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: Chicken Teriyaki with Rice
Game Plan: Start by cooking the rice. While the rice cooks, prep and cook the chicken.
Our version of Chicken Teriyaki starts with bone-in chicken thighs, not because we want the bones (we promptly removed them), but because we want the skin, which protects the meat from the heat of the skillet and adds succulence and meaty flavor. Our glaze has plenty of soy sauce for seasoning, sake for savory depth, sugar for sweetness and luster, and a small amount of ginger for brightness. Sushi Rice starts with short grain sushi rice that is rinsed under cold water, which flushes away excess starch. The results in evenly cooked grains with just the right amount of cling.
The Best Rice CookersWith so many options on the market, which one is best? We cooked 50 batches of rice to find out.
Dinner 2: Pasta e Piselli with Brussels Sprout and Kale Slaw
Game Plan: Start by prepping and marinating the Brussels sprouts (step1). While they sit, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Cook the pasta, then toss the slaw right before serving.
Pasta e Piselli combines peas with small pasta to form a hearty soup. The soup comes together in one pot—we cook the pasta in a broth flavored with sautéed onion and savory pancetta. Then we add the peas (we use frozen petite peas) and immediately take the pot off the heat to preserve their tenderness and color. A sprinkle of Pecorino Romano contributes richness and tangy depth. To keep Brussels Sprout and Kale Slaw with Herbs and Peanuts crisp and light, we marinate raw slivered Brussels sprouts in the dressing to soften them just slightly. A vigorous massage tenderizes the kale leaves in just a minute. A simple cider vinegar and coriander vinaigrette, fresh cilantro and mint, chopped peanuts, plus a squeeze of lime juice give this slaw acidity and crunch.
The Best Large SaucepansMost of us use a large saucepan daily, so it’s important to own one that performs flawlessly and will last for years. But how much does high quality have to cost?
Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Swordfish and Sautéed Swiss Chard
Game Plan: Both recipes come together quickly, so prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. Start with the Swiss chard, undercooking it slightly. Next, wipe out the skillet and pan-sear the swordfish. While the fish rests, wipe out the skillet and finish the chard, adding the lemon juice, salt, and pepper just before serving.
Mildly flavored swordfish steaks have a dense, meaty texture when seared quickly over high heat. We cook our Pan-Seared Swordfish in a hot skillet, flipping the steaks frequently so that they heat from both the bottom up and the top down and acquire a golden-brown crust. To keep each bite juicy, we make sure to remove the steaks from the heat when they reach 130 degrees and let carryover cooking bring them up to the desired serving temperature of 140 degrees. The key to mastering Sautéed Swiss Chard is to get the stems to finish cooking at the same time as the leaves. Sautéing the stems first over relatively high heat provides a desirable tender-crisp texture and lightly caramelized flavor that acts as a foil to the tender leaves, which we cook very briefly in order to maintain their earthy character.
Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter
The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.