I promise you this much: As an adult, you will have to make a holiday meal at some point in your life. Yes, it is true. Let’s embrace this idea, and the fact that you will have to prepare this holiday meal in the middle of all the mayhem. So make your menu choices as simple as possible. Now is not the time to reinvent the wheel.

Today I offer you a solution. This will be your new standard-issue holiday meal. And it is beginner-level cooking, so no crying about recipes being too hard to make.

Christmas Dinner Menu

Mustard-Encrusted Beef Tenderloin

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

Green Salad with Artichoke Hearts and shaved Parmesan

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Mustard-Encrusted Beef Tenderloin

My butcher gave me this recipe years ago and it is so simple. When buying the tenderloin, figure on 1/2 a pound per person. I usually take that number and then add another pound for good luck. I bake my tenderloin around 40-45 minutes to get it rare/medium rare. My family likes it bleeding, or as they say in Texas, “Knock the horns off and wipe its a**”.  If it is a thicker loin, 50 minutes will be good. The key to the recipe is letting it sit out of the oven after cooking. That’s when the magic happens. After sitting, cut into slices and serve on a platter.

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This is a 6 lb. tenderloin that I cut in half.

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So juicy, and that mustard crust is divine.

Mustard Encrusted Beef Tenderloin

Heidi Potter
This juicy beef tenderloin has an extra-crispy mustard crust.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Beef tenderloin trimmed of excess fat - figure 1/2 pound for each person
  • 1 jar Stone Ground Mustard of your choice
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the tenderloin in a roasting pan. With a knife, spatula or your hands, spread entire jar of mustard all over the tenderloin. Sprinkle salt and pepper over entire loin.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.
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Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Now for the ultimate side dish: Holiday Mashed Potatoes. This is basically mashed potatoes with a little extra effort that makes the final product taste like a souffle. I put this together and refrigerate it earlier in the day. Then I cook it first before all the other parts of the meal. You can keep this dish warm or reheat before dinner is served.

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This tastes like a mashed potato souffle.

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

Heidi Potter
Try these creamy and delicious holiday mashed potatoes!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -12

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs. about 12 medium potatoes, peeled, cooked and hot
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion or 1 T of dried minced onion
  • 1 t salt and dash of pepper
  • dash paprika or seasoned salt for color

Instructions
 

  • Peel potatoes and cook in boiling water.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat hot potatoes until all lumps are removed.
  • Add cream cheese in small pieces and the butter. Beat well until cheese and butter are completely melted and mixed.
  • Stir in sour cream.
  • To the milk add eggs and minced onion. Add this egg/milk mixture to the potatoes along with salt and pepper.
  • Beat well until light and fluffy.
  • Place in a greased 9" round casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle paprika or seasoned salt on the top for color.
  • Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
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Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme

I personally cannot have a steak without mushrooms. Wash and slice a couple of packages of mushrooms and saute with a pinch of thyme, salt and pepper. Top off your steak or just pick them out of the pan with your fingers and eat.

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Fresh mushrooms cooked with olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of thyme.

Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

Again, one of my favorite foods and fabulous with steak. Don’t be frightened by the huge bag of spinach, as it cooks down into a couple handfuls.

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This is the BIG bag from Costco. It is 2.5 lbs of spinach.

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This is a third of the bag raw.

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That is 2.5 pounds of spinach. But it is enough to feed 10-12 adults.

Easy Sauteed Spinach

Heidi Potter
This easy garlicky sautéed spinach recipe pairs perfectly with steak.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -12

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large bag of spinach I get the 2.5 pounder at Costco
  • olive oil
  • 2 heads of garlic minced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a huge pot, heat up about 2 T of olive oil over medium high heat. Put washed raw spinach in the pot.
  • Using tongs, make sure that uncooked spinach goes to bottom of pot and becomes wilted. Keep adding raw spinach, topping off your pot and then letting it cook down. Once it all cooks down and is wilted, add garlic, salt and pepper and cook on low for another 5 minutes. Turn off your burner and leave pan on the stove to keep warm.
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Last, make a green salad with whatever lettuce of your choice, artichoke hearts and shaved parmesan. Three ingredients— you can handle that.

Bon appetite!