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: Asparagus Frittata with Spinach Salad
Game Plan: Prep the ingredients for both dishes and then start the frittata. While the frittata stands, toss the salad.
Our Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata combines a well-seasoned filling of grassy asparagus and tangy goat cheese with a dozen eggs to make a substantial dinner. To help the eggs stay tender even when cooked to a relatively high temperature, we add milk and salt. The liquid dilutes the proteins, making it harder for them to coagulate and turn the eggs rubbery, and the salt weakens the interactions between proteins, producing a softer curd. In our brightly flavored Wilted Spinach Salad with Oranges, Radishes, and Citrus Vinaigrette, the dressing does the work of wilting the greens. Simply heat the dressing ingredients in a skillet and pour it over the spinach. Orange segments add sweetness and radishes contribute a spicy crunch.
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Dinner 2: Moroccan Chicken Tagine and Couscous
Game Plan: Start with the tagine. Once the carrots, apricots, and chicken breasts have been added to the pot (step 4), start preparing the couscous. As you brown the couscous, keep an eye on the chicken to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Apricots offers rich flavor in about one hour. A standard braising procedure builds complexity: First, we brown skin-on chicken pieces to give the braising liquid savory depth; next, we remove the chicken from the pot and sauté onion, strips of lemon zest, garlic, and a heady spice blend (paprika, cumin, cayenne, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon) in a little oil. Finally, after adding chicken broth and honey, we return the chicken to the pot to finish cooking. For Basic Couscous, we use the “pilaf method,” which allows the couscous to brown gently and uniformly and cook up fluffy and separate. We bump up the flavor by using a combination of chicken broth and water.
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Dinner 3: Spaghetti Puttanesca and Green Bean Salad
Game Plan: Bring pots of water to a boil for the pasta and green beans while prepping the ingredients for both dishes. Start cooking the pasta sauce (step 1). While the sauce simmers, blanch the green beans. While the pasta is boiling, toss the salad.
Boldly flavored Spaghetti Putanesca comes together quickly using a handful of pantry staples. Canned whole tomatoes that have been drained and chopped can be used in place of the diced tomatoes. Two teaspoons of anchovy paste can be substituted for the fillets. Basil can stand in for the parsley, but we recommend reducing the amount to 2 tablespoons. The ingredients in Green Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Feta can be adjusted as well. Goat cheese makes for a good substitute for the feta, and feel free to use balsamic or red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice.