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: 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.
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Dinner 2: Grilled Chicken Breasts and Cucumber Salad
Game Plan: Start by brining the chicken. After it has brined for 15 minutes, heat your grill. Meanwhile, prep the cucumber salad (steps 1 and 2). Grill the chicken, tossing the cucumber salad right before serving.
Grilled Bone-in Chicken Breasts produces a nicely charred exterior and moist, seasoned interior. The chicken can be grilled plain or with one of the suggested glazes. The ingredients in Cucumber Salad with Olives, Oregano, and Almonds can be adjusted to suit what you have on hand. Our preference is to use a black olives, but other varieties will work nicely. The shallot can be omitted, or try thinly sliced red onion instead.
10-Inch Chef's KnifeOur favorite chef’s knife features an 8-inch blade. Can a knife with a larger blade make prepping food easier?
Dinner 3: Salmon Cakes and Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas
Game Plan: Both recipes call for a 12-inch skillet. If you only have one traditional skillet, a nonstick or cast-iron skillet can be used to cook the salmon cakes. First, mix and shape the cakes. Next, make the garnish for the peas (step 1). Fry the salmon cakes. While the cakes brown, sauté the peas.
For our Easy Salmon Cakes, we turn to the food processor. Pulsing small pieces of salmon allows for more even chopping and results in small, discrete pieces of fish. If you don’t have a shallot, you can omit it and add an additional scallion. Other types of tender herbs, such as cilantro or basil, can be used in place of the parsley. Sugar Snap Peas with Pine Nuts, Fennel, and Lemon Zest calls for a hybrid cooking technique for the best flavor and texture. Other varieties of nuts can be swapped in; almonds or pistachios are good choices. Orange zest can be used in place of lemon.