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: Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic and Caesar Salad
Game Plan: Start by making the croutons and soaking the garlic paste in lemon juice for the salad dressing. While the grill heats, finish the dressing. Grill the steaks. Toss the salad while the steaks rest.
Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic is a simple dish that consists of a beautifully grilled steak lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. The grassy oil complements the beef, while the acidic lemon juice sharpens the flavors. For heady— but not overpowering—garlic flavor in our Caesar Salad, we use a rasp-style grater to turn garlic cloves to a paste and then steep the paste in lemon juice to temper its bite. To emulsify the dressing, we beat egg yolks, anchovies, and Worcestershire sauce into the lemon juice and garlic and then slowly drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. For tender-crisp croutons, we sprinkle cubes of ciabatta bread with a little water to preserve their moistness even after they are toasted.
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Dinner 2: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Leafy Green Salad
Game Plan: Start by bringing the pasta water to a boil. Next, cook the garlic mixture for the pasta, using any unattended time to prep the salad ingredients. Toss the salad once the pasta is done.
Both of the recipes in this pairing are customizable. For Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts, the only two flavorings that we consider absolutely necessary are the garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. With those ingredients alone, you can produce a great pasta dish. The recipe works best with a long strand pasta, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The Parmesan and pine nuts add richness and texture, but other cheeses (try Pecorino Romano) and nuts (we like slivered almonds), are good, too. The Leafy Green Salad can also be adapted. Feel free to use any type of vinegar in the dressing, but make sure to stick with a 4:1 ratio of oil to acid.
The Best Garlic PressesSure, you can mince garlic with a knife, but a good garlic press makes the job faster and easier.
Dinner 3: Gazpacho Andaluz and Goat Cheese Garlic Bread
Game Plan: Start by prepping the soup (steps 1 and 2). While the vegetables sit, prep the garlic bread. Bake the bread while you finish the soup.
Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz is a refreshing soup that highlights summer produce. For ideal flavor, make it a day in advance, but it's also fine to eat it right away. If you don’t have white sandwich bread, other types of bread can be substituted: Use about 1 cup of crustless, torn bread pieces. 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 used. A loaf of supermarket Italian bread, which has a soft, thin crust and a fine crumb, works best here.