Make Christmas memorable—without the fuss

Before I was old enough to cook, my sister Katie and I would perch on stools in the kitchen to help our mom brainstorm menus for our family's holiday feasts. Once we gained a little experience in the kitchen (and eventually both started working for EatingWell) we were invited to help out. Christmas took on a whole new meaning-it became all about trying out new recipes and cooking together in the kitchen. After all, what's the fun in cooking the same thing every year? Plus, our team effort on the meal makes the process relaxing and fun.

This stress-free Christmas menu (complete with a step-by-step planner) is full of delicious, healthy dishes that are easy to prepare so there is plenty of time to enjoy friends and family.

Starter: Red & White Salad
Main dish: Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin (recipe below)
Side dish: Vermont Cheddar Mashed Yukon Golds
Side dish: Garlicky Green Beans
Dessert: Maple Walnut Cake

Get the step-by-step planner for this menu.

Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 pounds trimmed beef tenderloin, preferably center-cut (see Note, below)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Combine horseradish, oil and mustard in a small bowl. Rub tenderloin with salt and pepper; coat with the horseradish mixture. Tie with kitchen string in 3 places. Transfer to a small roasting pan.
3. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 140°F for medium-rare, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the string. Slice and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 220 calories; 11 g fat (5 g sat, 5 g mono); 76 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 1 g fiber; 334 mg sodium; 364 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Selenium (41% daily value), Zinc (31% dv).

Note: You'll need 2 pounds of trimmed tenderloin for this recipe. Ask your butcher to remove the extra fat, silver skin and the chain (a lumpy, fat-covered piece of meat that runs along the tenderloin). If you buy untrimmed tenderloin, start with about 2 1/2 pounds, then use a sharp knife to trim the silver skin, fat and chain.

By Jessie Price

EatingWell food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.

Related Links from EatingWell: