My Holiday Dinner Menu…Including Foolproof Prime Rib!


For the last couple of days I have been obsessing about planning for my Annual Prime Rib Christmas Dinner Party. It’s a tradition I started several Christmases ago and one that my meat-loving extended family looks forward to with great anticipation. That is because thanks to HOURS AND HOURS of research into it, I discovered how to make THE PERFECT Prime Rib! Even my Uncle SY, who is a self-proclaimed prime rib connoisseur, LOVED it! This is from a man who has traveled all over the world and had prime rib at some of the most expensive restaurants. I kid you not.

I’ll admit, the first time I made it the anxiety over whether I would ruin this enormous piece of meat was intense! And although each year I do it I get less nervous about it, there are always a few butterflies when you’re dealing with the possibility of ruining a roast you spent over $100.00 on! But that being said, I haven’t ruined one yet! Not even my first one….not in the slightest. It really is foolproof IF you follow the instructions PRECISELY.

But before we get to the “star of the show”…I wanted to share the menu for my Holiday Feast. All the dishes are tried and true crowd-pleasers so I thought I would share with you in case you could use some inspiration for your own get-togethers this holiday season.

Personally I just can’t imagine having a wonderful steak or piece of prime rib without a salad to accompany it! My absolute FAVORITE salad is my sister-in-laws recipe for Spinach Salad…which we creatively call…Marianne’s Spinach Salad. :-) It’s a BIT involved….so if you’re in charge of the prime rib…I say delegate this dish to someone else. If you can’t do that….a lovely green salad with homemade ranch dressing would be WONDERFUL too!

Marianne’s Spinach Salad

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 2 bunches of spinach
  • 1 head of lettuce (I use green leaf)
  • 3 c. grated swiss cheese
  • 1 container cottage cheese
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3/4 c. sliced mushrooms (fresh)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

Dressing:

  • 1/2 to 1 c. oil (I use canola oil)
  • 3/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 t. dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt

Directions

Wash & dry spinach and lettuce. Take stems off spinach, cut up lettuce. Place in large enough bowl to toss in. (This is a BIG salad!) Add swiss cheese, cottage cheese, bacon, mushrooms & red onion. Toss with dressing. Serve immediately! (Don’t toss with cottage cheese and dressing until just before serving or it will get soggy.)

The first year I did a Prime Rib Roast I spent literally HOURS researching online how to cook the perfect medium-rare prime rib roast! After contrasting and comparing dozens of methods I figured out that at the heart of a perfect prime rib is cooking it at an INTENSE temperature for a short time (usually 25 to 30 minutes)…followed by low and slow. There were lots of variations on this theme, but I decided on this particular recipe because it had all the essentials and because the guy who wrote it was funny! When in doubt….go for the person with the sense of humor. Either I got REALLY lucky…or this theory holds true. :-) So here it is: a FOOLPROOF way to make the PERFECT PRIME RIB…courtesy of “Nebraska Football Fan who also enjoys Catfishing”.

Foolproof Prime Rib

1. Get a prime rib roast at your grocery store or local butcher shop. It’s usually labeled bone-in ribeye roast.
2. Mix up equal parts of onion salt, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Approx 1/4 cup total.
3. Pat the salt mixture on both ends and the fat side of the roast. The salt may not stick as well on the fat side. Don’t worry about it.
4. Pre-heat oven as high as it will go. Usually 500 degrees, but NOT broil.
5. Stick the roast in a dutch oven preferably on a small rack that will lift it off the bottom. Bone side down (fat side up). Get a meat thermometer and stick it in the middle of the roast.
6. Cook the roast UNCOVERED in the oven for 5-6 minutes per pound and then shut the oven off.
DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR FOR TWO HOURS UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH.
7. After two hours take it out and check the temp. If its 140 degrees it’s perfect. If it’s cooler, put it back in the oven at 375 degrees until it hits 140 degrees.
8. This procedure will yield a PERFECT MEDIUM RARE PRIME RIB. (Don’t ask me how to do medium or well done because cooking prime rib roast past medium rare is a felony.)
9. Get a package of Au Jus mix in the spice section of your supermarket and make following directions.
10. INVITE ME OVER FOR DINNER.

I decided to put my full faith into his instructions and followed them to the letter! I even printed out a sign that said “DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH” and taped it to the oven door…essentially taping it shut. My family, as usual, thought Mom had “lost it”…but I definitely had the last laugh on this one. :-)

The ONLY thing I did different was I took the suggestion of several other recipes I read and, using a small knife, cut slits in the fat side of the meat and stuck in slivers of fresh garlic before roasting. mmmm mmmm mmmm. I do love garlic…and this method allows it to just MELT into the fat and the meat while it cooks.

In our family we like to serve the prime rib room temperature with au jus and Creamy Horseradish Sauce. Well, I personally am not a fan of the horseradish…but everyone else seems to LOVE it.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch white pepper, or to taste
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

Directions

Whisk the cream in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the cream should form a sharp peak that holds its shape. Season with the white pepper, hot sauce, and horseradish. Stir to combine. Note: This sauce doesn’t keep very well. Just plan to use it the same day you make it.

Growing up in Southern California we used to frequent a restaurant in Orange County called Gulliver’s. They are known for their Prime Rib, Spinach Souffle, and CREAMED CORN! My entire extended family LOVES this stuff, and I fear if it wasn’t on the menu year after year I would have a mutiny on my hands.

Gulliver’s Famous Creamed Corn

(I have never made this recipe without doubling it…but this is the way I received it. Just something to keep in mind)

Ingredients

  • (1) 24 oz bag of frozen shoepeg corn (I buy the Pictsweet brand)
  • 8 oz. heavy cream
  • 8 oz. milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 tsp. sugar
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. Flour (or cornstarch for GF)
  • pinch white pepper (black pepper is just fine too)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Put corn, cream and milk in saucepan and bring to a boil. (At first it will be a solid frozen mass….just give it time….it will warm up and liquify)

Melt butter in microwave and add flour to make a roux (thickener). Will be the consistency of paste.

Mix this into the corn along with the salt and sugar. Continue to cook until thickened. Add pepper. Pour into casserole dish (9 x 13 if you doubled it) and top with Parmesan cheese. Put into 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (or until cheese is good and melted!)

I have made this recipe for years to rave reviews….the shoepeg corn and the Parmesan cheese make it extra special!

Since I only have one oven and it is occupied by an enormous piece of meat…I have taken to cooking the baked potatoes for my soiree in the crockpot. The great thing about this idea is if you’re off on your timing a little (or even a lot!)…the potatoes will wait patiently until you are ready.

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Wash potatoes….wrap in foil…pierce with small knife in several places…set in crockpot….cover…cook. Depending on how much time you have….LOW for 6 to 8 hours….or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Trimmings we enjoy: butter, sour cream, chives, bacon, and cheese.

Last, but of course not least…..DESSERT! When I was a little girl, my Aunt Betty would always make the most BEAUTIFUL and TASTY English Trifle in her big, beautiful trifle bowl. Sadly, I don’t have the recipe and she passed several years ago, but I BELIEVE the following Classic English Trifle Recipe is pretty close to what my Aunt Betty would treat us to!

Classic English Trifle

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-made cake (I like to use angel food cake)
  • 2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding or custard mix
  • 2 lbs fresh fruit (I use strawberries and/or raspberries, and bananas)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • additional fresh fruit (to garnish)
  • 1/3 cup sherry wine, juice or water

Directions

Prepare pudding or custard according to directions and let cool.
Mix the fruit with the sherry (or juice, or water)
Cut the cake into 1″ chunks and place 1/2 of the chunks in the bottom of a trifle bowl.
Layer 1/2 of the fruit on top of the cake layer and top with 1/2 the pudding.
Repeat layering.
Top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit.
Chill well before serving.

Putting this post together has made me SO excited for my upcoming party! (Not to mention VERY HUNGRY!) Here’s to a holiday season filled with delicious dishes!

What are some of YOUR favorite holiday dishes? I would LOVE to hear about them!

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