Our Christmas celebrations were likely over by the time you started yours. Our family has met for many years on Christmas Eve, to exchange presents and have our dinner, so that our children can go back to their respective homes to get ready for the arrival of Santa Claus. This year, one of the in-laws requested that they have dinner on Christmas Eve, so that their grandchildren could be present before they go off to be with their mother for a week. That meant if we were to keep our Christmas celebrations on the same day, I had to prepare a meal for sixteen people, by 1pm. I overshot that mark a little - we sat down to eat at 1:50.
That cartoon above is fairly representative, except it was cats and children waiting by the oven door, and the meal was beef tenderloin instead of turkey. The crazed cook was me, though. (not crazy....LOL...but definitely crazed!) How I wish we had a much larger kitchen or that it had been possible to ban everyone from that room until after dinner. I had to check the tenderloin every 10-15 minutes, and opening the oven door with all those kids nearby can be scary, to say the least.
I had prepared make-ahead mashed potatoes on the 23rd, and I got up at 6:30 am on the 24th to make devilled eggs and saute mushrooms for the tenderloin sauce. My daughters and daughter-in-law were bringing vegetables and other additions, as well as desserts and snacks. We also had shrimp to start the meal - so it was a veritable feast - and a departure from our typical turkey with all the trimmings. The tenderloin was excellent (Costco) and the cook did a good job of getting it to rare and medium-rare, without going over the line to nuked (if I do say so myself)! I have to give perks to Renn for posting Paula Dean's recipe for tenderloin several weeks ago. I saved it and used that very simple method to cook mine, and you simply cannot go wrong with it! I can't find her post with that recipe, so I'm writing it for you:
one 4-5 pound beef tenderloin
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used low-sodium)
freshly ground black pepper
Allow the beef to stand at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the oven to 425* F. Place the tenderloin in a 13 by 9" glass baking pan and rub it with soy sauce, then rub with a generous amount of black pepper.
Roast the tenderloin for 45-50 minutes, using a meat thermometer. 125 degrees is rare, 135 degrees is medium rare and 140 degrees is medium.
Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest for fifteen minutes before slicing.
I used aluminum baking pans instead of glass, since that tenderloin was way too long for my 9x13 glass dish. I cut it in half before cooking and used 2 pans. Paula's recipe included the idea that you could buy a whole tenderloin when it was on sale and cut it in half to save for another meal. That would make it more economical, since it was $11.79 per pound at Costco, and $11.59 at Sam's.
Today was spent reclining, mostly, and fielding phone calls from family and friends. We are truly blessed. I hope that your celebrations were similarly excellent, in both the gathering of people and the feast!