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: Pork Schnitzel and German Potato Salad
Game Plan: Start by putting the potatoes on to boil. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing for the potatoes and microwave the bread for the pork. Once the salad has been mixed, finish prepping and cooking the pork.
Our Breaded Pork Cutlets (Pork Schnitzel) feature thin pork tenderloin cutlets that are coated in ultrafine bread crumbs and then fried until puffy and golden brown. Microwaving bread cubes before grinding them produces extra-dry bread crumbs that help with crispness, but the real breakthrough is in the frying method. To get the characteristic puffiness and rumpled appearance, we cook the cutlets in a Dutch oven in an inch of oil, shaking the pot to get some of the oil over the top of the meat. The heat quickly solidifies the egg in the coating so that the steam from the meat can't escape and instead puffs the coating. For our German Potato Salad, we start with a low-starch potato, which remains intact when cooked. Next, we fry up plenty of bacon and use part of the rendered fat in the vinaigrette, along with white vinegar, whole-grain mustard, sugar, and some of the potato cooking water.
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Dinner 2: Shrimp and White Bean Stew with Green Leaf and Radicchio Salad
Game Plan: Start by brining the shrimp (step 1) and then prep the remaining ingredients for the stew. Cook the stew, using the simmering time to prep the salad ingredients. Toss the salad right before serving.
To give our Garlicky Shrimp, Tomato, and White Bean Stew a full seafood flavor, we make a quick concentrated stock with the shrimp shells and use it to simmer the beans. To season the shrimp and keep them plump and juicy, we brine them briefly, add them late in the cooking process, and then reduce the heat so that they gently simmer. Plenty of basil provides herbal freshness; lemon juice and zest contribute acidity and aroma. Our Green Leaf and Radicchio Salad with Grapefruit and Fennel uses a combination of soft, mineral-y green leaf lettuce and bitter, crunchy radicchio. Sweet, peppery grapefruit and grassy fennel both counteract the bitterness of the radicchio and add brightness. Parmesan cheese contributes richness that helps round out the flavors.
Printable Shopping Lists: Garlicky Shrimp, Tomato, and White Bean Stew and Green Leaf and Radicchio Salad with Grapefruit and Fennel
Measuring SpoonsSmall design elements make a big difference.
Dinner 3: Butternut Squash Soup and Drop Biscuits
Game Plan: Start by prepping the squash. While it is in the microwave, preheat your oven and prep the remaining soup and biscuit ingredients. As the squash caramelizes on the stovetop (step 2), mix, shape, and bake the biscuits.
For Butternut Squash Soup with intense squash flavor, we start by microwaving large chunks of squash to hasten the cooking process. We then slowly caramelize the parcooked squash on the stovetop until a thick brown fond develops. Deglazing and scraping up the fond gives the soup the deep flavor of roasted squash. Our Best Drop Biscuits offer an easy-to-make alternative to traditional rolled biscuits, with the same tenderness and buttery flavor. The key is to let the melted butter clump in the cold buttermilk. These pockets of butter expand during baking, creating a light, airy crumb.