A holiday feast for two

Christmas Tree and ReflectionThere would be only the two of us this year, but we were determined to hold the festival, and celebrate the holidays in style.

We set up a tiny festive tree and enjoyed the quiet beauty of lights inside contrasted against the snow outside. We hosted a family brunch upon the day, but were to be alone again by afternoon.

Our mission: to cook and savor a holiday feast, but scaled for the two of us. The posts that follow will give details of our small, but festive, dinner:

  • Roast Beef Tenderloin for two
  • One Potato Anna
  • Green Bean Casserole for two

Here’s how I pulled it off. Note that I was moving at a relaxed pace, listening to music, and sipping wine, making the entire cooking session very enjoyable. Note that our dessert was made well ahead of time, and featured lots and lots of chocolate.

  1. Prepare the One Potato Anna up to the final browning step. This may be done a day ahead of time, and the potato held, covered, in the refrigerator (or, as I did, at room temperature for an hour or so)
  2. Fry the onions for the green beans and hold them, uncovered, at room temperature, may be done up to a day ahead. Make at least twice as much as you think you’ll need, because everyone who passes by will grab a sample. Often. These onions are seriously wonderful.
  3. Prep the roast: tie it, salt it, let it stand at room temperature.
  4. Make the herb butter for the roast, roll it in a twist of waxed paper, and refrigerate.
  5. Prep and cook the green beans, shock them in ice water, drain them, and hold them in the refrigerator (may be done up to a day ahead)
  6. Get the roast in the oven to cook.
  7. Make the mushroom sauce for the beans (may be done up to a day ahead)
  8. Combine the beans and the mushroom sauce, top with the onions: get them ready to go in the oven.
  9. Have the potatoes on a baking sheet ready to go in the oven.
  10. When the roast is to temperature, pull it out. Raise the oven temperature to 425˚F. Put the potatoes and green bean casserole in the oven.
  11. Sear the roast on all sides, then let rest on a carving board. Add the herbed butter.
  12. Top off your glass of wine, and make sure the table is set!
  13. Carve beef. Pull beans and potatoes out of the oven.
  14. Serve – and savor a wonderful feast, scaled for two.



  1. catfromhell

    We were both married before. My husband is Ukrainian, so we thought rather than make families and children choose, we chose to have our family Christmas Feast on January 7th, This has been a blessing. It is often just the 2 of us on Christmas Day.
    This year we did a traditional British Christmas, with Roast Beef, Roast Potatoes, Au Jus, Yorkshire Pudding, Peas and Carrots and a Fruit Flan for Dessert.
    We cooked Prime Rib for Two – Rare/Medium Rare. Your Potatoes Anna sound heavenly, I have copied your recipe (I hope that’s OK) for the future.

    • Of course it’s okay to copy the recipe! I hope you cook it, love it, and make a new variation that’s just perfect for the two of you. I’d love to hear about any tweaks you make.

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I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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