My Holiday Dinner Menu…Including Foolproof Prime Rib!

prime rib dinner 11

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.

Christmas dinner menu

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! 

prime rib dinner

Marianne’s Spinach 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


  • 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


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.)

prime rib dinner 9

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”.

prime rib dinner

Easy 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.
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.

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.


prime rib dinner 6

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.

prime rib dinner 8

Creamy Horseradish Sauce


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


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.

prime rib dinner 9

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.

prime rib dinner 7

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)


  • (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


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!

prime rib dinner 9

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.

prime rib dinner

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.

prime rib dinner 9

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!

prime rib dinner

Classic English Trifle


  • 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


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.

prime rib dinner 9

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!



Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter5Pin on Pinterest4.2kGoogle+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. says

    I have been meaning to comment on one of your blogs :) I have been following you for about 2 months and love everything you post! I found you because I was originally looking for a way to clean my oven without chemicals. Now, I go to you first for ideas when I need a cleaning/craft idea!
    Thanks for your commitment to your blog and all the great information!
    Happy Holidays!

  2. Karen423 says

    Where is the layer of beef sauté with peas and onions? Rachael’s English trifle on Friends.

    I used to do elaborate dinners at Christmas until I realized I was missing out on watching my son play with all his toys. He is grown and out of the house now, for a brief period he lived with his dad in another state and I would fly him home at Christmas. One year he arrived late during a blizzard on Christmas Eve, we put chili in the crockpot that day so it was an easy meal coming home from airport (or reheat if flight delayed). Ever since he suggested we have chili on Christmas Eve and open our gifts that night. He moved back to the same city as us last year.

    We have ham or turkey Christmas dinner with all the trimming with the rest of the family at another house.

    • says

      Just had to say I was sitting with a cup of coffee reading the comments, and did a spit-take when I got to the first line of yours (thankfully, the laptop was not hit directly)!

      At least with Jillee’s recipe, we can be sure that it won’t “taste like feet!” :)

  3. maureen says

    I’ve had your aunts Spinach Salad, and it is delish!!! Quick question on the prime rib, when you put it in the dutch oven, in the oven, is it ‘open’ or covered?

  4. Zoé says

    Hey Jillee, love the recipes!
    I just wanted to comment on something though: in your menu, Prime Rib is not an “entrée”, it is a “plat principal” ! Plat principal means main dish, and entrée is what you would eat before that!
    Merry Christmas from a French reader in Paris

  5. Gina says

    I love to start a holiday dinner off with an antipasto platter my first boyfriend Sergio’s mom used to make. Fina was from Sicily, so it has a definite Sicilian flair to it!
    Place romaine lettuce leaves in a flower shape on a large serving platter. Scatter black olives, short pieces of celery, marinated artichokes (I like Cento brand, be sure to reserve the marinade!), chunks of extra-sharp provolone cheese (be sure it’s the extra-stinky kind, otherwise it’s too bland) and navel orange slices (cut into half-moons) decoratively over the romaine leaves. Drizzle the whole platter with the marinate. You may also add roasted red peppers, chunks of tuna and/or anchovies if your family likes them – I stick with the basics that Fina used. Great blend of flavors……save the leftovers for your salad the next day! Enjoy!!

  6. says

    As a lucky participant in this Christmas tradition…I can tell you, the meal to TO DIE FOR good! My mouth is watering already, can’t wait!!

  7. Bella says

    Wow, can our gang join you? I love your menu. I may copy it when we celebrate at home. For now, we are traveling to our parents in another state. I have a question about the prime rib, as I’ve never attemp it before. At the minimum, how many people would a smallest prime rib serve? And can you serve the leftover prime rib again for the next day? As prime rib or something else?
    Thanks for sharing your tradition and your family. Merry Christmas !

    • Deserae says

      I usually plan for 1/2 pound per person. Some will eat more and some less.
      I like to serve it as french dips the next day and as stew a following day. I have also found that you could freeze leftovers for stew or even another roast if it isn’t sliced.
      Another thing I do is buy french onion soup packets instead of au jus. I find it has better flavor. You can also add some roast drippings if you want.

      • Sheila Sullivan says

        “Du jour” means “of the day”.
        “Au jus” basically means “thin gravy”

        This is an easy recipe for Au Jus:

        1/4 cup beef fat drippings from a prime rib or other roast beef
        1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
        2 cups beef broth
        salt and ground black pepper to taste


        Melt fat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk flour into beef fat; cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
        Pour beef broth into fat mixture; increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil.
        Boil mixture until it thickens slightly; season with salt and pepper to taste.

        I sometimes add a bit of garlic, just for more flavor.

  8. Georgann G says

    In your directions, you preheat the oven to 500 degrees, then never turn the temp back down and cook it for two hours??? Is this correct??

    • kim says

      no no… you cook it at 500 for 5-6 minutes per pound. (so, a 5 pound roast would be 25-30 minutes) Then turn the oven off and leave the door closed for 2 hours.

    • Murphy says

      You weigh your meat first (or the butcher did, it may be on the package), and cook at 5 minutes per pound (so 12 pounds would be 60 minutes or 1 hour). Then, turn the oven off without opening the door and leave it in there for the rest of the time. The oven will slowly cool off, that is the rest of your cooking heat, and energy efficient, too :-) hope this helps!

  9. says

    Ever since I had three out of four kids in diapers, we’ve opted for a simpler holiday meal on Christmas so that it’s actually a holiday for me too! LOL! We do London Broil on the grill, steamed shrimp, 7 layer salad, homemade rolls, some kind of potato (usually on the grill too), pumpkin pie and apple dumplings. This year, I think I’m doing cole slaw instead of potato. The shrimp and apple dumplings are two things my Mom used to make and since my Dad and brother are both unmarried, they enjoy eating things that Mom used to make when she was living so that is my gift to them each year. (I also make them ginger cream cookies which is their favorite cookie that Mom used to do.)