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Wine-Inspired Christmas Dinner

Wine-Inspired Christmas Dinner

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Still wondering what to serve for Christmas dinner?  This wine-inspired menu is perfect…simple, delicious and your oven does most of the work!

Prep what you can in advance and once the  tenderloin and veggies are in the oven, you can relax and visit with family and friends until dinnertime!   Finish the salad while the tenderloin rests … serve and enjoy!

Recipes serve 10, but if you have a smaller crowd, make the full recipe for delicious second-acts!  The tenderloin is delicious chilled on crusty rolls, the cabernet roasted veggies are excellent in roast vegetable soup!

Baby Greens with Herbed Goat Cheese Rounds and Pinot-Balsamic Drizzle

Yield: Serves 10

Prepare the dressing and cheese discs a day in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to finish the salad.


  • 5 tablespoons fresh thyme -- leaves
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary -- leaves
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 5/8 cup hazelnuts -- toasted and finely chopped
  • 10 ounces goat cheese (log form)
  • 15 cups mixed baby greens
  • ½ cup Pinot Noir wine
  • ½ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a very good, fruity, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil!)
  • grey salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 slices toasted baguette rounds (optional)


Finely chop thyme, rosemary and parsley and place in shallow bowl.

Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat, add hazelnuts and turn off heat. While the pan is still hot, gently roll the hazelnuts around the pan to lightly toast. Allow to cool and then finely chop. Add chopped hazelnuts to chopped herbs and stir to combine.

Divide goat cheese log into disks (for a 4 ounce log, divide into 8 disks -- unflavored dental floss works wonders for this task!).

Press each disk in herb-hazelnut mixture to coat, covering both sides and edges. Place herbed goat cheese rounds on a plate and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes. (these can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated until ready to use -- up to 24 hours )

To make Pinot-Balsamic drizzle, place the Pinot Noir wine and Balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. Immediately remove from the heat in order not to over-reduce the liquid.

Place greens in a salad bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, add salt and pepper and toss. Evenly divide greens among serving plates (approximately 1 1/2 cups per serving).

Spray a small, nonstick frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat add the chilled goat cheese rounds and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side until light brown and the cheese begins to soften.

Place two goat cheese rounds on top of baby greens. Drizzle with the Pinot-Balsamic reduction. Add additional grey salt and freshly ground pepper if desired, and serve with toasted baguette rounds.

Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Zinfandel and Morel Cream Sauce

Yield: Serves 10

A delicious main course for your holiday dinner. If serving less than 10, make the full recipe so you have left-overs...this roasted tenderloin is delicious served on small crusty rolls slathered with horseradish sauce!


  • 2 heads garlic -- (roasted)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ounce dried morel mushrooms (typically come in .35oz. packages…so would need three packages)
  • 2 cups Zinfandel
  • 4 ½ to 5 pounds beef tenderloin -- whole, trimmed
  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup half and half (can use regular or low fat half and half, but not non-fat)


Roast the garlic by cutting off the tops to expose the cloves, placing in a small roasting pan coated with non-stick cooking spray, drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cover and roast at 350 degrees or until garlic is golden brown and soft. Let cool and squeeze out the cloves, discarding the papery skin. (this can be done ahead of time and the roasted garlic cloves kept in the refrigerator or freezer)

Meanwhile, place dried morels in a glass bowl. Cover with Zinfandel and let soak for 30 minutes. Strain with a coffee filter and reserve liquid. Rinse mushrooms to remove any grit, drain on paper towels and slice into 1/2-inch pieces.

To prepare the tenderloin, place roasted garlic cloves into a small bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt. Smash to make a paste. Spread the paste over the whole tenderloin and then sprinkle with the black pepper to coat.

Let beef rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to take chill off the meat and let the flavors begin to penetrate.

Place tenderloin in a roasting pan coated with non-stick cooking spray and roast uncovered at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the tenderloin reaches 125 degrees internal temperature at its thickest portion. Remove from oven, place on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

While the tenderloin rests, place the roasting pan on stove over medium-high heat. Add reserved Zinfandel, the beef stock and the morels. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half and mushrooms are tender. Stir in the butter and cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the half and half to combine. When cream has fully incorporated and warmed through, pour into a sauce dish.

To serve, slice the tenderloin and top with the Zinfandel and Morel Cream Sauce

Oven-Roasted Cabernet Glazed Winter Vegetables

Yield: Serves 10

Amazingly simple and utterly delicious! Double the recipe so you can use leftovers in roast vegetable soup!


  • 1 ¼ bunches carrots (I like to use the kind with the green tops still attached)
  • 5 each parsnips
  • 1 ¼ each red onion
  • 1 ¼ pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 ¼ bulb fennel
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ½ sprigs fresh thyme -- leaves removed
  • 1/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • kosher salt -- to taste
  • black pepper -- to taste


Cut green tops off of carrots, leaving approximately 1/4-1/2 inch of green stems, and peel. If small in diameter, leave whole. If large, slice in half lengthwise.

Peel Parsnips and slice crosswise into 1 inch rounds.

Peel red onion and cut into wedges.

Clean baby Yukon Golds and cut in half.

Trim fronds and root end off of fennel and cut into wedges.

Place vegetables into a roasting pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Pour Cabernet over vegetables and roast at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender, nicely toasted and the wine has reduced to a thick glaze.

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