Holiday menu #1: Formal Sit Down Dinner

Rolled Laura’s Lean Beef Tenderloin with Spinach Filling Roasted Root Vegetables Mashed Rutabaga Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate and Pecans and Pomegranate Vinaigrette About the menu: Roast tenderloin always seems like an indulgence, so it’s worth of the main holiday meal. Find whole tenderloins when they are on sale and freeze them for use at your holiday dinner. To trim a tenderloin, use a sharp boning knife and carefully trim all the fat and the thin membrane, known as silver skin, from the outside of the tenderloin. To get the nicest shape of roast, cut of the head and the tail of the tenderloin (saving them, OF COURSE, for other delicious dinners). As for sides, these are all things you can make ahead of time and hold or reheat. Use red onions, potatoes, garlic and parsnips for the roasted root vegetables. If you are really adventurous, roast Brussels sprouts with a tiny bit of bacon, a toss of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast them until they are dark, dark golden brown. I say even people who don’t love Brussels sprouts will love these. Mashed rutabaga makes a great change from mashed potatoes. Rutabaga, also known as yellow turnip or swede (in England), is not a starchy vegetable, so if you’re cutting carbs, this is a good choice. Peel the waxy, hard, outer shell. Chop it into small cubes. Boil until soft, drain and then mash with hot water, stock, milk or cream, depending on how rich you want to go. We always top them with golden crispy fried shallots and parsley. Gorgeous dish. I like adding the individual pomegranate seeds (called arils) to a green salad at the holidays for festive colors. Look for pomegranate infused vinegar to make the vinaigrette, or make your own vinegar by boiling pomegranate juice down to a syrup and adding white wine vinegar to the syrup. Then use that to mix with olive oil and seasonings for your vinaigrette. Roast Tenderloin with Spinach Filling This is an elegant dish and makes for a beautiful presentation. If you want to make dinner super easy, slice it in the kitchen, place the slices on a platter and let everyone help themselves from the platter. Serves 10 Prep time: about 30 minutes Cooking time: about 45 minutes For the spinach: Cooking Spray or olive oil mist 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 16-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed 2 cups herbed stuffing mix 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup skim milk Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 4 eggs at room temperature Note: You could use vegetable stock for this dish and cook the remaining filling (you’ll have 4 cups left over) in a casserole dish as a vegetarian option for anyone at the table. To finish roast: 1 Laura’s Lean Beef Tenderloin Roast (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed Salt and Pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 1. Heat oven to 425F. Adjust one rack to upper middle part of oven. Start spinach filling: Spray large non-stick skillet lightly with cooking spray. Add onions and cook over medium high heat until the onions are soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in thawed spinach and cook to evaporate any liquid. Add stuffing mix and stock, and stir to combine thoroughly. If any stock is still visible in skillet, cook until that is absorbed/evaporated. 2. Remove from heat. Cool about 5 minutes. Stir in milk, salt and pepper, cheese and eggs. Let cool while preparing roast. 3. Cut into roast lengthwise and cut a spiral from the meat, making meat lie flat, about 1-inch thick. Spread 2 cups spinach filling over surface of roast. Starting at one end, gently roll roast up around spinach. Turn roast seam side down and tie with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals and tie once lengthwise to help roast keep its shape. 4. Rub roast lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven and cook to 125 degrees in center of roast, about 45 minutes (use your thermometer for an accurate reading). Remove from oven and let rest, covered with foil and a dishtowel on top of foil, for up to 30 minutes. This rest is important—it helps the roast remain juicy and helps it hold its shape when slicing. 5. While roast rests, heat up root vegetables and mashed rutabaga. Toss salad with dressing. Heat any other sides. and if you’re baking a pie or a nice apple-pear crisp for dessert, put it into the oven now. (Don’t forget to set the timer.) It will have time to cook and cool slightly so you can eat it warm after you enjoy your holiday meal. 6. To carve, cut and remove the lengthwise string, but leave other strings in tact. Slice roast into 10 slices, leaving strings on as you slice to help roast hold its shape. Remove strings from individual slices and serve. Nutrition Information per Serving: Calories 206; Calories from Fat 75 (Percentage of Calories from Fat 36%); Total Fat 8g; Saturated Fat 3g; Cholesterol 87mg; Sodium 224mg; Carbohydrate 5g; Fiber 1g; Sugars 1g; Protein 29g; Vitamin A 38%; Vitamin C 1%; Calcium 8%; Iron 13%


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