Merry merry! Only a couple more sleeps until Christmas Eve, so it’s GO time! Cards are out, treats are delivered and shopping is done. Now let’s talk food! Christmas Eve in our house is all about something simple that doesn’t drain your energy, just in case it’s a late night ahead. Our Christmas dinner is a more formal spread; enlist the help of family to keep it stress-free. If nothing else, if you cook dinner it typically means you’re not on dish duty. Which is indeed a merry Christmas!
Weeknight lasagna is the perfect easy, low-stress dinner. Serve with garlic bread and a simple green salad. I also like a casual tamale dinner on Christmas Eve, and if you buy them pre-made, all you need to do is cook Mexican rice, Instant Pot black beans and toss up a salad. Another easy option is a simple glazed ham set out with rolls, mustard and pickles — there’s no shame in a make-you-own sandwich bar and a hot toddy.
We have the same Christmas breakfast every year: Ina Garten’s sour cream coffee cake, scrambled eggs and oven-cooked bacon. Cooking bacon in the oven keeps your hands free to open presents and drink mimosas and strong coffee.
Once the debris is picked up and all is quiet, it’s time to prep the herb butter for my favorite Herb-Crusted Beef Tenderloin (recipe below) and make the horseradish creme fraiche. Budget 6 ounces of meat per person, or more if you want leftovers for sandwiches, and ask your butcher to trim and tie it for you. It’s a good idea to order your meat in advance, so stop everything and call your local grocery store and ask to be connected to the butcher. Merry Christmas! To start your night off right, choose one of the appetizers from the Easy Holiday Appetizer E-Book I put together this year. If you didn’t see it in your email, be sure to check your junk mail. It went out to all my newsletter subscribers as my gift to you. For side dishes, make popovers, rosemary roasted potatoes, and something green. Easy creamed spinach would pair well with the roasted potatoes, or do potatoes au gratin with simple roasted broccolini.
Herb-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
The compound herb butter in this recipe is also delicious with grilled steaks. Top each warm steak with 1 tablespoon of the compound butter right after removing from the grill.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon flat-leaf Italian parsley, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Ground black pepper
Beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied, about 3-4 pounds
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a food processor, combine the butter, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, garlic cloves, and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is creamy and the garlic is minced and distributed throughout the butter.
- Place the beef tenderloin on the baking sheet and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the herb butter evenly over the surface of the tenderloin.
- Place the tenderloin in the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 130°F, about 40 to 45 minutes. This will be medium-rare; if you want it cooked medium, cook an additional 15 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the tenderloin to a carving board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice the tenderloin into ½-inch slices.