Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Our Christmas menu is going to be a little different this year. Usually we just have turkey and ham again, but this year I’m changing directions:)

If I can find a tenderloin (no luck yet), I am going out on a limb and making PW’s Beef Tenderloin, but I have complete faith in her:)

Here’s my menu:
1. Roasted Beef Tenderloin
2. Loaded Mashed Potatoes
3. Salad
4. Pumpernickel Bread
5. Yeast Rolls
6. Pumpkin Pie (2)
7. Holiday Poke Cake
8. Chocolate Chess Pie
9. Pecan Pie
10. Pumpkin Dessert Squares
11. Chocolate Meringue Pie (4)

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Recipe By : Pioneer Woman
Serving Size : 20
Categories : Holiday Dinner Main Dishes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
5 pounds tenderloin, beef
seasoned salt -- liberal amounts
lemon pepper -- generous amounts
tricolor peppercorns -- cracked with a meat mallet
extra virgin olive oil
1 stick butter -- divided

Unwrap the meat from the plastic or paper wrapping and rinse well. Trim away a some of that fat on top in order to remove the silvery cartilage underneath. It’s really tough and needs to go. With a very sharp knife, begin taking the fat off the top, revealing the silver cartilage underneath. Now cut off the cartilage, pulling with one hand and cutting with the other. Don't take off all the fat. As with any cut of meat, a little bit of fat adds to the flavor. Just focus on the big chunks. There’s an oblong piece of meat on the side of the loin, slice into it to remove some more of that tough, silvery skin. When you’re finished, you’ll have a nicely trimmed tenderloin.

Now it’s time to season the meat. IMPORTANT POINT: When you’re seasoning a tenderloin, you have to remember that it will be sliced after it’s cooked. So you’re talking about a much smaller surface area–just the rim surrounding the piece—for seasonings than, say a regular steak, which you’d season on both sides. So you can much more liberally season a tenderloin, because you’re having to pack more of a punch in order for the seasoning to make an impact. Sprinkle meat generously with seasoned salt. Rub it in with your fingers. Now take Lemon & Pepper seasoning and sprinkle both sides generously.

Place the peppercorns in a Ziploc bag. Now, with a mallet or a hammer or a large, heavy can, begin smashing the peppercorns to break them up a bit. No need to go nuts on the poor peppercorns; just break ‘em up a bit. When you’re finished, set them aside.

Now, heat some olive oil slowly in a heavy skillet.

When the oil is to the smoking point, place the tenderloin in the very hot pan to sear it. The point here is to give the meat some nice color before putting it into the oven, and to seal in the juices.

After I put the meat into the pan, I throw a couple of tablespoons of butter into the skillet, to give it a nice little butter injection before going in the oven. (If I’d heated the butter with the olive oil, the house would now be filled with black smoke.)

A minute or two later, when one side is starting to turn nice and brown, turn it over to the other side. A couple of minutes later, when the other side is also brown, remove from the skillet and place on an oven pan with a rack.

Now it’s time to start sprinkling the pummeled peppercorns all over the meat. Press the pepper onto the surface of the meat. Preheat oven to 475°.

Put several tablespoons of butter all over the meat. It’ll gradually melt as the beef cooks.

IMPORTANT (and cheap) KITCHEN TOOL: The Meat Thermometer. When it comes to beef tenderloin, you don’t want to be without it. Tenderloin is an expensive cut of beef, and if you overcook it, it’s all over. Stick the long needle of the thermometer lengthwise into the meat, so it will get a representative read of the internal temperature. Leave the thermometer in place while cooking. I always take out my tenderloin just before it reaches 140 degrees, keeping in mind the meat will continue to cook for several minutes after you remove it from the oven. Remember, you can always cook a too-rare piece of meat a little more; but once it’s too done, there’s nothing you can do. Now place it in oven until the temperature reaches just under 140°.

It should just take about fifteen to twenty minutes to cook. Stay near the oven and keep checking the thermometer to make sure it doesn’t overcook.

Spoon the olive oil/butter juices from the skillet onto the top of the meat, just for a little extra flavor. Let meat stand ten minutes or so before slicing, so the meat will have a chance to relax a bit. The end pieces are a little more done (they’re about medium rare) than the middle pieces (more rare) will be, but that’s good. And don’t worry one bit: rare tenderloin is very safe to eat. And it tastes best that way. Keep slicing away according to the number of mouths you have to feed, and save the leftover piece for the fridge. Cold beef tenderloin is even better than freshly cooked tenderloin.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Recipe By : Cherylann
Serving Size : 14
Categories : Side Dishes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
8 Russet potatoes
2 sticks butter -- cut into pats
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend -- shredded
1 cup real bacon bits -- or bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
milk -- if needed
2/3 green onion
1/2 cup cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend -- shredded

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash potatoes.

Stab holes in potatoes with a fork. Place potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Grab the hot potatoes with a thick dish towel, use a sharp serrated knife to cut each potato in half lengthwise.

Place the butter pats, bacon and sour cream in a large mixing bowl.

Scrape the insides of the potatoes into the mixing bowl.

Begin mashing the potato pulp, butter, bacon and sour cream together with a potato masher. Mash together to your desired texture (lumpy, smooth).

Add seasoned salt, 1 cup cheese blend, pepper and green onion. Mash until blended. Preheat oven to 350°.

Top the potatoes with the remaining cheese blend. Bake for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are warmed through and cheese is melted.

NOTES : If you omit the green onions, you can refrigerate for 2-3 days or flash freeze & store in Ziploc bags.

Pumpernickel Bread

Recipe By : Cherylann
Serving Size : 16
Categories : Breads

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons dark molasses
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rye flour
2 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons powdered carraway seed
2 cups unbleached enriched white flour

Sprinkle yeast on water and sugar and stir to dissolve.

Mix together molasses, whole wheat flour and rye flour; beat vigorously.

Add yeast mixture and mix again.

Add oil, caraway and about 2 cups unbleached enriched white flour, using enough flour to make a stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl. Turn to oil top of dough. Cover and let rise until double. Punch down. Form into loaves. Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise until double. Put pan of hot water on bottom rack of oven, with loaves on rack above. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake about 45 minutes until done.

"2 loaves"

Yeast Rolls

Recipe By : Cherylann
Categories : Biscuits & Rolls

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
6 cups bread flour -- 6-8 cups
2 packets dry yeast
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs -- beaten

In a large mixing bowl, mix 4 cups. of flour with the yeast. Set aside. Pour the milk, salt, oil and sugar into a pot, stirring to mix, and place over medium heat until lukewarm. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and yeast; beat until smooth. Add the eggs, stirring hard to mix well (use your hands). One cup at a time, add as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a soft dough. Put the dough on cutting block. Let it rise to double its size. Knead dough 12-15 times. Roll out on floured block until about 1/2" thick. Cut rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased baking pan. Let rise again until doubled in size. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

2 Deep-Dish Pumpkin Pies
Recipe by: Cherylann
Serving Size : 16
Categories : Pies & Cheesecakes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
29 ounces canned pumpkin
24 ounces evaporated milk
2 9" deep dish pie shells

Preheat oven to 425°.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shells.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°; bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

"2 pies"

Do NOT freeze pie. The crust will separate from the filling.
Holiday Poke Cake

Recipe By : Cherylann
Serving Size : 12
Categories : Cakes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 baked 9" round white cake layers -- cooled
2 cups boiling water
1 package cherry gelatin powder
1 package lime gelatin powder
12 ounces Cool Whip® -- thawed

Place cake layers, top sides up in 2 clean 9" round cake pans. Pierce layers with/large fork at ½" intervals.

Stir 1 cup of the boiling water into each flavor of gelatin in separate bowls at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Carefully pour cherry Jell-O over 1 cake layer and lime Jell-O over the 2nd cake layer. Refrigerate 3 hrs.

Dip lime cake pan in warm water 10 seconds; unmold onto serving plate. Spread with about 1 cup of the cool whip. Unmold cherry cake layer; carefully place on top of lime cake layer. Frost top & side of cake with/ remaining cool whip.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Decorate as desired. Store leftover cake in refrigerated.

Chocolate Chess Pie
Recipe by: Cherylann
Categories : Pies & Cheesecakes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa
1 stick butter
pinch salt
9 inch pie shell -- unbaked

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine cocoa, butter and milk in saucepan.

Cook over low heat until smooth.

Remove from heat, add sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Bake 30 minutes or until well done.

Pecan Pie
Recipe by: Cherylann
Serving Size : 12
Categories : Holiday Dinner Pies & Cheesecakes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter -- melted
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9 inch pie shell -- unbaked
1 cup pecans -- chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat eggs with a wire whisk or fork. Add salt, butter, syrup, sugar and vanilla; mix well. Pour into pastry shell; sprinkle with pecans.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Pumpkin Dessert Squares
Recipe by: Cherylann
Serving Size : 16
Categories : Brownies & Bars

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 box yellow cake mix -- reserve 1 cup
1 stick unsalted butter -- melted
1/2 stick unsalted butter -- cold, and cut into small chunks
3 eggs -- divided
1 jar Pecan Pumpkin Butter
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 13 X 9" baking pan. Set aside reserved 1 cup cake mix. Stir remaining cake mix, melted butter and one of the eggs. Pour into prepared pan. In another bowl, stir the Pecan Pumpkin Butter, remaining eggs and milk. Pour over the cake batter in the pan. Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and reserved cake mix; stir to combine. Add the cold butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pea-size crumbs form and the mixture clumps together. Crumble over the Pecan Pumpkin Butter mixture. Bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool. Cut into squares and serve.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Recipe By :Cherylann
Serving Size : 32
Categories : Pies & Cheesecakes

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
6 eggs -- separated (reserve whites for Meringue recipe)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
8 Tablespoons Hershey's® cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter
4 deep dish pie shells -- baked

Mix sugar, flour, cocoa and salt. Gradually add milk, egg yolks, vanilla and butter.

Cook over medium-low heat until thick.

Pour into 4 baked pie shells. Follow recipe for meringue.

Never-Ever-Fail Meringue

Recipe By :Cherylann
Serving Size : 32
Categories : Pies & Cheesecakes This & That

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 tablespoons cornstarch
8 tablespoons cold water
2 cups boiling water
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 egg whites (you'll need the 6 whites from the chocolate
meringue recipe + 6 more)
24 tablespoons sugar
4 pinches salt

Blend cornstarch and cold water in a saucepan. Add boiling water, and cook until thick and clear. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat egg whites till foamy. Gradually beat in sugar, beating until stiff and glossy. Add salt and vanilla, and slowly beat in cold cornstarch mixture. Beat quickly for several minutes. Spread meringue on filled, cooled 9 inch pie.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

NOTES : The secret to no-fail meringue is cornstarch which acts as a stabilizer. For this recipe, it 's cooked up with water, cooled, and slowly added to the beaten egg whites.

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