The good thing about Holiday Menu’s are that they can be interchangeable, and you don’t have to do the same stuff every year. For our pre-Thanksgiving meal, we had Aunt Sarah’s Thanksgiving Dip, but including the dip and our dinner we only spent $95 on a meal for four. I’d say that’s a steal.
It wasn’t your traditional Holiday Dinner, because we realized not every holiday meal with friends has to consist of turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce. Yes, those are thanksgiving staples, but for a dinner for 4 or 5 people, you shouldn’t have to over spend and exhaust yourself. So here are a few side dishes and a main dish you could make for any Holiday gathering without running the bank dry.
Lima Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Casserole
1 bag frozen Lima Beans
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup Roland Roasted Red Bell Peppers
3 sticks Sargento’s cheese (whatever you’re in the mood for – we got the package that was on sale)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
This dish is not hard to make at all, and it’s not your typical casserole with some type of cream of mushroom base. It’s full of natural flavors. Find an oven safe dish to bake in and set it aside. Take your yellow bell pepper – deseed it and cut the veins off. Cut it in strips about 1/4″ thick. Sauté the peppers in your oil or fat of choice. SaltwaterChef used bacon grease for our sautéing purposes. After the peppers are soft, put them in your baking dish and sauté the onion next. After they are nice and translucent, add them to your mixture as well.
The Lima beans don’t need to be cooked, but tossing them a time or two in your hot oil will help them thaw a little bit, or rinse them in a colander under water to thaw them.
Since the red peppers were already already roasted, we threw in about 1/2 cup of them with a little bit of their juice as well. Toss everything together!
We cubed up the Sargento cheese, but if you want to buy shredded cheese that will work just as well, and if you have it on hand – crumble some Ritz crackers on top for a nice additional texture and golden brown color. All that’s left is to bake your casserole for about 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and it’s ready to serve!
Brown Buttered Mashed Potatoes
2 sticks of butter
5 lb sack of Yukon gold potatoes
Granulated Garlic (to taste)
Salt & black pepper (to taste)
Mashed potatoes could be the easiest side dish you could ever make. No picture involved with this one, it’s only a few short steps. I’ll try and breeze through it.
1. Peel about 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes, (remember this is based on dinner for 4 people) and cut into quarters. The more consistent the cut, the more evenly they are cooked. The smaller you cut your potatoes, the faster they cook. Throw them in a pot of salty hot water, and let them boil.
2. When your potatoes are getting close to being ready, test them with tongs for tenderness. When they easily break apart after being squeezed, they’re ready. So start your butter melting in a sauté pan. To get the butter brown, you just cook it between medium and medium-high heat until all the water evaporates and the milk solids start to turn a light brown color, but don’t burn it!
3. When the potatoes are nice and tender transfer them to a colander. Don’t leave the potatoes too long, if they aren’t mashed while hot, their natural sugars will cool down and they will become very starchy instead of staying nice and light. By the way, you don’t need a potato masher – a little strength with a fork will break them down quite nice, leaving nice small chunks for a great texture.
4. Halfway through mashing, throw in your hot brown butter. It will make the mashing easier and start to level the consistency of your potatoes. Other than that, season with some granulated garlic (minced garlic if you’re in the mood, but I’d sauté it for about 15-20 seconds in the butter first so it isn’t raw), salt and pepper. Finish it off with a few shots of milk and 1/4 cup of sour cream – how much of each that you add relies on what consistency you are looking for.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to keep a few green onions around to cut and use for garnish on top.
The Prime Rib
This was only the expensive part of the meal. We got a 3 lb, bone in, Prime Rib – that’s a 12 oz piece of meat per person for around $30. So for a nice sized protein, I consider that a win.
We didn’t even sear the steak off. SaltwaterChef drizzled olive oil over the meat and covered the outside in a new seasoning I bought, McCormick Grill Mates, Garlic & Onion Medley. We put it in the oven at 6 p.m. on 300 degrees and it was ready to eat by 7:45 p.m. It was also great because it had all the temperatures we liked to eat. One cut came out Rare+, one Medium Rare, one Medium Rare+, and the outside was a nice pink Medium.
Look at this beautiful cut of meat.
Naturally, every meal, special occasion or not, goes great with a bottle of wine. With this evening’s meal, we drank an affordable, great wine – Clos du Bois, Cabernet Savignon. It was a great dinner with my friends. If you have a dinner party coming up over this holiday season, there’s always an inexpensive, easy way to impress people with your culinary skill.