Celebrate the Christmas Season

Check out some of these great ideas for celebrating the Christmas season.

The Spirit of Christmas
It's finally time to sit down and enjoy a special Christmas dinner starring beef tenderloin seasoned with a distinctive smoky paprika rub and accompanied by a trio of roasted root vegetables. A fabulous cranberry and orange snowflake-shaped cake makes a spectacular finale for the eyes and the palate.

Seasonal Savvy
During this busy season, it's a good idea to order your beef roast in advance. A tenderloin yields four 3-ounce cooked servings per pound. To ensure perfectly roasted beef, use a thermometer to determine doneness. And don't forget to let beef stand 15 to 20 minutes for easier carving.

The unique snowflake cake pan is great for Christmas and all through the winter. Use it to make impressive cakes (either from scratch or a mix), beautiful breads or even your favorite gelatin recipe. This 10-cup pan has a premium nonstick surface so foods release perfectly and cleanup is a breeze. It is available for purchase at www.wilton.com.

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Smoky Paprika Beef Tenderloin With Roasted Root Vegetables

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 to 1-1/4 hours

Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 well-trimmed center-cut beef tenderloin roast (2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1-1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, cut in half
  • 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-1/2 x 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound cipollini onions, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt


  • 1 cup tightly packed parsley leaves
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Place seasoning ingredients except olive oil in food processor; cover and process until parsley is chopped, stopping and scraping side of container as needed. With the motor running, slowly add oil through the opening in cover, processing just until combined.

2. Press 3 tablespoons seasoning mixture evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. Reserve remaining seasoning mixture.

3. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 425°F oven 35 to 40 minutes for medium rare; 45 to 50 minutes for medium doneness.

4. Meanwhile, combine remaining seasoning mixture, red potatoes, sweet potatoes and cipollini in large bowl; toss to coat. Transfer vegetables to metal baking pan. Place in oven with beef roast. Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley and salt, as desired.

5. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board and immediately sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.)

6. Carve roast into slices; season with salt as desired. Serve with vegetables.

Cran-Orange Snowflake Cake

Total preparation and cooking time: 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours

Makes 12 servings

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray snowflake pan with vegetable pan spray; set aside.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Cream butter and sugar in large mixing bowl with electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add orange zest and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream; mix well. Gently stir in cranberries and pecans. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pan.

3. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully invert cake onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

4. Dust cake with confectioners' sugar.

The Joy of Hanukkah

Celebrate the Feast of Lights by gathering family and friends for a meal of tender beef brisket accented with a sweet-tangy apple-cranberry sauce and steamed green beans. Colorful cookies cut into festive star, menorah and dreidel shapes provide a sweet ending.

Holiday Helpers

Browning the brisket is the key to a richer more full-bodied beef flavor. Gently simmering in a tightly covered pan results in melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Cooked brisket will yield 2-1/2 to 3 servings per pound.

Holiday cookie cutters make cookie baking more fun. And colored sugars and sprinkles are an easy way to decorate - no skill required. Or, for the more adventurous, use colorful icings to frost the cookies or to pipe decorative designs.

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Beef Brisket With Savory Sautéed Apples

Total preparation and cooking time: 3 to 4 hours

Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 boneless beef brisket, flat cut (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups sliced unpeeled apples, such as Fuji or Gala (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place brisket in stockpot; brown evenly. Remove brisket; season with salt and pepper.

2. Reserve 1/2 cup onion. Add remaining onion and garlic to stockpot. Cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Return brisket, fat side up, to stockpot. Add apple cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until brisket is fork-tender.

3. Meanwhile, heat butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted. Add apples and reserved onion; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until apples are just tender. Add cranberries and brown sugar; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until cranberries are tender and juices are thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in walnuts. Keep warm.

4. Remove cooked brisket from stockpot; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Bring cooking liquid to a boil. Cook, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

5. Carve brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with reduced cooking liquid and apple mixture.

Almond Hanukkah Cookies

Total preparation and cooking time: 1-3/4 to 2 hours

Chilling time: 1 hour

Makes approximately 3-1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup margarine* or butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear almond extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (optional)


  • 1-1/4cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon clear almond extract (optional)
  • Royal blue icing color
  • Golden yellow icing color
  • Blue and yellow colored sugars

1. Combine flour and baking powder in small bowl; mix well and set aside. Beat margarine and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and almond extract. Add flour mixture, and if desired, almonds to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Place cookie dough on plastic wrap; shape into a disk. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters, dipping cutters in flour before each use.

3. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges. Remove to wire rack; cool completely.

4. Combine confectioners' sugar, water, and if desired, almond extract in medium bowl; stir until smooth. (Icing should pour easily from spoon.) Divide icing into thirds; color one third blue, one third yellow and reserve one third white. Spoon over cooled cookies; sprinkle as desired with colored sugars.

*For best results, use only the stick form of margarine for baking, not spreads in stick or tub form.

All materials courtesy of: National Cattlemen's Beef Association on behalf of The Beef Checkoff and Wilton Industries, Inc.

Article by Homesteader.

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