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Holiday Mains That Simplify Your Life

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Whether you’re pressed for time or just want to focus your attention on a showstopping dessert, these simple holiday main dishes come together easily, yet still feel worthy of a special-occasion dinner.

We get it. It’s hard to decide between beef tenderloin, rack of lamb, roast chicken, salmon, or turkey, to name just a few options. Or, perhaps you’d rather go for a vegetarian entree that is still a showstopper. The key is to calculate how many people you’re feeding, how much time you want to spend cooking it, and how much money you want to spend. Once you’ve figured all of that, check out these easy main courses for you to wow your guests and family. And, if these don’t fit the bill, here are some more options to choose from:

Holiday Main Courses

Vegetarian Holiday Main Courses

Kosher Holiday Entrees

Easy Holiday Appetizers

Quick & Easy Holiday First Courses

Simple Holiday Side Dishes

Fast Holiday Desserts

  • Recipe

    Mustard-and-Herb-Butter-Rubbed Prime Rib

    The genius "reverse-sear" method lets you roast the meat hours ahead of the final sear, so you can pull the rest of the meal together without worrying about when the meat will be done. Plus, you can do the final sear either in the oven or on the stovetop, depending on what's going on with the rest of the menu.
  • Recipe

    Maple-Brined Turkey Breast with Mushroom Gravy

    Brining brings out the best in turkey, making it juicy and adding savory flavor; be sure to allow enough time (at least 4 hours) to brine the breast. The mushroom gravy is rich, thick, and fragrant with fresh tarragon, and it can be made completely ahead.
  • Recipe

    Veal Chops with Pears and Green Peppercorn Sauce

    Classic green peppercorn sauce is treated to a double dose of fruitiness from fresh Forelle pears and a hit of pear brandy. Don’t be tempted to opt for boned veal chops: the bones help keep the meat moist and add flavor.
  • Recipe

    Beef Tenderloin with Roquefort and Pecan Butter

    These tender steaks, topped with a tangy blue cheese and toasted nut butter, make for a main course that’s ready in minutes but feels like you fussed.
  • Recipe

    Pork Loin with Maple-Mustard Crust

    To keep things simple, this recipe skips a stovetop sear and instead cooks the pork from start to finish in the oven. Starting the roast on high heat gives the meat (and its maple-mustard glaze) a nice, browned crust.
  • Recipe

    Pesto-Crusted Racks of Lamb

    The four-step method for roasting these lamb racks—a quick sear for color and flavor, a brief rest so the meat can relax, a coating of bright, lemony parsley pesto and cheesy breadcrumbs, and then a roast in a hot oven—yields lamb that’s tender, tasty, juicy, and beautiful, to boot.
  • Recipe

    Fennel & Rosemary Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce

    Nothing says special occasion like beef tenderloin, but this recipe could be the easiest beef tenderloin you ever make. It requires minimal amount of time and toil to assemble and season, and then the oven concentrates the flavors.
  • Recipe

    Baked Ham with Cherry-Pomegranate Glaze

    There's a very simple way to make a plain baked ham even better: brush it with a sweet-and-tart glaze while it's heating, and then whisk together a quick snappy sauce using the pan juices.
  • Recipe

    Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Pesto & Goat Cheese

    Just the right touch of exotic and special, but simple and flavorful, this dish will impress your guests.
  • Recipe

    Spice-Crusted Salmon

    Serve this salmon with sautéed sugar snap peas and a wedge of lemon. Spice-Crusted Salmon
  • Recipe

    Pot-Roasted Mediterranean Chicken

    Part of this dish’s bright flavor comes from preserved lemons, which are fresh lemons that have been cured in salt. We like to serve this with couscous mixed with garlic and parsley.
  • Recipe

    Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Brown-Butter Pecans

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect fall pasta dish. For a sweet, nutty flavor, roast the Brussels sprouts until they’re just this side of charred.
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