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: Avgolemono with Steamed Broccolini
Game Plan: Start the soup. As the chicken cooks in step 2, prep the broccolini. Finish making the soup (steps 3 and 4) and let it stand, covered, while you steam the broccolini.
Avgolemono, or Greek chicken and rice soup, gets its name from the egg-lemon mixture that thickens and flavors it. Our version contains tender shreds of chicken that are poached to perfection by sitting off the heat in hot broth. Processing eggs, yolks, and a portion of the cooked rice in a blender and then stirring this puree into the broth produces a velvety consistency. The tender florets of broccolini cook more quickly than its thicker stems, resulting in overcooked florets by the time the stalks become crisp-tender. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Garlic and Mustard, we solve this problem by splitting the thicker stems lengthwise so that they are the same size as the thinner ones, allowing for even cooking along the length of the vegetable.
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Dinner 2: Baked Sole and Bulgur Salad
Game Plan: Note: The bulgur takes more than an hour to soak, but this can be done up to a day in advance if desired. Once the bulgur is fully soaked, prep and bake the fish. Finish the salad as the fish cooks.
For our Baked Sole Fillets with Herbs and Bread Crumbs, we roll the fillets into compact bundles so they cook evenly. To enliven the fish’s mild flavor, we add Dijon mustard and a variety of fresh herbs. A simple topping of toasted bread crumbs contributes texture and richness. Bulgur Salad with Carrots and Almonds utilizes the technique for making tabbouleh, where the bulgur is soaked to soften. To enhance the grain’s nutty flavor, we incorporate ground cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon, shredded carrot, and crunchy almonds. Lots of chopped fresh mint, cilantro, and scallions make our salad fresh and bright.
The Best 13 by 9-Inch Baking Pans/DishesCould it possibly make much difference which metal 13 by 9-inch pan you use? Several dozen rounds of baking later, the answer was an unequivocal yes.
Dinner 3: Sautéed Pork Cutlets and Sautéed Spinach
Game Plan: Start by prepping and brining the pork. While the cutlets brine, make the sauce for the pork (step 2) and fry the garlic chips for the spinach. Once the second batch of cutlets has been transferred to the warm oven, sauté the spinach while finishing the sauce for the pork.
Instead of using supermarket pork cutlets for our Sautéed Pork Cutlets with Lemon-Caper Sauce, we opt for boneless country-style spare ribs that we pound ¼ inch thick. We brine the meat to retain moisture and then sauté it in a combination of olive oil and butter to promote browning. To wilt the spinach leaves for Sautéed Spinach with Garlic Chips and Pepper Flakes, we place them, still a little damp from washing, into a pot with a small amount of fat over medium-high heat and cover the pot. The water clinging to the spinach is all that is required to wilt down the huge volume of raw leaves to a manageable quantity.