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: Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Sautéed Cabbage
Game Plan: Start by prepping the ingredients for both the pork and the cabbage. Once the pork has been transferred to the oven, wipe out the nonstick skillet and use it to cook the bacon and onion mixture for the cabbage (step 2), but wait until the pork is resting to sauté the cabbage (steps 3 and 4).
Our Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin recipe employs a stovetop-to-oven method that yields a well-browned crust and a succulent, tender interior. For a maple glaze that will adhere to the meat we have three tricks. First, we mix the syrup with molasses and mustard to create a thicker glaze. Second, we coat the tenderloin with cornstarch so the glaze will bond to it. Third, we add a second coat of glaze when the meat is nearly done. In our recipe for Sautéed Cabbage with Bacon and Caraway Seeds, we mitigate the pungent flavors and sulfurous odors that can plague overcooked cabbage. Instead of boiling or braising, we pan-steam and sauté the cabbage over relatively high heat to cook it quickly and add an extra layer of flavor from browning. Soaking the cabbage before cooking reduces bitterness while providing extra moisture to help the cabbage steam.
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Dinner 2: Linguine with Seafood and Green Beans Amandine
To create a bold sauce for Linguine with Seafood, we fortify the juices shed by the shellfish with bottled clam juice and minced anchovies. Cooking the seafood in a careful sequence—starting with hardier clams and mussels and then adding the shrimp and squid during the final few minutes of cooking—ensures that every piece is plump and tender. Adding parboiled linguine to the sauce allows the noodles to soak up its flavors while also shedding starches that thicken the liquid. Cherry tomatoes, lots of garlic, herbs, and lemon contribute freshness and complexity. Green Beans Amandine starts with toasted almonds, nutty browned butter, and a splash of lemon juice. We steam the beans in a little water in a covered skillet until they are crisp-tender, then add the sauce right before serving to preserve the texture of the green beans and almonds.
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Dinner 3: Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli with Steamed Rice
Game Plan: Start by tossing the shrimp with the salt and sugar. While the shrimp sits, complete the rest of the prep for the stir-fry and mix the sauce ingredients (step 2). Once the ingredients for the stir-fry are in place, start cooking the rice. As soon as the heat under the rice is reduced and the pan is covered, cook the stir-fry.
We start our Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli by tossing the shrimp with a little salt and sugar and letting them sit for 30 minutes. This not only seasons the shrimp but also helps them retain moisture during cooking. Then, rather than stir-fry the shrimp in a hot skillet as most recipes call for, we add the sauce to the pan and poach the shrimp gently in the liquid, covered, to ensure that they stay moist. We serve the stir-fry with our Steamed Rice, which is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. We found that rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and that starting them in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.