Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Foods - Meals/Menus

Christmas is next week! For those of you in charge of hosting one, two, or all of the big meals it is a lofty job to plan a menu. After years of hosting and learning how to be creative with my endeavors I offer the following ideas to serve on your holiday table.

First, I entertain a lot over the holidays so not every meal here is slated to be for "the Big Day". They are merely meals that would be festive and feed a large crowd. Recipes can be found in books like The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, online at any site from foodnetwork.com to allrecipes.com, or from your own stash of family recipes. I'm suggesting the meals/menus, you need to execute.

Main Course - Meats

- London Broil that has been marinated overnight and grilled to medium
- Pot Roast seared on stovetop to get beautiful browned sides to seal in the juices and roasted for hours in the oven to render the meat tender; roasted with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery
- Tenderloin, again, seared to get good color and seal in the juices, then finished in the oven
-Ham, small ones can be cooked (reheated) in a crockpot or any can be cooked in the oven; follow directions
-Turkey roasted to a golden brown in the oven, stuffed

Main Course - Other

-Italian Bake -- pasta, sauce made with Italian sausage (hot or sweet or both), ricotta, mozzarella and baked until hot, bubbly, and golden on top
-Pizza -- your favorite dough or crust (I use Boboli prepared crusts), pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your favorite toppings. Quick, easy, tailor-made to please all attending, and cheaper than delivery!

Menus

London Broil served with rice pilaf, a green vegetable, a tossed salad, and some kind of bread or roll
The secret here is to buy or make a tasty marinade that will flavor and tenderize the meat and provide a delicious dipping sauce upon completion to serve over the meat, the rice, and dip the bread. Slice the meat against the grain and as thinly as possible after you let it rest to redistribute its juices. The rice can be homemade or from a mix. Choose a green vegetable all will like and steam it in the microwave. Kids don't like greens? Make a "mock Hollandaise sauce" by mixing Miracle Whip (or mayo) and yellow mustard together to taste and have the kids dip their veggies. Use a bagged salad and some Pillsbury or other rolls and dinner is finished! Easy clean up with this one, too.

Pot Roast can be daunting for novices, but it is a very easy dinner that makes while you do other things (clean, shop, etc.). Ask your butcher to recommend a cut and a poundage so you are set for the number of guests. Searing the meat before you roast is the secret for success. Once you've done that make sure to brown your onions to caramelize them before adding the liquid needed to keep your roast moist. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery chunked to the same size so they cook evenly. Hours later, when the roast is finished, let it rest, put your vegetables in a large bowl, make a gravy from your pan drippings, and your meal is almost finished. This meat also gets cut against the grain but don't worry if it just falls apart when it sees a knife! This meat should be very tender. Serve with a green if desired but no salad is necessary. Bread or rolls is a must to sop up the gravy, or, better yet, to make 'gravy bread'.

Tenderloin is elegant, expensive, and so delicious. This meal is worthy of Christmas Night! Follow your butcher's instructions or your best recipe. Serve with twice baked potatoes, asparagus or other favorite green, a Christmas salad (something with a lot of red and green), and fine rolls/bread. A horseradish sauce to accompany is divine.

Ham is scrumptious with cheesy potato casserole, greens like broccoli or string beans, cole slaw, and biscuits. Put mustard on the table for people like me who will take her sliced turkey, split her biscuit, slather one side with mustard, and throw the ham on to make a perfect ham biscuit sandwich!

Turkey -- see Thanksgiving menus. It's perfect for the holidays, is comfort food, is elegant and easy, and will always be a staple at Christmas. Serve with all the usual sides - mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn and peas, stuffing, gravy, and rolls.

Italian Bake -- wonderful for Christmas Eve or any night when you wanted to prepare the meal ahead of time. Assemble this and cover to store in refrigerator up to two nights. Uncover and bake with aluminum foil for the bulk of the time and uncovered the last 15-30 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve with a tossed salad and baguette and dinner is finished! Very easy, very delicious, and very filling!

Pizza is a fun way to serve many different tastes, vegetarians and meat eaters, and is 'fun food'. Serve with a huge antipasta - Romaine lettuce, tuna, anchovies, garbanzo beans, ham, salami, provolone, parmesan, olives, pickled vegetables, and anything else you'd like.

For dessert there are always the Christmas cookies on a platter, pies for the turkey dinner, a chocolate layer cake for after the pot roast, a trifle for after the tenderloin, a coconut cake for after the ham, ice cream parfaits for after the Italian bake, and Christmas candies, too.

Whatever your menu, I hope these suggestions come in handy. Wishing you and yours a delectable Christmas week! Let me know if you tried any of these meals and how they came out!

Tomorrow, another look at stuffing the Christmas Stocking... in a most grand way!

6 comments:

  1. FEEEEED MEEEE ! FEEED MEEE ! NOW !

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  2. The way to a man's heart... so true!
    Okay, boys, Christmas time is here and so is the FOOD!

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  3. Great post! When you are shopping for the meat for the Pot Roast and London Broil you should give Grass Fed Beef a try. The flavor is amazing! I work with La Cense Beef, but I just can’t get enough of it because it tastes so good. La Cense is having a Grassfed Holiday Sale right now so if you want to try it, it’s a great time to buy.

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  4. Sounds GREAT... What time is dinner.LOL

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  5. i don't know if you are going to do an hors d'oeuvres blog or something like it. Here are two of the EASIEST recipes in the WORLD!

    Fruit Dip
    1 8oz. Philly Cream Cheese softened
    1 8oz. jar of Fluff

    Blend with mixer until well blended. Dip your favorite fruit (the sturdier the better) in it and ENJOY! Good for all seasons I believe.


    Aunt Minda's Kicked Up Salsa
    1 jar of your favorite salsa
    1 sm. jar of black olives
    shredded monterrey jack cheese
    shredded mild cheddar cheese

    Mix together.

    I didn't specify how much cheese because some people like a LOT (like me) and others not so much. You can also add a small can of green chilis to the mixture.
    Best with Tostidos chips. :D

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