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: Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe and Citrus Salad
Game Plan: Prep and salt the citrus and bring the pasta water to a boil. Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Make the pasta, using the time when the sauce is reducing (step 5) to compose the salad.
Rich Italian sausage and crisp-tender broccoli rabe make the perfect pair in Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage. We combine the pasta cooking water with chicken broth to create a lightly thickened sauce that coats the pasta. Parmesan cheese, along with anchovy fillets, lemon juice, and olive oil, rounds out the flavors of our sauce. We salt grapefruit and oranges for our Citrus Salad with Radicchio, Dates, and Smoked Almonds to counter their bitter notes and remove excess juice, some of which we use in the dressing. Salted nuts add richness that contrast nicely with the fruit and assertive radicchio and dates add texture and sweetness.
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Dinner 2: Cod and Potato Cakes and Sautéed Green Beans
Game Plan: If you only have one nonstick skillet, cook the green beans in a traditional or carbon-steel skillet. Prepare the fish cakes through step 3. While they chill, prep the green beans. Fry the fish cakes, then hold them in a 200-degree oven while you sauté the green beans.
For our Cod and Potato Cakes, we use a relatively small amount of mashed potato to keep the cod flavor at the forefront. We cook the fish and potato without extra liquid (the former in a skillet and the latter in the microwave) to keep the cakes firm rather than mushy. A single egg helps bind the cakes, and a short stint in the freezer firms them up so they are easy to maneuver in a skillet. Simple aromatics—garlic, scallions, and thyme—complement the mild fish. For Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic and Herbs that are tender, lightly browned, and fresh tasting, we sauté the beans first, then add water to the pan and cover it so the beans finish cooking in steam.
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Dinner 3: Stovetop Roast Chicken and Sautéed Swiss Chard
Game Plan: Start by prepping and cooking the chicken through step 3, using the unattended cooking time to prep the Swiss chard. While the cooking liquid settles for the chicken (end of step 3), sauté the Swiss chard. Make the sauce for the chicken as the Swiss chard finishes cooking.
Stovetop Roast Chicken with Lemon-Herb Sauce has all the features of an oven-roasted bird, without having to preheat your oven. A technique of searing, steaming, and searing again yields chicken with crisp, golden skin, evenly cooked meat, and a flavorful sauce. The key to mastering Sautéed Swiss Chard with Garlic is getting 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 to maintain their earthiness.
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