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 Souvlaki and Parsley-Cucumber Salad
Game Plan: Start by making the tzatziki sauce and brining the chicken for the souvlaki (steps 1 and 2). While the chicken brines, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Grill the chicken. While the pita is warming (step 6), toss the salad.
For moist, flavorful Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, we quickly brine chunks of chicken breast before tossing them in a bold mixture of lemon, olive oil, herbs, and honey. To prevent the chicken pieces on the ends of the skewers from overcooking, we protect them by threading pepper and onion pieces onto the ends. Our Parsley-Cucumber Salad with Feta, Pomegranate, and Walnuts is a crisp, refreshing accompaniment to the grilled sandwiches. Pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds give it a bright, tart flavor, while chopped walnuts and feta cheese lend richness.
SkewersWe got grilling with six different sets to find the best of the bunch.
Dinner 2: Angel Hair Pasta with Kalamata Olive Sauce and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Cook the pasta, then toss the salad right before serving.
Angel Hair Pasta with Kalamata Olive and Basil Sauce pairs perfectly al dente noodles with a bold, pesto-like sauce thinned with a generous amount of pasta cooking water. We top the pasta with basil and pine nuts to add flavor and contrasting textures. To eliminate excess moisture in Orange and Radish Salad with Arugula, we drain the oranges before tossing them with the greens. Lime juice forms the base of the dressing, but lemon juice or white wine vinegar will work equally well. Arugula provides a peppery bite.
Food ProcessorsHow much do you need to spend to get a machine that makes light work of chopping, slicing, shredding, and mixing?
Dinner 3: Poached Salmon and Orzo Pilaf
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for the salmon and prepare the pan (step 1). Sauté the aromatics for the orzo and toast the orzo. Once the liquids have been added to the orzo, start the salmon. As the salmon poaches (step 2), finish the orzo. Put a lid on the orzo to keep it warm while finishing the salmon (steps 3 and 4).
Our Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette features tender fish accented by the delicate flavor of the poaching liquid. Using less poaching liquid allows us to cut back on the vegetables and aromatics in the broth, saving preparation time. Cooking the fillets directly on lemon slices prevents the bottom sides from overcooking. For Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan, we brown the pasta to add complexity before cooking it risotto-style. Stirring in finely grated Parmesan at the end makes the pilaf creamy, and a pinch of nutmeg accentuates the nuttiness of the cheese.