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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Dinner Fast Approaches

Christmas is only a nine days away and I just finished my shopping this morning, thanks to the Internet.  I hope my readers have finished their cards and shopping and can now relax and think about Christmas dinner.  Or maybe you'd rather not think about Christmas dinner as that is too stressful.  Perhaps you are hosting the family dinner for the first time and feel at a loss at what to cook.  I have already planned my menu for this important dinner as it is a huge part of our celebration.

We have a traditional meal on Christmas Eve.  After 5 o'clock church, we come home to cheese grits and ham.  I might add a salad or green beans but my husband loves cheese grits and ham.  The Christmas dinner varies each year depending on what I feel like cooking.  However, this is the one time I often cook beef.  I will share my Christmas menu with you as it is simple and very elegant.  You dinner guests will be impressed when the whole thing couldn't be easier.  

Spicy Beef Tenderloin
Party Potatoes
Cranberry Salad
Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries
Pull-away Rolls
Pumpkin Pie

Now I didn't say the meal was heart healthy but we do splurge on special occasions.  Beef tenderloin is very expensive too but will feed several people.  I'll post two recipes today and the rest next week.

Spicy Beef Tenderloin
Mix one cup port or red wine, 1 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. whole thyme, 1/2 tsp. tabasco, 4 cloves of crushed garlic and 1 bay leaf.  Place tenderloin in a large ziploc bag or dish and pour marinade over it.  Marinate over night or about 8 hours, turning occasionally.  Place on rack in baking pan. Cook at 425 for 45 to 60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 for medium rare.

Party Potatoes (substitute regular mashed potatoes if you like)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 stick of butter
4 cups of water
2 cups milk
5 cups instant mashed potatoes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Mix cream cheese and sour cream together.  Bring water, milk and butter to a boil in a large pot.  Remove from heat and add potatoes.  Add cream cheese mixture and remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle with paprika.  Refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot.

Use your favorite pumpkin pie recipe or the one on the Libby's can.  We didn't get pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving so by golly, we're having it for Christmas.  The beef is a no brainer; few ingredients and little effort but it always turns out beautifully.  I like that the potatoes and salad can be mostly made the day before, leaving you more free time on Christmas day.  Saturday, I'll post the other recipes so you can be ready as I may not post any next week.

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