Delightful Christmas Dinner Ideas from Celeste

Monday, December 19, 2011 Submitted by kim
Christmas is just one week away!  If you haven't begun planning your Christmas dinner, now is the time to start.  Here are some of my favorite Christmas dinner and dessert recipes.  

Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and Red Wine Sauce 


  • 2 to 3 lb beef tenderloin, room temperature 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Red Wine Sauce
  • 1/4 c butter 
  • 1 c onion, julienne cut 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar 
  • 1 c red wine
  • 1 c beef broth 
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Brush the beef with olive oil.  Season with garlic powder and generously sprinkle salt and pepper over all.  Set the beef on a rack placed on top of a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast the beef until a thermometer reads 120 degrees for rare, about 25 minutes; 130 degrees for medium-rare, about 30 minutes; 140 degrees for medium, about 40 minutes.  Wrap the beef in the foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes (the temperature will rise 5 degrees as the beef rests).  

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and sugar.  Cook and stir occasionally until brown, at least 10 minutes (I caramelized mine for 40 minutes).  Add the wine and broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1 c, about 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the rosemary.  Stir in the remaining 2 tbsp butter.  

Unwrap the tenderloin and set it on a carving board.  Pour all of the accumulated juices into the sauce.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.  

Slice the meat and serve it with the sauce.  



Herb Roasted Turkey

 Herb Roasted Turkey


  • 1 18 lb whole turkey, thawed
  • 2 c dry white wine 
  • 2 c chicken broth 
  • 1/4 c onion, chopped 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary 
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme 


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Remove the turkey neck and giblets.  Rinse the turkey and pat it dry.  

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, rosemary, marjoram, basil, pepper and thyme.  Carefully pull back the skin of the turkey breast and rub 1/3 of the mixture directly onto the meat.  Rub the remaining 2/3 of the mixture over the skin of the entire bird.

Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up.  Pour the white wine and chicken in the bottom of the roasting pan and add the onions in with the liquid.  

Roast the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes per pound, or until the white meat (breast) registers 160 degrees and the dark meat (thigh) registers 170 degrees (the temperature will rise as the turkey rests).  Cover the turkey with foil and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.  



Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Red Currant Sauce

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
Spice Rub
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp onion salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried marjoram 
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Reserved pan drippings
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c chicken broth 
  • 1/4 c to 1/3 c red currant jelly, or to taste (I used 1/4 c)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp parsley 
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary 
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the parsley, thyme, rosemary, onion salt, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, kosher salt and pepper.  Massage the seasoning mixture evenly over the pork tenderloin.  Heat olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat.  Sear the pork on all sides until deep brown, about 10 minutes.  

Transfer the skillet to the oven.  Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 150 degrees.  Turn over once halfway through roasting.  Remove the pork from the skillet and wrap in tin foil.  Allow the pork to sit for 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Using the same skillet, place it over medium-high heat on the stove top.  Stir the butter into the pan drippings, until melted.  Deglaze with the chicken broth, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the jelly and balsamic vinegar.  Season with the orange zest, parsley, thyme and rosemary and add a pinch of kosher salt.  Bring the sauce to a boil and continue to cook and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.  

Slice the pork tenderloin and pour the sauce over all.  



Honey Glazed Ham


  • 1 (5 lb) boneless, ready to eat ham
  • 1/3 c butter, melted 
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 c brown sugar



Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk together the butter, honey and brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.  

Score the ham with a sharp knife.  Line a baking dish with tin foil.  Place the ham in the baking dish and loosely cover with tin foil.  Bake for 60 minutes.  

Remove the ham and liberally brush the honey glaze over all.  Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 140 degrees in the center.  Allow the ham to sit for 10 minutes before carving.



Surf and Turf with Chimichurri Sauce


  • 1 c packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 c to 3/4 c olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb flank steak
  • Large shrimp

Place the first 8 ingredients into a food processor. Pulse a few times while pouring in olive oil, to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Grill the steak and shrimp on a grill pan, to desired doneness. 

Spoon the sauce over all.



New York Cheesecake



  • 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs 
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 c sugar 


  • 4 (8 oz) pkg Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar 
  •  3/4 c milk, room temperature 
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 1 c sour cream, room temperature 
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 tsp salt  


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease a 9-inch springform pan.  Wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of tin foil. 

In a medium bowl, mix the crust ingredients together.  Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese with the sugar until just smooth.  Do not over mix.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently.

Stir in the mild and eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate into the mixture.  Stir in sour cream, vanilla, salt and flour just until smooth.  Again, be careful to not over mix.

Place the prepared pan in a water bath.  pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Bake for 1 hour.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven.  Carefully run a greased knife around the rim of the cheesecake, to loosen from the edge and prevent cracking when cooling.  Place the cheesecake back into the oven.  Close the oven door, turn off the heat and allow the cheesecake to cool for 5 hours.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Serve with your favorite toppings.



Peach Cobbler

 Peach Cobbler

Peach filling

  • 6 large peaches
  • 1/4 c brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 c brown sugar 
  • 1/4 c white sugar 
  • 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c milk 
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Make the peach filling.  Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Reserve 1/3 c of the water.  Remove the skins from the peaches.  Core and slices the peaches thin.  Combine the peaches, reserved water, brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon in a medium sauce pan.  Bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, make the topping.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, white sugar, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and lemon zest.  Stir in the butter, milk and vanilla until well combined. 

Pour the peach mixture into the bottom of four greased 5-inch ramekins.  Dollop the topping over the peaches.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. 

Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.



Triple Berry Crisp

 Triple Berry


  • 3 c berries, a mixture of your choice (I used 1 c blueberry, 1 c strawberry and 1 c raspberry)
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp sugar
Crumb Topping Mix

  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 stick butter, cubed (room temperature)
  • 1/3 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional)

Toss the berries with cornstarch and sugar, set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts in a bowl.

Add butter and pinch into chunks. Mix until it looks crumbly.

Add berries into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top evenly with crumb mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream.



Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate-Rum Ganache
 Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 c butter, softenend
  • 3 c white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1/4 c hot water
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Chocolate Ganache

  • 9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp dark rum (optional but so worth it!)


Make the pound cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Mix flour, cocoa, baking poder and salt together; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the dissolved coffee, milk and vinegar.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache.  Place chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat cream over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Bring it to just a boil, watching very carefully so that it does not boil over. Pour cream over chopped chocolate, whisk until smooth. Stir in rum, if desired.  Allow ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the cake.  

Start pouring at the center of the cake and move outward.  

For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling: Allow it to cool until thick. Then whip with a whisk until it becomes light and fluffy.

Celeste is a wife to her best friend, mother to their beautiful daughter and a medical transcriptionist.  She is a self-taught cook who became a passionate foodie in the process.  Her hope is that others will follow along on her journey at, have the desire to start cooking more, gain the confidence to try new things, quit dining out so much and remember how important and special it is to sit around the dinner table together as a family.  Oh yeah... and eat good food, too!  
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