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 Caesar Salad and Garlic Bread
Game Plan: Start by prepping and cooking the chicken (step 1). While the chicken cooks, heat the oven and prep all of the remaining ingredients for the salad and garlic bread. While the chicken rests, cook the garlic bread. Once the garlic bread is done, toss the salad.
For Chicken Caesar Salad, we start by slowly cooking chicken breasts in a highly seasoned water bath to ensure moist, evenly seasoned results. The sliced chicken is arranged on a bed of romaine, croutons, and grated Parmesan cheese and dressed with a mayonnaise-based Caesar dressing. Goat Cheese Garlic Bread calls for a combination of goat cheese and Parmesan, but the Parmesan can be omitted, or another hard grating cheese can be substituted. A loaf of supermarket Italian bread, which has a soft, thin crust and a fine crumb, works best here.
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Dinner 2: Pan-Seared Pork Chops and Carrot Radish Slaw
Game Plan: Prep the slaw ingredients, including step 1. While the carrots sit, prep and cook the chops. Toss the slaw while the chops rest in step 3.
Pan-Seared Thick-Cut, Bone-In Pork Chops are deeply browned and juicy. We start with 1½-inch-thick rib chops, which are thick enough to build up a browned exterior before cooking through. The chops start cooking in a cold (not preheated) nonstick skillet over high heat and are flipped every 2 minutes so that the meat's temperature increases gradually, allowing a crust to build up on the outside without overcooking the interior. Carrot, Radish, and Asian Pear Slaw is a new take on coleslaw. We trade out everyday cabbage for carrots and radishes that lend color and flavor. To avoid a waterlogged salad, we toss the shreds with salt and sugar to soften them slightly and draw out moisture. Crispy Asian pears add a touch of sweetness and a bright Dijon-based dressing brings everything together.
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Dinner 3: Moroccan Chicken Tagine and Couscous
Game Plan: Start with the tagine. Once the carrots, apricots, and chicken breasts have been added to the pot (step 4), start preparing the couscous. As you brown the couscous, keep an eye on the chicken to make sure it doesn't overcook.
Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Apricots offers rich flavor in about one hour. A standard braising procedure builds complexity: First, we brown skin-on chicken pieces to give the braising liquid savory depth; next, we remove the chicken from the pot and sauté onion, strips of lemon zest, garlic, and a heady spice blend (paprika, cumin, cayenne, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon) in a little oil. Finally, after adding chicken broth and honey, we return the chicken to the pot to finish cooking. We use a pilaf method for our Couscous with Dates and Pistachios that starts with gently browning the pasta to add toastiness. We steam the couscous in a combination of chicken broth and water before stirring in dates and pistachios for sweetness and crunch.
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