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: Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Game Plan: Start by prepping and cooking the sweet potatoes. As the potatoes roast, prep the burgers, but wait to cook them. Once the potatoes have been flipped in step 2, start the burgers.
For juicy Skillet Turkey Burgers, we start by adding baking soda and gelatin to help keep the meat moist as it cooks. A bit of melted butter adds richness while soy sauce and Parmesan contribute savoriness. For a nicely browned exterior and evenly cooked interior, we start cooking the patties in a cold skillet so the exteriors can slowly start to brown while the interiors have time to reach the 160-degree serving temperature. For easy, no-splatter Sweet Potato Oven Fries, we cut unpeeled sweet potatoes into wedges and cook them on an oiled, preheated baking sheet until they are crisp on both sides.
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: Herb-Crusted Salmon and Boiled Carrots
Game Plan: Brine the salmon, using the brining time to prep the other ingredients for both dishes. Once the salmon is fully cooked and resting, boil the carrots.
For Herb-Crusted Salmon, we layer delicate tarragon under a toasted panko crust to protect the fresh herb flavor that can be driven away while the fish cooks in the oven. The crust is bound with a couple of tablespoons of beaten egg to help it stay in place. A quick brine keeps the salmon fillets moist and ensures that they are perfectly seasoned. We cook Boiled Carrots with Fennel Seeds and Citrus in just 2 cups of well-salted water, which not only adds seasoning but the small amount of liquid also helps the carrots retain some of their natural sugars as well as helps them cook faster.
The Best Large SaucepansMost of us use a large saucepan daily, so it’s important to own one that performs flawlessly and will last for years. But how much does high quality have to cost?
Dinner 3: Beijing-Style Meat Sauce and Noodles with Steamed Broccolini
Game Plan: Make the sauce through step 3, then start cooking the broccolini. While the broccolini steams, boil, drain, and sauce the noodles. Once the noodles are done, finish the broccolini.
Beijing-Style Meat Sauce and Noodles is an easy-to-make one-dish meal based on a popular dish from northern China, zha jiang mian. Our version calls for red miso paste and soy sauce in place of ground bean sauce and a combination of hoisin, molasses, and soy sauce as a substitute for sweet bean sauce. Shiitake mushrooms and a small amount of ground pork added even more meaty depth. We spoon the sauce over chewy lo mein noodles and finished the dish with bean sprouts, cucumber matchsticks, and scallion greens for a crisp, fresh contrast to the rich sauce. Broccolini can be tricky to cook because its tender florets are quicker to soften than its stems. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Ginger, we split the thicker stems so that they are the same size as the thinner ones in the bunch, allowing for even cooking.