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: Cacio e Pepe and Brussels Sprout Salad
For Cacio e Pepe that is creamy and smooth, we swap butter for heavy cream, which contains more emulsifying proteins that encourage the water and fat to form a saucy consistency rather than separate. Our Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Browned Butter Vinaigrette uses a warm vinaigrette to gently tenderize the shredded sprouts while allowing them to retain their fresh, mustardy taste. Manchego cheese, chopped toasted hazelnuts, and baby arugula add richness, flavor, and peppery zing.
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Dinner 2: Glazed Pork Chops and Skillet-Roasted Carrots
Cider-Glazed Pork Chops are quick, juicy, and full of flavor—and require just a handful of ingredients to make. If apple cider or juice is unavailable, orange or pineapple juice can be substituted. Another alternative is to make a quick barbecue glaze by thinning 1 cup of store-bought barbecue sauce with 1/4 cup of water. Skillet-Roasted Carrots develop deep roasted flavor in a fraction of the time that it would take in the oven. To ensure even browning, make sure to press the carrots gently against the skillet as they cook.
Traditional SkilletsA 12-inch skillet should last a lifetime and cook almost anything. But does quality construction have to cost top dollar?
Dinner 3: Tortilla Soup and Corn Muffins
Game Plan: Preheat your oven while prepping the ingredients for both recipes. Start by completing steps 1 and 2 of the soup recipe, using any unattended time to mix the muffin batter. Once the tortilla strips have been removed from the oven, bake the muffins. While muffins bake and cool, finish the soup.
To achieve maximum flavor in our Tortilla Soup, we make a puree of chipotle chiles, tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeños, and epazote, and then fry the puree in oil over high heat. We then add chicken broth, which we strain after poaching chicken in it and infusing it with onions, garlic, cilantro, and oregano. For a Savory Corn Muffin with great cornmeal flavor, we use a ratio of 2 parts cornmeal to 1 part flour and ditch the copious amount of sugar found in most recipes. To keep the muffins from becoming dry, we precook a portion of the cornmeal with milk to make a polenta-like porridge. This hydrates and gels the starch in the cornmeal and traps free water to produce a supermoist muffin.