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: Pan-Seared Flank Steak and Mexican Corn Salad
Game Plan: Start with prepping and baking the steaks. While the steaks are in the oven, prepare the salad through step 3. While the salad cools, sear the steak. Toss the salad while the steak rests.
To produce well-browned Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Sriracha-Lime Butter, we first cut a single steak into four individual steaks so that they fit neatly in a skillet. We then slowly bake the steaks to ensure that all of the pieces are evenly cooked to medium-rare. Finally, we sear the steaks in a hot skillet to brown their exteriors. Our Mexican Corn Salad features charred kernels with a nutty, slightly bitter flavor that complements the corn's natural sweetness. We brown and char the corn on the stovetop in a covered skillet. The lid prevents the kernels from popping out of the hot skillet and also traps steam, which helps cook the corn. We dress the kernels with a creamy and tangy mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise, and lime juice and finish the salad with chopped fresh cilantro and spicy serrano chiles.
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Dinner 2: Quinoa and Vegetable Stew and Corn Muffins
Game Plan: Preheat your oven while prepping the ingredients for both recipes. Start making the stew (step 1). While the potatoes simmer, mix and bake the muffins (steps 1 and 2). Finish the stew while the muffins bake and cool.
Quinoa and Vegetable Stew is based on a dish common in the Andean regions of South America. Red bell peppers, tomatoes, red potatoes, sweet corn, and peas make for a hearty, fresh mix of vegetables. To give the stew body, we cook the potatoes until they are very soft and have released their starches. Traditional garnishes of queso fresco, avocado, and cilantro add richness and color. For a Savory Corn Muffin with great cornmeal flavor, we use a ratio of 2 parts cornmeal to 1 part flour and ditch the copious amount of sugar found in most recipes. To keep the muffins from becoming dry, we precook a portion of the cornmeal with milk to make a polenta-like porridge. This hydrates and gels the starch in the cornmeal and traps free water to produce a supermoist muffin.
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Dinner 3: Turkey Meatballs with Soy and Sesame with Carrot and Radish Slaw
Game Plan: Prep and mix the meatballs (steps 1 and 2). While the meatballs rest, prep and salt the vegetables and make the dressing for the slaw. Cook the meatballs, tossing the slaw ingredients together right before serving.
Thanks to couple of test kitchen tricks, our Turkey Meatballs with Soy and Sesame rival those made with beef or pork. We start with 93 or 85 percent lean turkey and add an egg and fresh bread crumbs to create a cohesive mixture. We also stir in a small amount of unflavored gelatin, which traps moisture and gives the meatballs a juicy mouthfeel. To boost meaty flavor, we add glutamate-rich Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and soy sauce. Carrot, Radish, and Asian Pear Slaw is a new take on coleslaw. We trade out everyday cabbage for carrots and radishes that lend color and flavor. To avoid a waterlogged salad, we toss the shreds with salt and sugar to soften them slightly and draw out moisture. Crispy Asian pears add a touch of sweetness and a bright Dijon-based dressing brings everything together.