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Volume 33

Dinner This Week: Carne Asada

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Carne Asada, Skillet-Roasted Fish, Grilled Glazed Chicken Breasts for dinner in about an hour.

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: Carne Asada and Refried Beans

Carne Asada starts with rich, beefy skirt steak. This cut is most tender and juicy when cooked to medium, which allows us to create plenty of char on its exterior without overcooking the interior. For heady garlic flavor, we rub the rough crusts of the steak with a smashed garlic clove. Salt pork gives our Refried Beans meatiness; onions, garlic, chiles, and cumin provide complexity; and cilantro and lime juice added at the end lend brightness.

Printable Shopping Lists: Mexican-Style Grilled Steak and Refried Beans

Equipment Review 12-Inch Nonstick Skillets

We demanded our contenders clear a slew of sticky hurdles.

Dinner 2: Skillet-Roasted Fish Fillets and Pita Bread Salad

For evenly cooked Skillet-Roasted Fish Fillets,  we sear the fish in a hot pan, flip it over, then transfer it to a hot oven to finish cooking. A sprinkle of sugar mixes with moisture on the surface of the fish, accelerating browning and giving the fillets a rich color and deep flavor that’s anything but sweet. Pita Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumber (Fattoush) is at its best when it combines fresh, flavorful produce with crisp pita chips and bright herbs. To make the pita moisture-repellent, we brush its craggy sides with plenty of olive oil before baking. The oil prevents the chips from absorbing too much moisture from the salad and becoming soggy. 

Printable Shopping Lists: Skillet-Roasted Fish Fillets and Pita Bread Salad

Equipment Review Kitchen Shears

A pair of scissors can be a sheer pleasure to use in the kitchen—if you get the right one.

Dinner 3: Grilled Glazed Chicken Breasts and Israeli Couscous Salad

Our recipe for Grilled Glazed Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts calls for dry milk powder to hasten the Maillard reaction and provide a craggy surface for the glaze to adhere to. For a thick, savory glaze, we use a small amount of corn syrup, which is less sweet than sugar, to provide viscosity without too much sweetness. Mustard and vinegar round out the flavors. To make Israeli Couscous with Tomatoes, Olives, and Ricotta Salata, we toast the pasta spheres in oil to bring out their nuttiness and then cook them in a measured amount of water to produce evenly cooked grains. We dress the couscous with a bold vinaigrette of equal parts acid and oil and then mix in plenty of fresh vegetables, cheese, and herbs.

Printable Shopping Lists: Grilled Glazed Chicken Breasts and Israeli Couscous Salad



View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.

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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.