period. First, we use a high percentage of yeast and warm water to make sure the dough rises in 30 minutes. We also use a combination of semolina and all-purpose flours to create a less elastic dough. Finally, we roll the dough between two sheets of lightly oiled parchment paper immediately after mixing so that it can relax while it proofs. For a Greek Cherry Tomato Salad that isn’t soggy, we start by quartering and salting cherry tomatoes to get rid of excess moisture. But instead of throwing that flavorful liquid away, we reduce it down on the stovetop and use it as a concentrated base for the dressing.
Baking Stones & Baking SteelsWe tested five models of baking stones (also called pizza stones) and baking steels, preparing pizza, bread, and roast turkey and evaluating their performance and ease of use.
Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Steaks and Braised Red Potatoes
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Start cooking the pork and then braise the potatoes. Brown the potatoes while the seared pork rests.
For Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin, we lightly pound tenderloins to create two flat sides for searing, then halve them crosswise to create moderately sized steaks that are easy to maneuver in the pan. Before searing, we slowly cook the pork in a low oven to ensure that it's rosy and moist from edge to edge. Finally, for great browning, we pat the pork very dry before searing it on the stovetop. 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.