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: Garlicky Spaghetti with Clams and Leafy Green Salad
Game Plan: Start by bringing the pasta water to a boil. Next, cook the garlic mixture for the pasta, using any unattended time to prep the salad ingredients. Toss the salad once the pasta is done.
For Garlicky Spaghetti with Clams, the only two flavorings that we consider absolutely necessary are the garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. With those ingredients alone, you can produce a great pasta dish. The recipe works best with a long strand pasta, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The Leafy Green Salad can also be adapted. Feel free to use any type of vinegar in the dressing, but make sure to stick with a 4:1 ratio of oil to acid.
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Dinner 2: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce with Steamed White Rice
Game Plan: Start by cutting and soaking the pork (step 2). While the pork sits, prep the remaining ingredients for the stir-fry. Start steaming the rice. Once the heat for the rice has been turned to low, cook the stir-fry.
To ensure that the meat in Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce is tender and succulent, we soak the pieces in a baking soda solution to tenderize them and help them retain moisture. We serve the stir-fry with Steamed White Rice, which is soft enough to soak up the savory sauce, 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.
The Best Rice CookersWith so many options on the market, which one is best? We cooked 50 batches of rice to find out.
Dinner 3: Indoor Pulled Chicken with Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw
Game Plan: Whisk together the dressing for the coleslaw and place it in the freezer. Next, start the chicken. While the chicken braises, prep the remaining slaw ingredients and microwave the cabbage. Refrigerate the slaw while you finish the chicken.
Indoor Pulled Chicken mimics the flavor and texture of outdoor slow-smoked pulled chicken in a fraction of the time. We braise boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a mixture of chicken broth, salt, sugar, molasses, gelatin, and liquid smoke, then shred the meat and mix it with a tangy barbecue sauce. To keep coleslaw crisp, you need to get rid of the cabbage’s excess water. For our Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw, we do this by microwaving shredded cabbage tossed with salt and sugar. In seconds, the cabbage sheds the same amount of liquid that it would release in 3 hours at room temperature. Cooling down the cabbage is easy: We simply chill the dressing in the freezer and then refrigerate the finished slaw for a few minutes.