Three Stressful Holiday Events, Five Great Recipes, Zero Worries

   Let's face it, this time of year there is a lot going on. And a lot of the "goings on" revolve around social situations and, in some cases, social obligations. In the Mad Men era there might have been a significant other at home to keep your social calendar, entertain friends and business associates, or provide that impressive center-of-the-table dish for family gatherings.

   But things are a little different now. OK, you may have a significant other who has the talent to whip up a holiday gathering and take care of all the details, but chances are that person is climbing the career ladder too, and may be finalizing budget projections instead of poring over cookbooks and assembling a complicated menu. The bottom line is, you need to have a few impressive holiday go-to's that will get you through all kinds of situations--family dinner at your place, a festive buffet for clients, holiday potluck at the office, even something special that will appeal to kids.

   So here you go--three scenarios, do-able solutions, and you as the one who got it all together:

Family is coming to your house--If it's not your family, it's understandable the stress level could be on the high side. An easy--and impressive--option for the holidays is a roast. Oven roasting beef takes just three simple steps:

  1. Choose your cut--some of the best include Strip Roast, Ribeye Roast, and Tenderloin Roast.
  2. Prepare your beef--the roast should go straight from your refrigerator to a rack in a shallow roasting pan (for a Rib Roast, the ribs form a natural rack). Heat your oven to the temperature specified in the recipe, season the roast, and insert an oven-proof thermometer in the thickest part of the roast, avoiding fat or bone.
  3. Cook your beef--once you've put it in to roast, you just leave it until it's done! Roast according to recipe guidelines. Once the roast is done, transfer to a cutting board and tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

Try this Pistachio-Crusted Beef Ribeye Roast with Holiday Wine Sauce, or the equally-impressive Black Tie Beef Roast with Chocolate-Port Sauce and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Relatives impressed; mission accomplished.

Office potluck--Cooking may not be considered an integral part of your skill set for your career, but it certainly can't hurt to be seen as one who knows how to take on a challenge and excel with both creativity and style. Appetizers and small bites are perfect for office gatherings. Here are two that can get you noticed when you bring them to the table. Mini Meatball Appetizers with Apricot Dipping Sauce can be kept warm in a slow-cooker. For something with a bit of a kick, how about these Buffalo-Style Beef Bites? Definitely more memorable than a plate of cheese and an assortment of crackers!

Kids at the table--It doesn't hurt to raise your creativity stock a few points where kids are concerned. Impressing your younger guests has the added benefit of getting them interested in, and appreciating, food. These Hot Beef Sundaes are fun, tasty and --most importantly--easy.

   Want to stretch your cooking creativity even further? BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and The Beef Factor are great sources for recipes, cooking tips, nutrition information and ideas. Have a question? The California Beef Council would love to hear from you!

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The California Beef Council was established in 1954 to serve as the promotion, research and education arm of California's beef producers, and is mandated by the California Department of Food and Agricultural Code.

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Quick facts

Oven roasting beef is easier than you might think.
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It doesn't hurt to have a creative go-to for the office holiday potluck
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