Special Holiday Dinner Menu 

 Originally Written: November 26, 2012

By  Hanna Trafford

You can make this very special holiday dinner for any occasion – especially if you are looking for something just a little bit different!

Here is the menu:

  • Beef Bourguignon
  • Potatoes with Parsley
  • Watercress and Pear Salad
  • Cream Puffs with Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce

Beef Bourguignon

Beef cooked in red wine – one of old french favorites


  • 4 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-1/2 lbs. of boneless beef chuck roast, large pieces of fa trimmed and cut into 2 inch chunks, patted dry
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 6 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 3/4 inch slices
  • 3 cups of dry red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Roasted Mushrooms and Pearl onions


  1. in a 6-08 quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, cook bacon uncovered over medium low heat until browned. – 10-15 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoons, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
  3. Season beef pieces generously with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large bowl. dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess.
  5. Raise heat to medium and working in 2 batches, brown the beef in bacon fat on all sides, without crowding – about 10 minutes per batch.
  6. Transfer each batch to a bowl.
  7. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan and bring to boil
  8. Cook, stirring, to loosen browned bits, until liquid has reduced to a few tablespoons – 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring until slightly softened – about 3 minutes.
  10. Add tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute.
  11. Add carrots, meat with juices, wine, thyme and reserved bacon.
  12. Bring to a boil,
  13. Reduce heat. cover and simmer over low, stirring occasionally until meat is tender but not falling apart – 3-31/2 hours.
  14. Skim fat off the surface and discard.
  15. Stir in roasted mushrooms and pear onions, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Serve or refrigerate, covered up to overnight.

Roasted Mushroom and Pear Onions


  • 1-1/2 lbs. of small button mushrooms, stem trimmed – halved if they are too large)
  • 8 oz. thawed frozen pear onions
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms with onions and oil and season with salt and pepper
  3. Roasts until tender and browned, stirring halfway through – about 30 minutes.

Potatoes with Parsley

These potatoes will go great with any main course and are super easy to make!


  • 4 lbs. of small new potatoes
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley


  1. With a vegetable peeler, peel a stripe around each potato
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with 1 inch of salt water
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer until potatoes can be easily pierces with a tip of a sharp knife – 10-20 minutes
  4. Drain well, return to pot.
  5. Toss with butter and parsley and season generously with salt and pepper
  6. Serve immediately

Watercress and Pear Salad

Great combinations of greens, fruit and nuts that you can make anytime!


  • 3 tablespoons of white-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup of walnuts, broken into pieces
  • 3-4 bunches of watercress, trimmed
  • 1 head of frisee, core removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 red or yellow Bartlett pears, cored and sliced into 1/3 inch slices


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or jar. whisk or shake vinegar and oil until thick and combined; season with salt and pepper
  3. Place nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown – 7-10 minutes
  4. In a large bowl, combine watercress, frisee, pears and dressing – toss gently to coat
  5. Divide among plates and sprinkle with walnut pieces

Note: Just to make sure:

This is watercress:

And this is frisee:

Cream Puffs with Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce

This is definitely a WOW! dessert – and it is not difficult to make


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, cut into pieces plus more for baking sheets
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash
  • 2-3 pints of vanilla ice cream for serving
  • Hot Fudge Sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 425F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  2. Butter two large rimmed baking sheets.
  3. Combine butter, 1 cup of water and salt in a 2 quart heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until butter melts
  4. Reduce heat to medium
  5. Add flour, stirring with wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball – 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  6. Remove from heat and cool for 1 minute.
  7. With an electric mixer, beat in egg, little bit at a time, until completely incorporated – dough should look shiny and be soft enough to slowly fall off the spoon.
  8. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets (you should have 26-28) about 2 inches apart
  9. Using a pastry brush, lightly bri=ush puffs with egg wash (do not let it drip on the baking sheets).
  10. Bake, rotating the sheets between racks halfway through, until puffed and golden brown – about 25 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and turn oven off.
  12. With a toothpick, poke a hole in each puff.
  13. Return to oven for about 10 minutes – this will help the puffs to dry out
  14. When the puffs are cooled, halve each one horizontally with a serrated knife
  15. Working in batches to prevent the ice cream from melting, place a small scoop of ice cream in each bottom half,
  16. Replace tops and press gently
  17. Arrange puffs on one rimmed baking sheet, freeze until firm
  18. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 days
  19. Arrange filled puffs on a serving platter and drizzle with warm fudge sauce before serving – serve immediately

Hot Fudge Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of light corn syrup and 6 oz. of semisweet chocolate, broken or cut into small pieces
  2. Stir over medium-low heat until smooth – 405 minutes
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk in 3.4 cups of heavy cream until smooth
  5. Serve right away or let cool to room temperature before transferring the sauce into an airtight container
  6. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks
  7. To serve, warm over low heat or heat in a microwave.

Hope you will enjoy these Special Holiday Dinner menu recipes – please send me your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!





Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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