Nourish

Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Take Sides

Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be the only time of year it’s all about the sides. We admit: Sometimes our chefs cook entire meals simply to justify making our favorite side dishes. And the ones that truly have us hooked? They run the gamut, from salad to buttery rice to toasty bread to simple sautéed vegetables to all things potato. It’s four months ’til turkey day, so let’s shine a spotlight on some equally delicious supporting roles.

Now, on to the recipes!

Blackened Tilapia

Monday: Blackened Tilapia with Dirty Rice and Rémoulade

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 red bell peppers
¼ cup sliced dill pickles
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño
1 cup jasmine rice
1 vegetable bouillon cube (or substitute 2¼ cups vegetable stock in Step 3)
1¼ pounds tilapia
1½ tablespoons blackening spice mix (or a mix of dried thyme, oregano, chili pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder)
4 ounces sour cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Instructions:
1. Rinse all produce. Halve bell peppers lengthwise, discarding seeds and stems; cut into ¼-inch pieces. Finely chop pickles. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Mince garlic. Halve jalapeño lengthwise; using a knife tip, discard seeds and stem, then mince. When mincing spicy chiles like jalapeño, avoid touching the inside, and wash your knife, cutting board, and hands afterward.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add bell peppers, onion, and jalapeño (skip or use half for less heat) and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Add jasmine rice and cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, 2–3 minutes. Toasting the rice adds a delicious nutty flavor and helps it soak up the colors of the red bell pepper, yellow onion, and green jalapeño—what gives dirty rice its name.

3. To pot with rice, add vegetable bouillon cube (or vegetable stock), 2¼ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer until water is fully absorbed, 10–12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm until ready to serve.

4. Pat tilapia dry with paper towel; season all over with blackening spice mix and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, carefully add tilapia, standing back in case hot oil splatters. Sear, working in batches as needed, until spices are blackened and fish is cooked through and opaque, 3–5 minutes per side. Blackening the tilapia doesn’t mean you’re about to burn your dinner. The generous spice rub takes on the char here, creating a delicious crust while the fish stays perfectly tender.

5. While tilapia sears, in a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper (it’s a bit spicy, so feel free to adjust this to your preferences, too), pickles, and 1 tablespoon water to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

6. Divide dirty rice among serving plates, then top with blackened tilapia. Dollop over rémoulade.

Korean Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday: Korean Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Ginger Slaw and Mozzarella-Kimchi Fries

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes
2 heads Boston lettuce
4 scallions
3 tablespoons pickled ginger
¾ cup kimchi
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1½ pounds ground turkey
2 ounces mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sesame oil
⅔ cup shredded red cabbage
1½ tablespoons Sriracha

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse all produce. Halve potatoes lengthwise; cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices, then cut lengthwise again into ¼-inch fries. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon canola oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired, then transfer half to a separate baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and bake until browned and tender, 30–35 minutes.

2. While fries bake, pat lettuce dry with paper towel, and separate large leaves for wraps (you’ll need at least 3 per person, but if you have extra, double up your wraps). Trim and discard scallion roots and thinly slice, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens. Roughly chop pickled ginger, place in a medium bowl, and set aside for making slaw. Roughly chop kimchi and place in a small bowl, then stir in mozzarella to combine.

3. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, scallion whites and light greens, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Add turkey. Using your hands, mix well, then form into 12 equal patties, about 1 inch thick. Using your thumb, create a dimple on top of each. Burger patties tend to puff up when cooked. Creating a shallow dimple in the center of each helps them cook evenly and keep their shape.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add turkey sliders and sear, without flipping, until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes. Then, flip sliders and continue searing until cooked through and no longer pink, 2–4 minutes more. Remove pan from heat; transfer turkey sliders to a plate and set aside to rest.

5. While sliders sear, to bowl with pickled ginger, add mayonnaise, sesame oil, 1 tablespoon water, a pinch of salt, and pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Add red cabbage and toss to coat, then set aside until ready to serve. Once browned, combine fries on 1 baking sheet (careful, these sheets are hot). Sprinkle over kimchi-mozzarella mixture, then continue baking until cheese is melted, 2–4 minutes more.

6. Divide lettuce wraps among serving plates and fill with turkey sliders, then creamy ginger slaw. Transfer mozzarella-kimchi fries to plates with wraps and drizzle over Sriracha (skip or use half for less heat). Garnish everything with scallion dark greens.

Pair this dish with a bev for date night. Our chefs recommend a Japanese rice lager—this style is brewed with (you guessed it) rice added to the barley malt, resulting in a floral, slightly sweet, refreshing pour.

Pan-Roasted Chicken

Wednesday: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Apples and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 Gala apples
⅛ ounce sage
2 red onions
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
⅓ cup white wine
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 russet potatoes
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
¾ cup heavy cream

Instructions:
1. Rinse apples and slice off rounded sides, discarding cores, then cut into ¼- inch slices. Finely chop sage leaves, discarding stems. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice.

2. Heat half of butter in a large pan over medium heat. When butter is foamy, add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, 7–9 minutes. Add brown sugar and apples and cook, stirring, until fruit begins to soften, 10 minutes. Add wine and cook until slightly reduced, 2–3 minutes. Add balsamic and sage and cook until apples are very tender and caramelized, 7 minutes more. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

3. While apples caramelize, rinse potatoes and cut into ½-inch dice. If you prefer your mashed potatoes without skins, peel the potatoes first, then cut into ½-inch dice. Place in a medium pot, cover with cold water by 1 inch, and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until tender when pierced with a knife tip, about 8 minutes. Then, drain and return to pot, off heat.

4. While potatoes boil, pat chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat a separate large pan over medium heat. Carefully hover your hand a few inches away from the pan—when you can easily feel heat, add chicken skin-side down, Searing chicken in a dry pan might sound crazy, but there’s good reason. The chicken’s natural fat will slowly melt away from beneath its skin, creating a crisp and golden crust without adding oil or butter. You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your pan. Sear until skin is golden and easily lifts from pan, 8–9 minutes. Then, flip and sear on opposite side until cooked through and no longer pink, 7 minutes more.

5. Once potatoes are boiled, add horseradish, heavy cream, and remaining butter to pot, still off heat. Using a large fork or potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth but still light and airy. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

6. Divide caramelized apples and horseradish mashed potatoes among serving plates, top with chicken.

Mix up this hearty dish for two next time the kids are out!

Grilled Pork Chop

Thursday: Grilled Pork Chop with Smoky Basil Chimichurri and White Bean Panzanella

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
3 tomatoes
½ ounce basil
2 lemons
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 shallot
2 15-ounce cans white beans
4 ounces baby arugula
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
4 boneless pork chops
2 demi-baguettes

Instructions:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. No outdoor grill or grill pan? Use a regular large pan over medium-high heat. In Step 4, sear pork chops in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3–5 minutes per side. Then in Step 5, toast baguette halves cut-side down, 2–3 minutes, then roughly chop or tear into croutons. Rinse all produce. Roughly chop tomatoes. Roughly chop basil leaves and stems. If you have a zester and want to infuse your chimichurri with more flavor, zest up to 1 lemon, then halve lemons. Tear mozzarella into 1-inch pieces. Peel shallot and mince enough to yield ¼ cup. Drain and rinse white beans, pat dry with paper towel, and place in a large bowl.

2. To bowl with white beans, add mozzarella, tomatoes, minced shallot, juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup olive oil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper as desired and toss to combine. Toss to combine, then set aside to marinate until Step 6.

3. In a blender or food processor, combine basil, up to half of smoked paprika, lemon zest (if using), juice of remaining lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, finely chop basil, place in a medium bowl, and whisk in remaining chimichurri ingredients to combine.

4. If using a grill pan, place it over medium-high heat now. Pat pork chops dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. When grill is just smoking, add pork chops and cook until lightly charred, cooked through, and no longer pink, 2–3 minutes per side. Transfer pork chops to a plate and set aside to rest, 5 minutes.

5. Slice baguette open horizontally; drizzle cut sides with olive oil, then season with ¼ teaspoon salt total and pepper as desired. Arrange baguette halves cutside down on grill and toast until golden and warmed through, 1–2 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, cut grilled baguettes into 1-inch croutons.

6. Pat arugula dry with paper towel. To bowl with marinated white beans, tomatoes, and mozzarella, add arugula and grilled croutons; toss to combine. Divide white bean panzanella among serving plates. Once rested, cut grilled pork chop into ¼-inch slices and plate alongside. Spoon over smoky basil chimichurri.

Barbecue Cheeseburgers

Friday: Barbecue Cheeseburgers with Potato Chips and Coleslaw

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 russet potatoes
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic
⅓ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
1½ cups shredded red cabbage
1½ cups shredded green cabbage
1½ cups shredded carrots
1½ pounds ground beef
4 brioche buns
4 ounces shredded white Cheddar cheese
½ cup barbecue sauce

Instructions:
Want to get a kitchen companion in on the fun? They can toss the potatoes in Step 1,make the coleslaw in Step 2, and build the burgers in Step 6.

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse all produce. Rinse all produce. Thinly slice potato slices crosswise into rounds. On 1 baking sheet, toss potatoes with smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Transfer half to a separate sheet. Arrange in a single layer and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until browned, 15–20 minutes.

2. While potato chips bake, mince garlic and set aside for next step. In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, celery seeds, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Add slaw mix and toss to coat; set aside until ready to serve.

3. In a medium bowl, combine garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Pat beef dry with paper towel and add to bowl. Using your hands, mix well, then form into 4 equal patties, about 1- inch thick. Using your thumb, create a dimple on top of each. Burger patties tend to puff up when cooked. Creating a shallow dimple in the center of each helps them cook evenly and keep their shape.

4. Slice brioche buns open horizontally, if they arrived whole. Place buns on a large piece of foil and loosely wrap to create a pouch. Bake until toasted and light golden, 2–3 minutes.

5. While buns toast, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add burgers and sear, without flipping, until browned on bottom, about 4 minutes. Then, flip burgers, top with white Cheddar, and cover pan until cheese is melted and burgers are medium-rare, 3–4 minutes more. Transfer burgers to a plate and set aside to rest, at least 5 minutes.

6. Divide bun bottoms among serving plates. Layer with cheeseburgers, then a few potato chips, then a scoop of coleslaw. Spread barbecue sauce on bun tops to finish. Serve with remaining coleslaw and remaining chips.

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

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