Skip to main content

Dinner This Week: Speedy Shrimp Stir-Fry

This week’s menus include Stir-Fried Shrimp with Onion, Bell Peppers, and Cumin, Pasta e Fagioli, and Cuban-Style Picadillo for dinner in about an hour
By Published Oct. 12, 2022

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.

Jump to a Section

Dinner 1: Stir-Fried Shrimp and Steamed White Rice

shrimp stir fry with color strips of bell peppersbowl of sticky rice with chopsticks

Game Plan: Start by cooking the rice. As the rice steams, prep the stir-fry ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, set it aside to keep warm while preparing the stir-fry.

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Onion, Bell Peppers, and Cumin starts with tossing the shrimp with a little salt and sugar and letting them sit for 30 minutes. This not only seasons the shrimp but also helps them retain moisture during cooking. When the shrimp are almost ready, we quickly stir-fry the vegetables and set them aside. Then, rather than cook the shrimp over high heat as most recipes call for, we add the sauce to a skillet and poach the shrimp gently in the liquid, covered, to ensure that they stay moist. We serve the stir-fry with Steamed White Rice, which is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. Rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and starting them in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.

Printable Shopping Lists: Stir-Fried Shrimp and Steamed White Rice

Sign up for the Cook's Insider newsletter

The latest recipes, tips, and tricks, plus behind-the-scenes stories from the Cook's Illustrated team.

Dinner 2: Pasta e Fagioli and Roasted Broccoli

bowl of vegetable soup being drizzled with oilplatter of broccoli stalks with wedges of lemon

Game Plan: Prep and cook the soup, using any unattended cooking time to prep the broccoli. Once the pasta has been added to the soup, start roasting the broccoli.

To build complexity in a short amount of time in Pasta e Fagioli, we looked for some quick flavor boosters. Adding the tomatoes and beans together allows them to absorb flavor from each other; a combination of chicken broth and water creates richness without turning the dish into chicken soup; a Parmesan rind gives depth; and a finish of parsley and minced anchovies lends a bright final note. We pair the soup with Roasted Broccoli that boasts a concentrated nutty sweetness and dappled brown exterior. To maximize contact with the baking sheet, which promotes even cooking and browning, we cut the crown into large wedges and slice the stalks into long rectangular pieces.  

Printable Shopping Lists:  Pasta e Fagioli with Roasted Broccoli

Dinner 3: Cuban Picadillo and Quinoa Salad

pink plate of picadillo on ricebowl of quinoa studded with red pepper

Game Plan: Toast and simmer the quinoa (step 1). While the quinoa cooks, soak the meat and prep the picadillo ingredients. While the quinoa cools, start the picadillo. As the meat simmers, make the dressing and assemble the salad.

For Cuban Picadillo, we use a mixture of store-bought ground beef and pork for rich flavor. To keep the meat tender and moist, we soak it in a baking soda solution. Canned tomatoes and white wine provide bright flavor, and raisins introduce sweetness. For our Quinoa Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Cilantro, we start by toasting the quinoa to bring out its nutty taste. Spreading the cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet to cool produces the fluffiest grains and creates a salad with a light texture.

Printable Shopping Lists: Cuban Picadillo and Quinoa Salad

View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.


0 Comments

Try All-Access Membership to Unlock the Comments
Don't miss the conversation. Our test cooks and editors jump in to answer your questions, and our members are curious, opinionated, and respectful.
Membership includes instant access to everything on our sites:
  • 10,000+ foolproof recipes and why they work
  • Taste Tests of supermarket ingredients
  • Equipment Reviews save you money and time
  • Videos including full episodes and clips
  • Live Q&A with Test Kitchen experts
Start Free Trial
JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.