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: Thai-Style Pork Lettuce Wraps and Baby Bok Choy
Game Plan: Prep the pork through step 2. As the pork sits, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Cook the pork through step 4. Sauté the bok choy. Once the bok choy is done, finish the pork (step 5.)
To produce uniform, moist pieces of meat in our Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps, we chop the pork in the food processor and then marinate it in a little fish sauce so it will retain moisture during cooking. Next, we add sugar to balance the tart (lime juice), salty (fish sauce), and hot (dried chiles) flavors characteristic of Thai cuisine. Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Shallot and Fish Sauce calls for lightly steaming the vegetable to soften its stems before it is quickly sautéed. A mix of fish sauce, shallots, and garlic forms the base of a salty, aromatic sauce.
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Dinner 2: Shrimp Scampi and Pan-Steamed Broccolini
Game Plan: You will need two 12-inch skillets for this pairing. Start by brining the shrimp. Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients for both dishes. Start cooking the scampi. Once the shrimp is added to the skillet in step 3, start cooking the broccolini.
Our Shrimp Scampi recipe uses a few test kitchen tricks to ensure flavorful and well-cooked shrimp. First, we brine the shrimp to season them throughout and keep them moist and juicy. Then we poach the shrimp in wine rather than sauté them, so they cook evenly and gently. The tender florets of broccolini cook more quickly than its thicker stems, resulting in overcooked florets by the time the stalks become crisp-tender. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Shallot, we ensure even cooking by splitting the thicker stems lengthwise so that they are the same size as the thinner ones.
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Dinner 3: Grilled Chicken Thighs and Sautéed Corn
Game Plan: Prep and grill the chicken. As the chicken cooks, prep the corn ingredients. Sauté the corn while the chicken rests.
Our Grilled Chicken Thighs recipe calls for grilling the chicken slowly over indirect heat, which allows its collagen to break down into gelatin so the meat tastes moist and silky. We coat the thighs with a bold paste, applying most of it to the flesh side so as not to introduce too much moisture to the skin that would interfere with crisping. To ensure that the corn in our Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes, Ricotta Salata, and Basil has rich, toasted flavor, it is important not to stir it in the skillet for a few minutes so it has a chance to brown. Once the corn is cooked, we mix in plenty of salty ricotta salata and bright cherry tomatoes.
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