Your Dinner Inspiration for This Week

Get inspired for the week ahead with our Chef picks from this week’s menu: a couple all-time favorites to round out the week.

October is finally here! There’s plenty to be excited about this month, from crisp, cool days to turning leaves and of course, pumpkin-spiced everything. Here in the Plated Test Kitchen, we’re super excited for fall produce like Brussels sprouts; they top this week’s crispy vegetable flatbreads. We’re also stepping up our weeknight dinner game with restaurant favorites easily made at home, like a steakhouse-inspired salad (the ranch dressing will have you licking the bowl) and New Orleans–style fish sandwiches.

Speaking of getting fancy, why not give chicken tenders and French fries a totally new take? This week we add a buttery tomato sauce to seared chicken breasts and serve with crispy Parmesan potato wedges. It’s a dish that feels special, yet totally kid-approved. Finish the week with our broccoli-Cheddar mac and cheese for some well-deserved comfort.


Brussels Sprout, Squash, and White Bean Flatbread with Chive Ricotta

1½ pounds whole-wheat pizza dough
12 ounces summer squash
2 lemons, divided
2 shallots, divided
⅛ ounce thyme
⅛ ounce chives
2 cans white beans
2 tablespoons flour
1½ tablespoons sesame seeds
4 packets unsalted butter
12 ounces shredded Brussels sprouts
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 parchment papers

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
2 baking sheets
rolling pin (optional)
12″ large pan
potato masher (optional)

Recipe tips
Want to get a helper in on the kitchen fun? They can use their hands or a rolling pin to gently shape the dough. Don’t worry too much, as there’s no need to be as precise with this rustic flatbread.

To get more color on your vegetables, let them cook in the pan for a couple minutes without stirring, then stir and let cook a couple minutes more.


1. Prepare ingredients

Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove pizza dough from bag and let soften at room temperature. Rinse all produce. Quarter summer squash lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise, discarding ends. Halve lemons. Peel shallots, halve, and thinly slice. Strip thyme leaves, discarding stems. Drain and rinse white beans and place in a medium bowl. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment papers.

2. Roll and bake flatbreads

Sprinkle flour onto a clean, dry surface, coating a rolling pin or your hands with a thin layer. Roll or stretch doughs into rectangular shapes, rotating frequently and working from center to edges, until ¼-inch thick (see recipe tip). Place on prepared sheets. Rub 1 teaspoon olive oil over each dough. Sprinkle sesame seeds around outer edges of doughs (a kitchen helper can do this part). Bake until flatbreads are crisp and golden, 15–20 minutes.

3. Sauté vegetables

While flatbreads bake, heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add shallots and cook until softened and fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer half of shallots to bowl with white beans. To remaining shallots in pan, add Brussels sprouts, summer squash, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5–6 minutes (see recipe tip). Remove pan from heat and set aside.

4. Mash white beans

While vegetables cook, to bowl with white beans and shallots, add juice of 1 lemon, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired, then mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Once flatbreads are baked, spread over mashed white beans. Wipe bowl clean for the next step.

5. Season ricotta

Thinly slice chives and place in bowl from white beans, along with ricotta, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Whisk to combine—another great task for a kitchen helper.

6. Plate flatbreads

Add juice of remaining lemon to pan with sautéed vegetables and stir to combine, then spoon over flatbreads. Dollop over chive ricotta and drizzle over olive oil, if desired. Cut into slices and dig in!


Steak Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch and Smoky Croutons

4 heads little gem lettuce
¾ pint grape tomatoes
¼ ounce chives, divided
¼ ounce dill, divided
2 lemons, divided
2 shallots, divided
2 slices brioche bread
3 cloves garlic, divided
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
4 steaks
2 ounces mayonnaise
2 packets sour cream
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese, divided

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
12″ large pan

Recipe tips
Be sure to read through the entire recipe before you begin cooking.

No need to wipe out the pan from the croutons; it will add smoky flavor to the steaks as they sear.

Cutting meat against the grain ensures tenderness. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel.


1. Prepare ingredients

Halve little gem lengthwise, keeping stems intact, and rinse thoroughly. Rinse remaining produce. Halve grape tomatoes (or leave whole to save time). Thinly slice chives. Pick dill leaves, discarding stems. Roughly chop half of dill; reserve remainder for serving. Halve lemons. Peel shallots, thinly slice into rings, and place in a small bowl with juice of 1 lemon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside to marinate until Step 6.

2. Make smoky croutons

Over a medium bowl, tear brioche into bite-size pieces. Mince garlic and add half to bowl with brioche, reserving remainder for dressing. Add spice mix and ¾ teaspoon salt to bowl with brioche and toss to combine. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add brioche and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and crisp, 3–4 minutes. Return croutons to bowl, reserving pan (see recipe tip).

3. Sear steaks

Pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan from croutons over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear, working in batches and adding oil as needed, until browned and medium rare, 4–6 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate and set aside to rest.

4. Make garlic paste

While steaks rest, sprinkle⅛ teaspoon salt over reserved garlic on cutting board. Using a large knife, carefully scrape over mixture at a 45° angle, pressing down. Repeat until garlic is broken down and a paste forms. Transfer garlic paste to a separate small bowl.

5. Make blue cheese ranch

To bowl with garlic paste, add mayonnaise, sour cream, chopped dill, half of chives, half of blue cheese, juice of remaining lemon (start with a little, then taste and add more as desired), ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Whisk until fully combined.

6. Plate steak wedge salad

Cut steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices (see recipe tip). Drain shallots, discarding liquid. Divide little gem among serving plates and top with grape tomatoes, smoky croutons, and shallots. Drizzle over blue cheese ranch. Garnish with remaining chives, remaining dill, and remaining blue cheese. Serve with sliced steak. Dig in!


Butter-Basted Chicken and Tomatoes with Herbed Parmesan Fries

5 packets unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic
4 russet potatoes
⅛ ounce rosemary
⅛ ounce thyme
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 shallot
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
4 boneless chicken breasts
¾ pint grape tomatoes
1 packet honey
8 ounces mixed lettuces

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
aluminum foil
2 baking sheets
12″ large pan
potato masher (optional)

Recipe tips
Go ahead and add the garlic to the oven while it’s still preheating. By letting it roast as long as possible, it will have time to become soft and golden before being mashed with the softened butter.

The chicken will finish cooking in the next step. The chicken might have a slight odor as a natural reaction to its vacuum packing.


1. Prepare ingredients

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Set butter aside to soften at room temperature. Place garlic cloves on a small piece of foil; drizzle over ½ teaspoon olive oil. Bring edges of foil together and seal to form a pouch; roast until Step 3 (see recipe tip). Meanwhile, rinse all produce. Halve potatoes lengthwise; arrange cut-side down on cutting board. Cut each half lengthwise into 6 equal wedges. Strip rosemary and thyme leaves, discarding stems, then mince.

2. Bake fries and pickle shallot

On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with Parmesan, rosemary, thyme, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; transfer half to a separate sheet. Arrange in a single layer, spacing apart. Bake (with garlic), rotating sheets halfway through, until fries are tender and browned, 18–20 minutes total. Meanwhile, peel shallot, halve, and thinly slice. Place in a large bowl, pour over Champagne vinegar, and set aside to pickle until Step 5.

3. Sear chicken and tomatoes

Pat chicken dry with paper towel; season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken skin-side down, then add whole grape tomatoes. Sear until skin is golden, 6 minutes (see recipe tip). Meanwhile, remove garlic pouch from oven; carefully transfer roasted garlic to a small bowl, along with softened butter. Using a fork, mash to combine.

4. Baste chicken

With pan still over medium-high heat, using a fork or potato masher, mash tomatoes to release their juices. Flip chicken and top with garlic butter. Cook, repeatedly spooning over tomato-butter sauce, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside to rest, leaving behind tomato-butter sauce in pan for Step 6.

5. Make salad

While chicken cooks, to large bowl with pickled shallot, add honey, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Whisking continuously, slowly add 2½ tablespoons olive oil until fully combined. Pat mixed lettuces dry with paper towel, add to bowl, and toss to coat, then divide salad among serving plates.

6. Plate chicken

Cut rested chicken into ¼-inch slices and add to plates with salad. Spoon over tomato-butter sauce from pan. Serve with herbed Parmesan fries. Enjoy!

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