Janet's Notebook
Gather Around the Table for a Memorable Christmas Meal

Perfect Prime Rib Everytime

There are 12 days until Christmas! Wasn't Thanksgiving just yesterday? Hopefully, you've wrapped up your holiday shopping and can now focus on that daunting item on your to-do list... planning Christmas dinner.

At Thanksgiving, I have traditional dishes my family loves. But for Christmas, I try to infuse a new dish or two into the meal.

The star of the meal, in my house, is typically ham or prime rib and Justapinch.com has fabulous recipes for both.

Tiffany Ash's (Woodburn, IN) Ginger Ale - Honey Mustard Glazed Ham is a perfect holiday ham. Tiffany originally made this for her fiance and it disappeared from the table. I bet it will from your table too.

Many recipes use cola, but I like the addition of ginger ale to this recipe. It adds a bit of spice. The glaze is sweet, tangy and delicious. In the Test Kitchen we used Dijon mustard for an added bit of zing, but use what you have on hand. That's something I love about this recipe. The glaze is made with items you probably have around the kitchen... no special trip to the store necessary.

Brenda-Lee Barajas' (Watertown, NY) Perfect Prime Rib Everytime (The Best Ever) is something I've talked about in year's past, but it seriously is so good. Brenda-Lee was nervous to cook this way because of the high heat necessary, but she took a chance and realized "what a wonderful way to cook beef" it was.

The key is to make sure that you start with a clean oven when using this high temp. Brenda-Lee's recipe calls for a 550-degree oven. If your oven doesn't go that high (ours didn't), turn it up to 500. We adjusted the baking time and it came out perfectly medium rare. Your guests are guaranteed to feel special when they sit down to this prime rib.

Some year's I take a shortcut and buy sweet rolls in the bag from the grocery store (you know the ones...). But Dorene Nagy's (Wharncliffe, WV) Grandma Statom Yeast Rolls are practically fail-proof.

"This is a recipe I got from my Grandma Statom," shares Dorene. "It's very easy even if you are a beginner in making rolls." Seriously, the hardest part of the recipe is letting the dough rise. The result is a light, airy and slightly sweet dinner roll.

Sweet potato casserole is a family favorite, but sometimes they are a bit too sweet for me. I love the savory taste of Sherry Peyton's (Las Cruces, NM) The Not So Sweet Potato Casserole.

No marshmallows and brown sugar here. Sherry still has all the yummy butter, but she adds sweetened condensed milk for creaminess (and just the right amount of sweetness), along with rum extract, nutmeg and the zest of an orange to punch up the flavor. Yummy!

Another classic side dish that's been reinvented for the holiday is Lynn Socko's (San Angelo, TX) Fresh Green Bean Casserole. This has been a favorite in the Test Kitchen since Diane Hopson-Smith (Pine Mountain, GA) taste-tested it.

"This is not your mama's green bean casserole," jokes Lynn. When Diane saw the recipe had fresh beans and no canned soup, she knew she had to try it. "This is a refreshing twist on the traditional green bean casserole," thought Diane. "I would be proud to display it at any holiday meal."

After the meal, relax around the table (or by the fireplace) with a nice cup of Shannon Renee's (Jesup, GA) Homemade Holiday Cranberry Cider.

"This is a tradition in our house to make," shares Shannon. Filled with the flavors of the season like cranberry, orange, cloves and cinnamon it tastes like the holiday. An added bonus, the aroma while this steeps on the stove is incredible.

If you're looking for a bit of inspiration for your Christmas dinner, try one of these delicious recipes. Or, check out our collection of Christmas recipes. From main dishes and breakfast ideas to appetizers and desserts, you'll find something your family will love. Happy Pinching!

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