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Dinner This Week: Sloppy Joes

This week’s menus include Classic Sloppy Joes; Pan-Seared Shrimp with Peanuts, Black Pepper, and Lime; and Oven-Fried Chicken for dinner in about an hour.
By Published Mar. 18, 2022

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.

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Dinner 1: Sloppy Joes with Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw

sloppy joesslaw

Game Plan: Whisk together the dressing for the coleslaw and place it in the freezer. Meanwhile, prep the ingredients for the sloppy joes and the remaining slaw ingredients. Toss the slaw and refrigerate it while you cook the sloppy joes.

For a tender, flavorful, and cohesive Classic Sloppy Joe mixture that stays put when it's placed on a bun, we treat the ground beef with baking soda (so that it retains more moisture when cooked) and then break it down to a fine, uniform texture using a potato masher. Ketchup forms the base of the sauce, which we make more complex by adding a generous amount of tomato paste, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. To keep coleslaw crisp, you need to get rid of the cabbage’s excess water. For our Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw with Red Bell Pepper and Jalapeño, we do this by microwaving shredded cabbage tossed with salt and sugar. In seconds, the cabbage sheds the same amount of liquid that it would release in 3 hours at room temperature. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Sloppy Joes with Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw  

Dinner 2: Pan-Seared Shrimp and Steamed Broccolini

shrimpbroccolini

Game Plan: Start by salting the shrimp. While they stand, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes, including the spice mixture for the shrimp (step 2). Start steaming the broccolini. While it cooks, pat the shrimp dry and arrange them in skillet, but wait to cook them. Once the aromatics have been added to the broccolini (step 3), sear the shrimp.

To keep Pan-Seared Shrimp with Peanuts, Black Pepper, and Lime from overcooking, we start the shrimp in a cold skillet and heat them gradually so they don’t buckle and thus brown uniformly. Once the shrimp are spotty brown and pink at the edges on the first side, we remove them from the heat and quickly turn each one, letting residual heat gently cook them the rest of the way. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Ginger, we split the thicker stems so that they are the same size as the thinner ones in the bunch, allowing for even cooking.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pan-Seared Shrimp with Steamed Broccolini

Dinner 3: Oven-Fried Chicken and Roasted Carrots

chickencarrots

Game Plan: The two dishes in this pairing are baked at the same time in a 400-degree oven. Prep all of the ingredients while the oven heats, then put the carrots in the oven first. After 5 minutes, add the chicken. The two should finish cooking at about the same time.

To create Oven-Fried Chicken with real crunch and good flavor, we dip chicken in beaten egg seasoned with spices and Dijon mustard and then dredge the pieces in crushed Melba toast, which we found provided better texture, flavor, and color than cornflakes, bread crumbs, bagel chips, or any other coating we tried. We use legs and thighs rather than breasts because they don't dry out as quickly (breasts are OK if that's your preference) and bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to develop a deeply browned coating. For perfect Roasted Carrots, we start by cutting the carrots into identically sized batons. We first precook the pieces on a covered baking sheet to minimize moisture loss and withering. Then, when the carrots are tender, we remove the foil and roast them until they caramelize.

Printable Shopping Lists: Oven-Fried Chicken and Roasted Carrots

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View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.


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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.