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: Sautéed Chicken Cutlets and Pan-Steamed Asparagus
Game Plan: Both of these recipes cook quickly, so prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. After transferring the chicken to the oven to keep warm, start making the sauce. Steam the asparagus while the sauce reduces.
Sautéed Chicken Cutlets with Shallot & White Wine Sauce features juicy, ultrathin chicken paired with a sauce that complements, rather than overpowers, the delicate meat. For evenly sized cutlets, we take a two-step approach: We halve chicken breasts horizontally before pounding them to an even thickness under plastic wrap. This ensures that they cook at the same rate and turn out moist, tender, and juicy. Pan-Steamed Asparagus with Garlic preserves the fresh, sweet, grassy flavor of the vegetable and produces a crisp-tender texture. We steam the asparagus in a small amount of water in a skillet to which we also add butter, salt, and garlic. Next, we allow the water to evaporate, leaving the asparagus glossed with garlicky butter.
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Dinner 2: Split Pea and Ham Soup and Drop Biscuits
Game Plan: Start by making the soup. Once the carrots and celery have been added to the pot, prepare and bake the biscuits.
Split Pea and Ham Soup eschews the traditional hambone and instead uses a ham steak. Simmering the ham in water along with some bacon makes the soup smoky and meaty. Unsoaked green split peas absorb the pork-enriched broth so that every layer of the soup is deeply flavored. 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.
Rimmed Baking Sheet LidNo kitchen should be without a rimmed baking sheet and a matching wire rack. Is a plastic lid essential, too?
Dinner 3: Stir-Fried Cumin Beef and Steamed White Rice
Game Plan: Prep and treat the flank steak. While the beef sits, prep the remaining stir-fry ingredients. Steam the rice. Once the rice is fully cooked, let it stand off heat while you cook the stir-fry.
Stir-Fried Cumin Beef features tender pieces of meat stir-fried with onions and aromatics, lightly glossed in a soy sauce–based glaze, seasoned with spices, and finished with cilantro. We treat beef flank steak with baking soda, which raises the meat’s pH so that it stays moist and tender during cooking. To prevent the meat from overcooking before it browns, we stir-fry it in two batches until its juices are reduced to a sticky fond that coats each slice. Steamed White Rice 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 the rice in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.