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Menu Suggestions

Alright foodies, I've been asked to cook a dinner for 12-14 folks next weekend. I need some menu advice. This is what I'm thinking so far:

Butternut Squash Soup
Spinach salad with cranberry's, nuts, cheese
Beef tenderloin
(help me)
1-2 dessert items

I need help picking 1-2 tasty side items for this meal, to go with the beef tenderloin.

Any help?

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  1. yum, what about a roasted potatoes, then toss in some fresh chives and crumbled blue cheese at the end before serving? Or these pioneer woman's Crash Potatoes are excellent (and who doesn't love steak and potatoes)?:

    and for a vegie, nice asparagus bundles or green bean (just saw this recently), just blanch and wrap in bacon, then roast. Or wrap in a strip of puff pastry.

    Or another easy one is a savory veg strudel - great presentation too - although I would keep it light, many could be too heavy for your menu.

    1. If it were me, I'd definitely include some kind of potato side - potatoes au gratin, mashed potatoes, braised potatoes & mushrooms, even baked potatoes with all the toppings available to "load" them (for those who care to)...whatever best complements your beef tenderloin preparation.

      You've already got good veggies in this meal, thanks to the soup AND salad. You could probably skip either the soup or the salad (not necessary to do both - and if you skipped the salad you could do a creamed spinach side - great with steak and potatoes!) but if you want to keep both of those, I'd go a bit lighter on your sides...maybe just simple sauteed carrots or green beans (though orange and green veggies are already covered...hmmm..). If I were a guest, I wouldn't even mind having soup, salad, then beef and potato with no additional veggie side.

      1. I generally make theme meals and I like to juxtapose seasons with themes to keep people intrigued. How about Caribbean in Fall?

        Butternut Squash soup turns into West Indies Squash Soup

        Add a little some brown sugar, ginger, hot peppers, cinnamon, etc.

        Caribbean Spinach salad

        Add Mango or Pineapple, raisins, red onions, Cotija etc, served with a light vinaigrette or a cooked dressing.

        Tenderloin, simply grill over mesquite


        Sautéed Sweet Potato, black beans seasoned with allspice, cinnamon and a little jerk seasoning.

        Place the grilled tenderloin in the middle of a 9-10” round, spoon sweet potato/black beans around steak from the 8 to 4 positions top with chopped cilantro. From top of steak to the 5-7 sauce paint several lines of a chimichurri sauce.

        You get fall colors in a festive food creation.


        Grilled Pineapple with coconut Carmel sauce
        Key lime pie

        1. Thanks for the input!

          lexpatti - I had thought about a potato dish too...I think roasted red potatoes with rosemary, garlic, olive oil, S&P might be great
          cookie44 - potatoes au gratin sounds good too...a nice rich dish

          I think I may just do a potato side...and RetiredChef, I love Caribbean food and personally would love your menu, but I'm cooking for a mixed audience of fairly conservative eaters who wouldn't know what to do with all the wonderful food you described!

          2 Replies
          1. re: joshlane4

            What about just some roasted asparagus if you're roasting potatoes anyway? I rinse and trim the asparagus, then lay them in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast them at 400 - 450 for 8-10 minutes till crisp-tender. You could put them in the oven after you take the tenderloin out to rest.

            1. re: joshlane4

              Depending on the cheese in your salad... how about a Gorgonzola potato gratin? Very easy, just add some crumbled gorgonzola to your white sauce. Can get the recipe if you're interested.

              And if you consider dropping the soup, just roast the squash in cubes, then add to your spinach salad with feta, and dress with a mustard balsamic dressing. Very yummy.

              Roasted or sauteed brussels sprouts are also a nice addition to the menu.

            2. My sister made these balsamic-glazed sweet and sour cipollini and they were fantastic. I still think about them and it was a year ago that I ate them!


              1. One of my favorite dishes combines veggie & potato. I cut red potatoes in cubes (or whole if tiny) & spread out in a 9 X 13 pyrex dish, add 2 small jars of cara mia marinated artichoke hearts along with the marinade (this is the only brand I like), then add about 10-20 (your call) whole peeled garlic cloves. Toss together with salt, pepper & either a little cayenne or red pepper flakes (sometimes it needs a little olive oil too). Cover with foil & bake for about 30 minutes, uncover & continue roasting until potatoes & garlic are brown & tender.

                1. twice baked potatoes

                  Dessert from bakery
                  something :fall" ish

                  or baked pears

                  1. beef wellington is really easy with frozen pastry. make a duxelle -- diced mushrooms and shallots reduced with butter and a bit of sherry for the most part --and use in lieu of pate... cut some simple leaves and a stem to garland across the top, brush with egg wash, back in the oven for just a bit. Carve at the head of the table and pass plates. It's really high in WOW! factor!

                    Simple steamed whole fresh green beans drizzled with little sesame oil topped with toasted cashews! Sherried Brussels sprouts with slivered almonds. Roasted beets with butter, balsamic vinegar and some zest. Ginger carrots with a hint of cumin. Roasted red potatoes -- smallish ones--in beef marrow!!! Fried apples. Vary your colors. Vary your nuts too....

                    1. Second the idea for roasted garlic potatoes.
                      I'd also suggest a light scalloped potato.

                      Sauteed mushrooms and onions with Marsala would be a nice complement to the meat.

                      If you don't want to do potatoes (meat and potatoes too trite...?), you could also do some orzo or some polenta...

                      For dessert, maybe some tarte tatin and/or flourless chocolate tartlets. Or even after such an intense meal, some sorbettos and crisp tuile cookies, along with a cheese plate and dessert wine?