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: Glazed Pork Chops and Pan-Steamed Asparagus
We start our Mustardy Apple Butter-Glazed Pork Chops by stirring together apple butter and Dijon mustard—thick and intensely flavored ingredients that wouldn't run off the chops when heated. We apply a thin coating of the glaze to the chops and slow-roast them in a low oven until the meat is juicy and tender and the glaze forms a tacky layer. Finally, we apply a second, substantial coating of glaze and broil the chops until the glaze is bubbly and starts to char. Pan-Steamed Asparagus with Garlic preserves the fresh, sweet, grassy flavor of the vegetable and produces a crisp-tender texture. We steam the asparagus in a small amount of water in a skillet to which we also add butter, salt, and garlic. Next, we allow the water to evaporate, leaving the asparagus glossed with garlicky butter.
The Best Rimmed Baking SheetsA rimmed baking sheet is essential for baking but also for roasted veggies, proteins, and more. We found the best models in every size.
Dinner 2: Spaghetti with Mushroom and Tomato Sauce and Insalata Mista
Spaghetti with Mushroom and Tomato Sauce uses portobello mushrooms for meatiness and bulk, while smoky dried porcini give it a concentrated flavor. Adding tomato paste and crushed tomatoes to the mushrooms after they have browned sweetens the sauce but also lets the mushrooms shine. Insalta Mista uses a mix of mild lettuces along with smaller amounts of spicy greens (watercress and arugula) and bitter greens (radicchio and endive). For color and textural contrast, we add grated carrot and slices of cucumber and red onion. In the dressing, we use two types of vinegar: Red wine provides assertive acidity, while balsamic brings sweet, caramel-like notes.
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Dinner 3: Oven-Steamed Fish and Steamed White Rice
Oven-Steamed Fish with Scallions and Ginger employs both classic Chinese and French methods for cooking fish. We start by swapping the steamer for a tightly covered baking pan and the stovetop for a hot oven. Placing the skinless fillets on a foil sling allows the fish to flavor the cooking liquid and makes it easy to transfer the fish to a serving platter without the fillets falling apart. Removing the fish from the oven before it is fully cooked prevents it from overcooking when finished with sizzling ginger-infused oil. Steamed White Rice is soft enough to soak up the savory sauce, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. Rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch, and starting the rice in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.