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 This Week: Garlicky Shrimp Pasta
Dinner 1: Garlicky Shrimp Pasta and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Start by marinating the shrimp (step 1). Meanwhile, prep the salad and the remaining shrimp ingredients. Cook the shrimp and pasta, tossing the salad right before serving.
Garlicky Shrimp Pasta features al dente pasta and moist shrimp bound by a rich sauce. To infuse the shrimp with deep garlic flavor and keep them juicy, we marinate them in a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, and salt. To build a complex sauce, we use bright, herbal vermouth and briny bottled clam broth. A little bit of flour in the sauce ensures that it clings to the shrimp and pasta. For our Arugula Salad with Pears, Almonds, Goat Cheese, and Dried Apricots, we found ingredients to temper the assertiveness of the arugula while accommodating its lively flavor. Fruit and cheese add sweet and salty notes to balance the peppery greens. For the dressing, our surprise solution was to add a spoonful of jam, which adds fruity sweetness that pulls the flavors into line.
Printable Shopping Lists: Garlicky Shrimp Pasta and Arugula Salad
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Dinner 2: Cast Iron Steaks and Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Game Plan: Start by preheating your cast-iron skillet in the oven. Meanwhile, make the butter for the steaks and the garlic butter (step 2) for the potatoes. Next, start cooking the potatoes. Once they are gently simmering, start searing the steaks. When the steaks are resting, the potatoes should be ready to mash.
Cast Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter employs a cast-iron skillet: Its heat-retention properties are ideal for a perfect sear. Heating the skillet in the oven, rather than on the stovetop, ensures even heat distribution. Flipping the steak every two minutes leads to a shorter cooking time and reduces the gray band of dry, overcooked meat just beneath the surface of the crust. Our Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes have a triple dose of garlic for truly complex flavor. We start with garlic paste sautéed in butter for clean, mellow sweetness; follow that with a small amount of raw garlic paste for assertiveness; and then finish with rehydrated garlic powder (also sautéed in butter) for a complex, lightly roasted flavor. Rehydrating the garlic powder in water reactivates the enzyme that produces the compound allicin, which is responsible for garlic’s characteristic flavor.
Printable Shopping Lists: Cast Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter and Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
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Dinner 3: Sesame-Crusted Salmon and Quinoa Pilaf
Game Plan: Start by prepping and cooking the quinoa. Once the quinoa is simmering, prep and cook the salmon. If the quinoa pilaf is done before the salmon, set it aside and stir in the scallions, vinegar, and mirin just before serving.
For Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Lemon and Ginger, we brine the fillets to ensure that each piece is well seasoned and remains moist after cooking. We also brine and toast the sesame seeds to bring out their flavor. Finally, we use tahini paste combined with citrus juice to glue the sesame seeds to the fillets. To develop nuttiness in our Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitakes, Edamame, and Ginger, we toast the grains in a dry skillet before adding liquid. We then season the pilaf with boldly flavored ingredients such as scallions, mirin, and ginger.
Printable Shopping Lists: Sesame-Crusted Salmon and Quinoa Pilaf
View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.
- Dinner This Week: Greek-Style Pita Sandwiches
- Dinner This Week: Pork Schnitzel
- Dinner This Week: Chorizo Frittata
- Dinner This Week: Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Dinner This Week: Honey Glazed Chicken
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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.
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!
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.