I do love cooking a holiday feast, complete with roast beast.

It’s a lot of work (and a LOT of dishes) but there is nothing more lovely than having your family sit down to a traditional holiday meal.  Whether it’s latkes or collard greens or ham or a Christmas goose, there is comfort to be had in that celebratory meal.

I’ve learned over the years that there is neither time nor patience for an “everything from scratch” feast in my world.  So, the menu is a combination of homemade and easily-made:

Beef Roasted with Walnut Oil and Sage
Red Wine Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Carrots with Butter and Dill
Salads, green and cole slaw
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Vanilla Cheesecake with Cranberry Maple Sauce

Christmas Eve Feast

I’ll post the homemade recipes after all the presents are opened and the wrapping paper is in the recycling.  But here are my tips for the easily-made dishes.

1. Never peel another potato — at least not for mashed potatoes.  Use a frozen mashable potato instead (I like Ore-Ida Steam and Mash).  All they are is cubed potato that you steam in the microwave and then mash to your desired consistency.  You can dress them up with garlic and onions or just add milk and butter.  I make mine in the Kitchen-Aid Mixer to get a sort of lumpy, sort of smooth consistency.  Ten minutes in the microwave, another three or four in the mixer, and voila!

2. Green bean casserole is even easier if you use frozen french beans (again, I like the steam in the bag variety).  I fancy it up a bit with the new Progresso Creamy Portobello Mushroom Recipe Starter  (yes it’s from a can, and I try to avoid canned food as much as possible, but you try and find cream of mushroom in a box).

3. Fresh herbs are amazingly expensive in Alaska, and often on their last legs before they hit our stores.  So I’ve become a huge fan of Gourmet Gardens herbs in a tube. The dill in the tube is wonderful, and just three or for “dots” of this concentrated form will season an entire pan of carrots.

(This post looks like some sort of product placement overload — I swear it’s not.  Just some handy tips about products I rely on for yummy food, especially for company.)