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A Small Gathering – Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

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When it comes to planning, I’m old-school. That means written lists. And, the holidays are no exception. So, when I sat down to plan Christmas Eve & Christmas Day dinner, I started with a list. 

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Written lists for Christmas

Next, was looking at my cookbook collection (well over 50 and counting) for recipe inspiration. 

cookbook recipe collection
cookbook recipe collection
These are only the cookbooks on display…there are lots more!

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

Christmas Eve dinner recipes around four Cook’s Illustrated editions: 2017 Annual Recipes, Fall Entertaining, All-Time Best Meat Recipes, and All-Time Best Plan Ahead Recipes

I have three events to plan menus for this year. Christmas Eve dinner is 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’m sooooo excited about all this, because enjoying our family is the whole reason we moved here two years ago!

a dining table for the family

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

Christmas Eve Dinner


Prime Rib Roast

Smashed Potatoes

Roasted Green Beans

Garlic Bread

Carrot Cake

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

This year,  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.

The Recipes

Prime Rib Roast
prime rib that is perfect for christmas

Christmas Eve dinner is perfect for prime rib! 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

Holiday dinners aren’t complete with potatoes! In this case, it’s smashed potatoes. Not only are these potatoes super easy (no peeling involved), but they have a short ingredient list!

smashed red potatoes for Christmas Eve Dinner

This recipe 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

Although we love all the comfort foods, we need some greens in our lives. Have you had roasted green beans? Roasting gives the green beans a richer, yet smokier flavor. These beans are worthy of any Christmas Eve dinner table.

Roasted Green Beans for Christmas Eve dinner

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: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/grandma-hiers-carrot-cake-recipe-1917589. If not, I’ll go pick one up from the bakery.

Carrot Cake for Christmas Eve Dinner
PC: foodnetwork.com

That’s the plan for Christmas Eve dinner. A rather classic and traditional meal. Share below in the comments on what you’re planning for the holidays! 


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!

More on the holidays at The Feathered Nester:




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