Holiday Main Course Recipes

Fresh Festive Main Dishes

Sam the Cooking Guy’s Prime Rib Roast and Herb Salmon

 Sam the Cooking Guy Recipe of Prime Rib

Prime Rib

A prime rib is not just delicious, but it's also really simple. This is my mom's recipe and for me it’s the quintessential roast. A handful of ingredients and a couple steps and you're there. A good instant read thermometer will help you nail the doneness. And don't skip the mustard or anchovy paste – it won’t taste like mustard or anchovies, but it will taste delicious.

Serves: 6 


  • One 4-5 pound prime rib, preferably bone in
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons anchovy paste


  1. Take the roast out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking. Pat dry with paper towel and let sit.
  2. Preheat oven to 450
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine garlic, mustard and anchovy paste - mix well to combine and rub over the entire roast well.
  5. Put the roast into the oven for 20 minutes, then turn down heat to 325 degrees.
  6. Cook approx. 12-15 minutes per pound until meat reaches your desired temperature
  7. For medium rare, look for a thermometer to read 125 degrees in the center of the roast - 130 for medium.
  8. Once you hit your temp, take roast out of the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving - it will rise an additional 5 degrees while it rests.

Slow Roasted Herb Salmon

The winter months often bring slightly heavier foods – and don’t get me wrong, I love them. But it’s nice to have a somewhat lighter (though no less delicious) item at the table, plus you’ll be the host every non-meat eater will remember.

Serves: 6 to 8


  • 1 whole side of salmon, about 3 pounds – skin on or off, doesn’t really matter
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Kraft Real Mayo
  • 1-2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1/3 cup finely diced green onions, white & light green parts only
  • 1/3 cup curly parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped


  1. Take salmon out of fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 250° and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
  3. Put salmon on foil or parchment and brush on mayo, then the sriracha - season with salt & pepper.
  4. Combine green onion, parsley & dill in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  5. Top salmon evenly with herb mixture and bake 30 minutes, or until 125 degrees.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Sam the Cooking Guy Recipe of Slow Roasted Herb Salmon

Chef Pyet DeSpain's Poblano and Cotija Cheese Tamales

Pyet DeSpain Recipe of Poblano and Cotija Cheese Tamales with Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

Poblano and Cotija Cheese Tamales with Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

One of my favorite food memories as a child was the day my grandmother finally let me join in on the tamale making during a family gathering for the holiday. For me this was a big deal! It was the moment i felt she could trust me and depend on my help in the kitchen. One Christmas eve all the aunts and older cousins lined up all the ingredients for the tamales, there was a big pot waiting to be filled with tamales. It looked something like an assemble work line, each person was assigned to a task, either spreading the masa on the corn husk, filling it with a scoop of meat filling then passing it over to the next person to fold the tamale like a present then placing it stratigically in the big pot. The tamales would steam for hours before removing them from the pot. The next morning on christmas day we would reheat the tamales unwrapping them like the gift they are. We would make serveral dozens for the whole family to share and have left overs to take home. This Poblano & Corn Tamale recipe is by far one of the best i've made. It's easy to adjust the recipe to make it vegetarian friendly. It's a nolstalgic dish and nothing taste better than nostalgia, bringing you back to those speacial memories.

Makes 3 dozen tamales


Masa Dough:

  • 1 1/3 cups lard or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 pounds fresh masa (not “masa preparada"" which already includes lard and flavorings)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 bag soaked corn husks

Yield: filling for about 3 dozen tamales

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 8 fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or, if frozen, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leave
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups crumbled Cotija cheese
  • Creamy tomatillo sauce, for serving (recipe follows)

Avocado Tomatillo Sauce:

  • 6 tomatillos roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado pitted, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 limes juiced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup white onion, quartered
  • ¼ of a Jalapeno (1 Tablespoon) or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • kosher salt to taste



  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the lard or butter, salt, and baking powder; whip on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add the fresh masa, alternating with 2 cups of broth. Beat until well mixed. (Depending on the capacity of your mixer, you may need to do this in two batches.)
  2. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and whip until masa resembles the consistency of soft yet workable dough, about 3 minutes. If the dough is too firm, add more broth, 1/4 cup at a time, until the correct consistency is attained.
  3. To test tamale dough, drop approximately 1/2 teaspoon dough into a cup of cold water. If the masa floats, it is ready to shape into tamales. If it sinks, continue whipping for another minute. Repeat this "float test" until the sample masa dough floats.
  4. Soak corn husks in warm water for an hour before using, rinse well with running water to take off any dust or corn husk fibers. To keep corn husks pliable and easy to work with, keep in water while filling tamales. Place a handful of wet corn husks in a colander to drain before using.


  1. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add oil. When oil is shimmering, add onions and cook until soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the roasted poblano chiles, corn, oregano, and chipotle chile powder; stir well to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to cool. Fold in the cheese.
  3. Place the wide end of the husk on the palm of your hand, narrow end is at the top. Starting at the middle of the husk spread 2 tablespoons of the masa with the back of a spoon in a rectangle or oval shape, using a downward motion towards the wide-bottom edge. Do not spread the masa to the ends; leave about a 2-inch border on the left and right sides of the husk.
  4. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of your filling down the center of the masa. Fold both sides to the center; finish off by bringing the pointed end of the husk toward the filled end. Make sure it’s a snug closure so the tamale will not open during steaming. Secure by tying a thin strip of corn husk around the tamal. This will keep the tamal from unwrapping during the steaming process, especially if the husk is too thick and will not stay folded.
  5. To cook the tamales: Add a steamer basket or a rack to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Pour in enough water to reach just below the basket or rack. Arrange wrapped tamales, facing up, in the basket. Secure the lid and select 'pressure' setting on High; set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, manually release the pressure (quick release) and unlock the lid.
  6. To serve: Remove tamales from husks, spoon sauce over to coat, and serve immediately.

Avocado Tomatillo Sauce:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and mix until well blended. Season to taste.
  2. Refrigerate for 3-5 days

Butternut Squash, Onion & Apple Tart

This butternut squash, caramelized onion and apple tart is a perfect vegetarian main dish for the holidays. The herbed crust compliments the roasted veggies and cranberries add a hint of sweetness to the dish.

Serves: 6 to 8



  • 1/2 cup salted cold butter, diced into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water


  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced into half moon rounds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided (vegan can be substituted)
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (goat cheese or vegan feta can be substituted)
  • fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add the diced butter, flour, salt and fresh herbs to a food processor. Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until the dough comes together.
  2. Press the dough into a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom.
  3. Refrigerate the dough until its time to fill and bake.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the butternut squash slices onto a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil on both sides and season with gound cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  5. Roast the squash until tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet and add the sliced onions. Cook the onions over medium-low heat until caramelized and jammy, about 30 minutes, stirring often.
  7. To assemble the tart place the caramelized onions in the bottom of the tart pan. Layer the butternut squash slices with the apple slices in an overlapping pattern in the tart pan. Add dried cranberries, feta cheese, fresh thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Dot the top with cubes of butter to help soften the apples and give gorgeous color to the tart.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees until the crust is baked and the top is slightly golden.
  10. Slice the tart and serve hot or warm.

Eva Fry Recipe of Butternut Squash, Onion & Apple Tart