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: Spanish Tortilla with Bibb and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Prep the tortilla ingredients and start cooking the potatoes (step 1). As the potatoes cook, prep the salad ingredients and make the dressing. Once the fully cooked tortilla has cooled for 15 minutes, toss the salad and serve.
We created a melt-in-your-mouth Spanish Tortilla that wasn’t too greasy by reducing the oil to a mere 6 tablespoons (some recipes call for twice this amount). We also use modereately waxy Yukon Gold potatoes instead of starchy russets, which tended to fall apart in the pan. To flip the tortilla, we slide it out of the pan and onto a plate, then place another plate on top of the tortilla before inverting it and sliding it back into the skillet to cook the second side. Our Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pear and Goat Cheese uses a combination of peppery arugula and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thin slices of subtly sweet pear incorporate easily with the greens. Pepitas add crunch, while soft, pungent goat cheese contributes richness. We use lemon juice as the base of the dressing because it pairs well with the sweetness of the fruit.
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Dinner 2: Carne Asada and Refried Beans
Game Plan: Start by salting the steaks (step 1). While the steaks sit, prep and cook the beans through step 2. Light your grill, and as the grill heats, finish cooking the beans, waiting to add the cilantro. As the grilled steaks rest, rewarm the beans and garnish with the cilantro.
Carne Asada starts with rich, beefy skirt steak. This cut is most tender and juicy when cooked to medium, which allows us to create plenty of char on its exterior without overcooking the interior. For heady garlic flavor, we rub the rough crusts of the steak with a smashed garlic clove. Salt pork gives our Refried Beans meatiness; onions, garlic, chiles, and cumin provide complexity; and cilantro and lime juice added at the end lend brightness.
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Dinner 3: Sesame Noodles and Sautéed Snow Peas
Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for both dishes. Broil the chicken and boil and cool the noodles, but don’t toss the components of the dish together yet. Sauté the snow peas and then toss the noodle dish right before serving.
We start the sauce for Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken by combining freshly ground sesame seeds with chunky peanut butter. Next, we add fresh garlic and ginger as well as soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and brown sugar. Shreds of broiled chicken breast, thinly sliced scallion, and shredded carrot add color and texture. Adding a little sugar to Sautéed Snow Peas with Ginger, Garlic, and Scallion helps to bump up the peas' natural flavor. To keep the pods crisp, we limit the cooking time: Two minutes is enough heat for most peas. Final punches of flavor come from garlic, cumin, and cilantro.
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