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Volume 13

Dinner This Week: Lemony Roast Chicken

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Skillet-Roasted Chicken, Cheesy Nachos, and Vegetable Curry for dinner in an hour or less.

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: Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce and Sautéed Peas

Inspired by the lemon chicken served at Rao’s restaurant in New York, our Skillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce starts with chicken parts that we brown in a skillet and then braise in a lemon-juice-and-chicken-broth-based sauce. A mere 1/4 cup of lemon juice gives the sauce just the right degree of brightness, and a touch of lemon zest adds more citrus flavor without extra acidity. Sautéed Peas start with frozen peas, which we often find to be sweeter and fresher tasting than fresh peas. We enliven the peas with ¼ cup of minced mint.

Printable Shopping ListsSkillet-Roasted Chicken in Lemon Sauce and Sautéed Peas

Equipment Review Digital Instant-Read Thermometers

We've recommended a Thermapen for more than a decade, but there's new competition. Is it still the best digital thermometer?

Dinner 2: Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef and Breaded Chicken Fingers

Here's a Superbowl-ready pairing that can be on the coffee table in less than an hour. To ensure that the tortilla chips in our Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef are cheesy and spicy, we layer them with a full pound of shredded cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeños. In addition to quick homemade salsa and guacamole, we top the nachos with a quick-to-make spiced ground beef mixture to make them more substantial. For from-scratch Breaded Chicken Fingers, we use 6-ounce breasts and cut them on the diagonal into ¾-inch strips to yield the most consistently sized pieces. Japanese panko bread crumbs generate a crust with a toasty, wheaty flavor and shatteringly crisp texture.

Printable Shopping ListsCheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef and Breaded Chicken Fingers

Equipment Review Broiler-Safe 13 by 9-Inch Baking Dishes

Since our favorite 13 by 9-inch Pyrex dish can’t go under the broiler, we looked for one that could.

Dinner 3: Indian-Style Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice Pilaf

Toasting store-bought curry powder in a skillet for our Indian-Style Vegetable Curry turns it into a flavor powerhouse. In addition to the curry powder, a few pinches of garam masala add even more spice flavor. To build the rest of our flavor base, we start with a generous amount of golden sautéed onions plus potent aromatics like garlic, ginger, and fresh chiles. For Basmati Rice Pilaf with light, fluffy, aromatic grains, we first rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Then we sizzle whole spices in oil before toasting the rice itself. A final step of steaming ensures a dry, fluffy texture.

Printable Shopping ListsIndian-Style Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice Pilaf

To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.