A Small Gathering – Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

When it comes to planning, I’m old-school. I make lists. And, the holidays are no exception. I have gift lists, menu lists, and grocery lists.

So, when I sat down to make my holiday meals, I started a list.


Then, I turned to my cookbook collection (well over 50 and counting) to look for recipes.

These are only the cookbooks I have on display…there are more!

This year, I chose to center my recipes around four Cook’s Illustrated editions: 2017 Annual, Fall Entertaining, All-Time Best Meat Recipes, and All-Time Best Plan Ahead Recipes.

I have three events to plan menus for this year. Our Christmas Eve dinner with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, Christmas Day dinner with our children and grandchildren, and our extended family Christmas dinner at the end of the month.

I am sooooo excited about all this, because enjoying our family is the whole reason we moved here two years ago!



I thought I’d share my menu and recipes with you. Today I’m sharing the Christmas Eve dinner:

Christmas Eve Menu


Prime Rib Roast

Smashed Potatoes

Roasted Green Beans

Garlic Bread

Carrot Cake

My sister is bringing the appetizers and garlic bread. So, I’ll be making the prime rib roast, potatoes, green beans, and possibly the carrot cake. I chose these dishes because they are traditional, timeless, and can be prepared ahead then popped in the oven.

This year, I am thrilled that I have two ovens to prepare meals: a regular convection wall oven and steam convection oven. The convection steam oven will be great for the cake and potatoes.

Prime Rib Roast

This recipe is great because you can shorten or lengthen it as needed. You’ll want a few things to make cooking this roast easier. A v-rack, and a probe thermometer with a timer. Serves 6-8.

  • 7 lb. standing rib roast
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil

Make cross-cuts through the fat pad on top of the roast, only cutting through the fat – not the meat. Rub about 2 Tbsp. of kosher salt all over the roast. Refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 4 days.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet until just smoking. Brown the roast on all sides, 6-8 minutes total. Let rest for 10 minutes. Place the roast on a V-rack or wire rack inside of a roasting or rimmed pan. Season with salt and pepper, and place the oven on a middle rack. Roast until meat reaches 110 degrees (about 3-4 hours).

Turn off the oven, leaving the roast inside, until meat reaches 125 (for medium-rare). This will take between about 60 minutes.

Remove roast from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for at least 30 minutes (up to 75 minutes). To brown the roast, turn on the oven’s broiler and broil in the middle of the oven for 2-8 minutes. Slice and serve.

Smashed Red Potatoes

I love recipes that have a short ingredient list! Serves 4-6.

  • 2 lbs. small red potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup or 4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chives (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 1” of cold water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently until fork can be easily inserted (about 40 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of potato cooking water, and drain potatoes. Return potatoes to saucepan and remove bay leaf. Let potatoes stand, uncovered for 5 minutes.

Whisk melted butter and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add ¼ cup of the reserved potato water, salt and pepper, and chives. Using a potato masher, gently press on top of each potato to break the skin and partially flatten it. Fold in butter/cheese mixture. If the potato mixture is too dry, add 1-2 Tbsp. of reserved potato water. Season and serve.

Roasted Green Beans

This is an easy-peasy recipe. Serves 4-6.

  • 1 bag (16 oz.) of thin or petite green beans
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Spread beans in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Use hands to toss the beans to spread oil evenly, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 20 minutes or until dark gold.

If I have time, I’ll bake the carrot cake from scratch. My favorite recipe is from Paula Deen: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/grandma-hiers-carrot-cake-recipe-1917589. If not, I’ll go pick one up from the bakery.

PC: foodnetwork.com
Time permitting, I’ll be posting our Christmas Day dinner menu and recipes on Saturday. I hope you have been able to take the time to enjoy the season, visit a Candy Cane Lane, or holiday show.
See you soon!


  1. Cheryle 12/23/2017 at 4:34 PM

    You’re just too cute Miss Renee! I love you blog! Xo

    1. Renae 12/23/2017 at 6:22 PM

      Thanks, Cheryle!

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