Christmas Dinner 2011

I love making a big fancy dinner for holidays!  This year, I made Braised Roast with Horseradish Cream, Sauteed Swiss Chard with Toasted Pecans, Sweet Potato Souffle, and Twice Baked Potatoes.  The Hubby seemed to like it, and it was relatively easy (especially for a holiday meal), so I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

Braised Beef Roast
(serves 8 – 10)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (1-2 pound) beef roast
1 onion, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. gound pepper
1 bottle of stout or dark beer
1/2 c. red wine
2 bay leaves

In a large (oven-proof) pot with a lid, sprinkle olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the roast, and brown on each side.  Add the onions; cook until soft (5-6 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds, and then add salt, pepper, beer, and wine, making sure to deglaze the pan after the addition of the liquid.  Add the bay leaves, and cover the pot.  Slide the pot into the oven and cook for about 3-4 hours, turning the roast at least halfway through.  Almost all of the liquid should have evaporated when the roast is done.  Slice the roast and serve with the onions and horseradish cream (recipe follows).

Horseradish Cream
(serves 8-10)

1 c. sour cream
2 Tbsp. minced horseradish (I used the kind in a jar)
2 green onions, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the above ingredients.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes; may be made the night before and kept in the fridge until ready for use.

Sauteed Swiss Chard
(serves 3-4)

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. pecans
1 bunch swiss chard
1/4 c. red wine
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, add olive oil and butter; heat over medium heat until butter browns slightly.  Add pecans, tossing in butter, and toast for 2-3 minutes.  In the meantime, tear the chard from the stalk in several pieces (they can be big pieces- they will shrink with the heat).  Once the pecans are toasted, add the chard to the pan and allow it to wilt, tossing in the butter.  It will get slightly brown, and then add the red wine.  Continue to saute until all of the red wine has evaporated, and salt & pepper to taste.

Sweet Potato Souffle
(serves 4)

5 large sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, and mashed  *could be done the previous night!
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. bourbon
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, add mashed sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, bourbon, egg, and salt; mix thoroughly.  Add this mixture to a greased 9 x 9″ pan.

In a medium bowl, add butter, brown sugar, and flour; mix thoroughly (should be more doughy than greasy), and add pecans.  Sprinkle mixture over the sweet potato filling, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Twice Baked Potatoes
(Serves 4-6)

5 large Russet Potatoes, baked  *could be done the previous night
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled into bits *Could be prepared the previous night!
salt and pepper
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut each of the potatoes in half lengthwise, and hollow out the potato from the skin, leaving 1/4″ thickness with the skin (so that the skins don’t fall apart!) with 4 of the 5 potatoes.  Completely hull out the 5th potato (it only serves as extra filling).  In a medium bowl, add the scooped out potato, and add the sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise; cream thoroughly.  Stir in the bacon bits, salt, and pepper.  Place all of the hollowed out potato skins in a greased 9 x 13″ pan.  Refill the hollowed out potato skins with the potato filling, and sprinkle the cheese over all of the potatoes.  Bake the twice baked potatoes at 350 for 40 – 45 minutes.  When done, the cheese will be bubbly and golden brown!  Sprinkle the green onions over the potatoes and serve.

And here’s the finished product:

As for drinks, we did open some bubbly.  We acquired this bottle on our winery tours in Willamette Valley, Oregon, at Argyle vineyards.  It’s actually 80% pinot noir, which accounts for it very dry, much less sweet taste, and it’s apparently quite rare to use pinot noir grapes for sparkling wine.  Also, it’s still a white sparkling wine, so I guess they didn’t use the skins from the pinot noir grapes.  Either way, it’s Mr. Hubby’s favorite bubbles!  And, the handsome wine chiller (pictured) was a fantastic Christmas gift we received from dear family!!

For dessert, I had initially set out to make a Red Velvet Cake, but, being that the town was out of red food coloring, it turned into a chocolate cake.  Then, I remembered how very moist our Chocolate Bourbon cake was at our wedding, and I added a tsp. of bourbon.  Then, searching for cream that I didn’t have on hand, I decided to use eggnog instead.  Lastly, being that I had no powdered sugar on hand, I made a Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache for the frosting.  (lol, this is totally how I cook)  And this is how it was that I made a Chocolate Eggnog Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache.

The recipe comes from Cooking Light December 2011 issue, here’s the recipe, (a magazine I really love), but with the above mentioned substitutions.  Feel free to try it either way!  It was moist and pretty!

Chocolate Eggnog Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache
(serves 10)

  • Cake:
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Ganache:
  • melted 8 oz. bar chocolate
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese
  • pinch salt

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa. Place 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture and eggnog alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat just until combined. Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and beat at medium to high speed.  Divide batter evenly between 2- 8 inch round cake pans.  Bake 30 – 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool completely.
  • In a medium bowl, add melted chocolate, cream cheese, and salt; stir thoroughly until completely smooth.  Cool in refrigerator 20 – 30 minutes.  
  • When cake is ready to be frosted, frost evenly with ganache. 

  1. Happy holidays everyone!!  

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