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Holiday dinner for 20: Prime rib alternative

Turns out we're having quite a crowd for our pre-Christmas family get together. I wanted the meal to be holiday-ish and built the menu around my husband's desire to cook prime rib. Well, that is out of our price range now. We don't want to cook a turkey or ham. I'm also trying to make ahead as much as possible so that is the reason for my other choices. Any suggestions for an entree to go with what I have so far that won't break the bank? Either a less expensive cut of beef or...?

Greens/citrus/avocado salad
Squash soup
Some time of potato dish-- probably a gratin of some kind
Chocolate mousse and pumpkin cheesecake

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  1. How about pot roast or a brisket or slow cooked pork butt in a crock pot and make pulled pork sandwiches. Or totally change it up and do lasagne or a pasta buffet w/ different sauces and pastas w/salad, garlic bread etc.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sherriberry

      Hi Sherri, thanks for your ideas. Pulled pork sandwiches are more casual than I had planned. I would never have thought of a brisket this time of year-- interesting idea!

    2. Large end rib roast and small end rib roast should be on sale the week before Christmas; they were last year. Or is the party before December 15?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cathy

        Hi Cathy,

        The party is the 17th, so I will be on the lookout for sales. I'm liking the idea of a roast partly because it is low maintenance. I hate it when I end up spending the whole night in the kitchen.

      2. How about a crown roast of pork? Has that special occasion vibe and certainly better priced than the prime rib....and to me honest I'd prefer it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          Escondido,

          I have never had crown roast of pork before but have come across recipes twice in the last couple of weeks. I just googled and saw some beautiful photos and found some posts that indicate very reasonable cost. Don't know that I want to make stuffing, but could always put something else decorative in the middle.

          1. re: mountuhngirl

            You can roast it plain and then fill it with something after the fact--roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon--it becomes a serving vessel too.

        2. I am a huge lover of prime rib but a rib roast for 20 would be out of my price range as well.

          I would suggest a whole eye roast using Cooks Country Roast Beef dinner recipe. Have made it plenty of times with excellent results.

          Here is a link for the recipe. Not a fan of the gravy recipe but LOVE the roast beef recipe:

          http://mybizzykitchen.com/2009/01/19/...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sydneyeats

            Sydney, Thanks for that recipe. Looks like your roast turned out great. To me that kind of roast looks special-- holiday worthy and also very easy. Definitely a possibility.

            1. re: mountuhngirl

              mountuhngirl: One recipe note.....rinse the salt off and pat dry prior to searing the meat.

              Have you thought about making twice baked potatoes for your potato dish? Easy to make and can be made ahead of time.

              And the blog for the recipe isn't mine :( Cooks Country won't let you link their recipes so I found this on a blog.

          2. The rest of your menu looks to me like it would go with just about any meat, so don't be afraid to do something other than beef. If you have a Sam's or Costco membership, they often have whole beef tenderloins on sale for $8-9 a pound, sometimes even less. If you can find one of those sales, you could do one of those for probably quite a bit less money than prime rib. There's no waste on a tenderloin, and if you slice it thinly it can go a long way. Alternately, a whole roasted pork loin (usually no more than $3 per pound) can be delicious and impressive - or you could make porchetta. Leg of lamb would be nice too, although I rarely see it on sale around Xmas (usually the lamb sales are around Easter). Individual Cornish game hens are festive and fun, but for 20 they might be expensive.

            7 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima

                I do have Costco, but even the tenderloin is a bit steep for us. I love making cornish game hens but not sure I want to try doing so many in the oven-- a bit daunting. The pork loin sounds like a good option. I have never heard of porchetta so thanks for introducing me to a new food!

                1. re: mountuhngirl

                  I've been toying with the idea of a porchetta from Costco but it appears to be a mail order item and I could hardly take it back if we didn't like it at Christmas. We have had good luck with the crown roast of pork- you can have as many ribs as needed to feed your crowd, it doesn't break the bank and isn't easily ruined if you over cook it a tad. We got one last year from a small chain of meat stores called The Meat House.

                  1. re: Berheenia

                    You can return any costco.com item to any Costco store (it does not have to be mailed back).

                    I got a porchetta just after Easter 2010 and it was wonderful. If for some reason it was inedible, then you could return it; I seriously doubt that would happen.

                    1. re: Cathy

                      Costco has a very liberal return policy. It's just another reason to love the place!

                2. re: biondanonima

                  In keeping with the Costco idea....you could do salmon. Their prices are great; quality is quite good.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Right now at Costco, Whole Boneless Rib Eyes in the cryo are less than $8 a pound. Tenderloins are about $12 per pound. Both Choice. You could buy the Rib Eye now, age it in your fridge for a week or so, carve off a few steaks and still have enough left for a nice Rib Roast (Prime Rib). They average about 18 pounds. I have two aging in my fridge right now.

                    This time of year they have the bone-in Rib Roasts as well, usually, and that would be even less. When I saw them last week they were about $6.50/lb.

                    Actual "Prime" grade boneless Rib Eyes are running about $15/lb at Costco this week. But if you have a Costco Business Center near you (west coast) and you are willing to step down to Select instead of Choice, they're only about $4.50/lb.

                    So maybe it isn't so expensive after all.