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Volume 19

Dinner This Week: Quick Chicken Tacos

By Keith Dresser Published

In a rut with your weeknight dinners? You're in luck. Every week Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser picks 3 pairings and gives you a game plan to get them on the table 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: Shredded Chicken Tacos with Quinoa Salad

For Shredded Chicken Tacos (Tinga de Pollo) with deep flavor, we cook boneless, skinless thighs in a tomato-and-chipotle-based sauce. Fire-roasted tomatoes increase smokiness, and a little brown sugar and lime juice and zest contribute sweet and sour notes. Before serving, we simmer the shredded chicken in the sauce for a full 10 minutes so the flavorful liquid can work its way into every crevice of the meat. For our Quinoa Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Cilantro, we start by toasting the quinoa to bring out its nutty taste. Spreading the cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet to cool produces the fluffiest grains and creates a salad with a light texture.

Printable Shopping Lists: Shredded Chicken Tacos with Quinoa Salad

Equipment Review Best Midpriced Blenders

From burnt-out motors to cracked pitchers and smoothies that aren’t smooth, most midpriced blenders are a bust. Luckily, we found one you can count on.

Dinner 2: Spanish Tortilla with Bibb and Arugula Salad

We created a melt-in-your-mouth Spanish Tortilla that wasn’t too greasy by reducing the oil to a mere 6 tablespoons (some recipes call for twice this amount). We also use modereately waxy Yukon Gold potatoes instead of starchy russets, which tended to fall apart in the pan. To flip the tortilla, we slide it out of the pan and onto a plate, then place another plate on top of the tortilla before inverting it and sliding it back into the skillet to cook the second side. Our Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pear and Goat Cheese uses a combination of peppery arugula and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thin slices of subtly sweet pear incorporate easily with the greens. Pepitas add crunch, while soft, pungent goat cheese contributes richness. We use lemon juice as the base of the dressing because it pairs well with the sweetness of the fruit.

Printable Shopping ListsSpanish Tortilla with Bibb and Arugula Salad

Equipment Review 12-Inch Nonstick Skillets

We demanded our contenders clear a slew of sticky hurdles.

Dinner 3: Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

Our Swedish Meatballs boast a sausagelike springiness and satisfying snap. To achieve the right texture, we mix beef, pork, bread, cream together in a stand mixer along with a little baking powder, which keeps the meatballs delicate and juicy. For a light, creamy sauce, we add a bit of cream to chicken broth and brighten it up with a splash of lemon juice. Our Mashed Potatoes start with a high-starch russets. We cook the potatoes until they are just tender, but not falling apart (a paring knife can be slipped in and out of the potatoes with very little resistance). Finally, for a silky smooth texture, we use a food mill or potato ricer fitted with the finest disk to process the potatoes.  

Printable Shopping ListsSwedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes


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

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.