A Holiday Dinner for Friends or Family

This menu is for a more intimate gathering of friends and family. The crowd won't be large and it won't be a boisterous evening, but rather a quiet time of visiting and catching up. Play your favorite holiday music in the background and light pretty candles at the table. Don't make it too formal, but more of a comfortable atmosphere. By Brenda Hyde

Appetizer:Herbed Dipping Oil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 large clove garlic cut in thin lengthwise slices
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Crusty French or Italian Bread

Combine all ingredients in a jar and close lid. Shake well. When ready to serve, shake again and pour onto saucers. Sprinkle with coarsely grated Parmesan before serving. Use as a dip for crusty bread slices or torn pieces.

Savory Roast Beef
4 pound sirloin tip roast
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350�. In small bowl, combine garlic, onion powder, pepper, basil, and thyme. Trim fat from meat. Rub herbs into surface of the roast. Place meat, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until meat thermometer registers 135� for rare, 155� for medium, or 165� for well done. Allow meat to stand 20 minutes before carving.

Rosemary Potatoes
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
16 new potatoes

Cut the potatoes into halves or quarters depending on how large they are and place in an ovenproof casserole dish. Combine the other ingredient and pour over potatoes. Shake back and forth to coat all of the potatoes. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes until tender. Note: If you don't have fresh rosemary you may use 2 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary.

Green Bean Salad with Walnuts
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds green beans
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Toast walnuts in a shallow pan at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted; set aside. Combine oil, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt, and pepper; cover and chill. Cut green beans into thirds, and arrange in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 15 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender. You can also microwave in a small amount of water for about the same length of time in a covered microwave safe dish. Immediately plunge green beans into cold water to stop cooking process; drain and pat dry. Combine walnuts, beans, onion, and cheese in a large bowl; toss well. Chill. Pour oil mixture over beans and walnuts 1 hour before serving and toss gently.

Brownie Carmel Walnut Pie
1 9 inch unbaked pastry shell
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
20 caramels, unwrapped
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1 6 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle nuts into pie shell. In small saucepan, over low heat, melt caramels with 2/3 cup condensed milk. Spoon over walnuts. In bowl, combine egg, margarine and remaining milk; mix well. Stir in melted chips. Pour mixture over caramel layer. Bake 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool. Serve warm or chilled. Refrigerate leftovers.

Author, Brenda Hyde is a wife and mom to three who lives in the winter wonderland of Michigan. She is a freelance writer and editor of OldFashionedLiving.com. Reprinted by Permission from www.oldfashionedliving.com.

For more information, contact me at marilyn@urbanhomemaker.com or call 1-800-552-7323. Sign up for our complimentary bimonthly newsletter here.