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: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Couscous
Game Plan: Start with soaking the chicken and preheating your grill. Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients for the chicken and cook the couscous. Once the couscous is done, cover and keep it warm, while cooking the chicken.
For Grilled Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts with Red Pepper-Almond Sauce we first pound the breasts to a ½-inch thickness so they cook through evenly. Soaking the chicken for 30 minutes in a potent “brinerade” seasoned it and added moisture that helped keep it juicy during cooking; we spiked the salt water with just enough umami-rich fish sauce to add savory depth without any trace of fishiness, as well as honey that encouraged browning and balanced the salt. Couscous with Dried Cherries and Pecans relies on the pilaf method to produce a light, fluffy texture. Dried cranberries can be used in place of the cherries and other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, can be swapped for the pecans.
The Best Gas Grills Under $500It doesn’t matter how powerful a grill is. If it can’t distribute and hold the heat where you want it, your food will suffer.
Dinner 2: Garam Masala-Spiced Ground Beef with Carrot Salad
Game Plan: Completely prep the beef and then start cooking. Use any unattended cooking time to prep and make the carrot salad.
Keema (Garam Masala-Spiced Ground Beef) is a rich and savory spiced ground meat dish that's been a staple of South Asian cuisine for centuries. Our version features ground beef cooked with garam masala, or warming spice mix, comprising whole cinnamon and black and green cardamom as well as ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and Kashmiri chile powder. Chopped Carrot Salad with Mint, Pistachios, and Pomegranate Seeds starts by finely chopping carrots in the food processor instead of grating them by hand. This produces a delicately crunchy, light-textured base in just seconds. Plenty of fresh mint, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pistachios brighten things up and a lively dressing brings the salad together.
Wooden SpoonsThis old-school kitchen tool is sprouting all kinds of new bells and whistles. But do any improve on the classic design?
Dinner 3: Teriyaki Tofu and Sautéed Snow Peas
Game Plan: Prep and bake the tofu. Sauté the snow peas 5 minutes before the tofu is done.
Teriyaki Tofu starts with from-scratch teriyaki sauce made with soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch. If you don’t have mirin, 1 tablespoon of white wine or sake mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar can be substituted. Firm tofu can be used instead of extra-firm. Adding a little sugar to Sautéed Snow Peas with Ginger, Garlic, and Scallion helps to bump up the peas' natural flavor. To keep the pods crisp, we limit the cooking time: Two minutes is just right.