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 that dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner 1: Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches and Chopped Carrot Salad
Game Plan: Start by draining the yogurt and salting the cucumber for the tzatziki sauce. Meanwhile, prep the lamb patties and make the carrot salad. Once the tzatziki has been mixed, finish preparing the sandwiches (steps 5 and 6).
For Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce with the same flavors and textures as restaurant gyros, we pan-fry ground lamb patties seasoned with oregano, onion, and minced garlic. To ensure that the patties are juicy, we add a panade (a paste of fresh bread crumbs and milk), substituting pita crumbs for the traditional bread crumbs. Chopped Carrot Salad with Mint, Pistachios, and Pomegranate Seeds starts by finely chopping carrots in the food processor instead of grating them by hand. This produces a delicately crunchy, light-textured base in just seconds. We save even more time by not peeling the carrots; scrubbing them is sufficient, and the skins contribute a subtle but pleasant bitterness. Plenty of fresh mint, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pistachios brighten things up and a lively dressing brings the salad together.
Printable Shopping Lists: Greek-Style Lamb Pita Sandwiches with Tzatziki Sauce and Chopped Carrot Salad with Mint, Pistachios, and Pomegranate Seeds
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Dinner 2: Cod Baked in Foil and Braised Red Potatoes
Game Plan: Begin by prepping the ingredients for the fish. Next, start cooking the potatoes. As the potatoes simmer, make the fish packets. Once the lid has been removed from the potatoes, start cooking the fish. Plate the fish as the potatoes finish.
Cod Baked in Foil with Leeks and Carrots yields flaky fish and tender but firm vegetables flavored by aromatic juices. We place the packets on the lower-middle rack of the oven close to the heat source in order to cook the fish and vegetables quickly and evenly and also to reduce the exuded liquid into a flavorful sauce. Braised Red Potatoes with Lemon and Chives is a one-pot side dish that features the benefits of both boiling and roasting. We combine small red potatoes, butter, and salted water in a 12-inch skillet and simmer the potatoes until they turn creamy. We then fully evaporate the water and allow the potatoes to brown in the butter.
The Best Rimmed Baking SheetsA rimmed baking sheet is essential for sheet cakes and handy for cookies. But if yours is flimsy or you use it only for baking, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Dinner 3: Chicken Piccata and Pan-Roasted Pear Salad
Game Plan: Start by cooking the pears and then allow them to cool while prepping the chicken and the remaining salad ingredients. Cook the chicken and then toss the salad right before serving.
For Chicken Piccata with tender chicken and a rich, flavorful lemon sauce, we start by briefly salting the cutlets to boost their ability to retain moisture and then lightly coat them in flour, which helps with browning. We sear the cutlets quickly on both sides and set them aside while making the sauce, which includes both lemon juice and lemon slices for complexity and textural appeal. A hearty amount of briny capers and a few tablespoons of butter finish the dish. For Pan-Roasted Pear Salad with Watercress, Parmesan, and Pecans, we toss quartered pears with a little sugar and cook them in a skillet until golden brown and softened. Adding a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the hot pan yields a sweet/tart glaze. Spicy watercress balances the sweet pears and shaved Parmesan and toasted pecans add richness and texture.
Printable Shopping Lists: Chicken Piccata with Pan-Roasted Pear Salad with Watercress, Parmesan, and Pecans