After many, many years of trail and error, I’ve finally dialed in my holiday dinner menu. Not only does the whole family enjoy eating it, but I feel confident about it making it every step of the way! It took a lot of epic fails, not-quite-right sides, and overly-inventive desserts to get to this point. But now that I have a delicious menu nailed down, I’m excited to be able to share it with all of you!
Planning a holiday dinner menu can be stressful and time-consuming, so I hope that sharing my own menu helps you out with yours! Whether you end up borrowing one or two of these recipes, or you want to use the whole menu, you’re more than welcome to it! You have my blessing to use and much or as little of this menu as you like. If I can help even a few people out with their holiday meals this year, I will consider it a job well done! :-)
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My Tried & True Holiday Dinner Menu
Appetizer: Spinach Salad
If I had to choose a very favorite salad, it would absolutely be this one! We call it Marianne’s Spinach Salad, because my sister-in-law Marianne got us all hooked on it after she started bringing it to family dinners. This unique salad has a little something for everyone due to its combination of sweet, salty, tangy, and creamy flavors. If you’re bringing it to a dinner or potluck, make sure to pack the cottage cheese and dressing separately so it doesn’t get soggy.
2 bunches spinach (about 12 ounces)
1 head lettuce
3 cups Swiss cheese, grated
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
16 oz cottage cheese
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 tsp salt
- Start by rinsing and drying the spinach and lettuce. Then remove the stems from the spinach if necessary, and roughly chop the head of lettuce.
- Place the spinach and lettuce in a large salad bowl, then add the Swiss cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and red onion.
- Then in a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
- Just before serving, add the dressing and cottage cheese to the salad and toss to combine.
Entree: Foolproof Prime Rib & Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Trust me, I know how nerve-wracking it can be to commit to cooking such an expensive hunk of meat! But I’ve been using the same method to make prime rib for our family’s Christmas party for nearly a decade now, and it works like a charm every time! I’m confident enough in this method to call it “foolproof,” because as long as you follow the directions exactly, you have nothing to fear! You’ll end up with deliciously tender, medium-rare prime rib that people will be reminiscing about for months to come.
Get the full recipe for my foolproof prime rib (and a delicious horseradish sauce to pair with it) at the link below!
Side Dish #1: Creamed Corn
I’m almost certain I would have a mutiny on my hands if I failed to bring this creamed corn to our annual holiday party! It’s a perfect blend of sweet and savory, and the creamy texture is downright luxurious. Feel free to use any kind of frozen corn you can find, but I strongly recommend using the shoepeg corn if you can find it—it’s a total game-changer!
1 (24-ounce) bag frozen shoepeg corn
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Add the corn, cream, and milk to a pot and bring the mixture to a boil. (I don’t usually bother thawing the corn first because it thaws out so quickly in the pot.)
- Melt the butter in a small dish in your microwave, then stir the flour into it to make a roux. It should have a paste-y consistency.
- Add the roux to the pot, then stir well to incorporate. Continue to cook the corn mixture until thickened.
- Add white pepper and more salt to taste.
- Pour the corn mixture into a small casserole dish, then sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted to your liking.
Side Dish #2: Instant Pot “Baked” Potatoes
Who doesn’t like a good baked potato? Everyone in my family prefers different toppings, so I just set them all out in small bowls and let everyone choose for themselves. (We usually have butter, cheese, sour cream, and green onions available at the very least.) And even though baked potatoes are already pretty easy to make, they’re even easier in the Instant Pot!
Because you’ll be cooking the potatoes in your Instant Pot, it will free up the oven for prime rib. Get the full details on making perfect “baked” potatoes in your Instant Pot at the link below! (It’s the first of three recipes included in that post.)
Dessert: Sour Cream Cookies
For my family, there’s only one way to finish off a delicious holiday meal—with a big plate of Sour Cream Cookies! These pillowy, frosted cookies are the Cadillac of sugar cookies. They don’t take a lot of time or effort to make, but some people do get tripped up by how sticky the dough is. Just make sure to chill the dough thoroughly before rolling it out, which will help make it easier to handle.
Eating one (or three) of these cookies is the perfect way to end a perfect meal! Get the full recipe and detailed instructions for making Sour Cream Cookies at the link below.
What’s on your holiday dinner menu this year?