Nothing Says Holiday Cheer Like A Great Meal

Connestee Falls Cookbook Cover Art

CONNESTEE COOKS! is a cookbook compiled of classic recipes from the myriad of chefs in residence at Connestee Falls. The book covers a wide range of meals, styles and ingredients. The culinary diversity is shared in recipes from the book posted regularly here on the Blog.

Baked Steak Recipe connestee falls brevard nc

One of the best ways to warm up a cold winter holiday season is a delicious dinner enjoyed with close family and friends. Even better when you change up the typical turkey and dressing fare with a menu from our Western North Carolina Connestee Cooks.

We have selected four recipes that are sure to warm their hearts, fill their bellies and sooth their souls.



Dorothy Moreau sets off the menu with a cheese spread so easy you’ll feel a little warmer just reading the recipe.


  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ tsp. dried basil
  • 2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp. dried dill weed softened
  • ¼ tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • tsp. dried thyme softened
  • ⅓ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Yields about 3 cups.
Add your favorite crackers and/or breads, open a well-paired bottle of wine, and watch as they gather ‘round.

Next, an outstanding steak won’t just keep everyone warm and full the whole way home… your guests will be talking about Judi Bernson’s “Greatest Baked Steak” well into 2017.

.GREATEST BAKED STEAK (This steak is good hot or cold)

  • 3 lb. round or London Broil or 4 ½ lb. sirloin steak (1 ½ to 2 inches thick)
  • 1Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. powdered thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ lb. sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

In an ovenproof skillet, large enough to hold steak, heat enough vegetable oil to fill the bottom. When oil is very hot, brown meat (meat should be thoroughly wiped dry) well on both sides. Pour off oil. Spread 1 tablespoon butter over steak. Sprinkle with thyme and salt. Place garlic cloves around meat. Bake steak in skillet for 15 minutes at 350° for medium rare. Remove steak and keep warm. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat and sauté mushrooms for 1 minute. Mash garlic cloves and add wine. Boil until liquid is reduced by about ⅓. Remove from heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon butter.

To serve hot, slice steak, arrange on platter and either pour sauce over or pass it separately. To serve cold, slice steak, place on foil or in a small baking dish. Pour sauce over meat, cover tightly and chill. If serving steak cold, it is a good idea to use diet margarine on the steak and in the sauce, so that there will be very little congealed fat on top. I have found that my kids like the sauce so much, that I double the mushrooms, wine and butter. Also, in case you are having company, make the whole deal ahead, store in refrigerator and pop into oven to just warm or put prepared steak on hot grill to heat and “char” a bit. Warm the sauce, drizzle over sliced steak. Heaven! Bake longer for medium or well done. More garlic may be used (we use 6 to 8 cloves).

Offering up a warm and savory side, Marty Bowsky brings a batch of favorite flavors together in a delicious one pan rice and veggie dish.

RISI E BISI (Rice and Peas)

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 ½ cup uncooked rice
  • 3 ½ cup hot chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cup peas, partially cooked if frozen
  • 2 oz. Prosciutto, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in large saucepan; add onions and sauté. Add rice; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and mixture is creamy. Add peas, seasonings, ham and ½ of Parmesan. Stir. Transfer to serving dish and top with remaining cheese. Serves approximately 8.

Top off the meal with a sweet, light, and refreshing taste of Elise Burnett’s delicious Citrus Poppy Seed Bundt Cake.


  • 1 ⅓ cup orange juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1(18.25 oz.) box lemon cake mix
  • ½ cup Wesson oil
  • 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • Zest from an orange and lemon or ½ Tbsp. dried zest


    • 2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    • 2 to 3 Tbsp. orange juice
    • Zest from an orange and lemon

Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Spray Bundt pan with no-stick cooking spray. Using an electric mixer, beat together orange juice, oil and eggs. Add cake mix to batter; mix until moistened. Continue to mix for 2 minutes on high. Fold in poppy seeds and zest. Pour batter into Bundt pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Invert cake onto cake plate; cool completely. Spoon icing over cake and top with extra zest.
Icing: Combine all ingredients and mix well. Icing should be moderately thick. Add more sugar or juice to achieve desired consistency.

Find more recipes from our Connestee Cooks series here on the Reflections Blog. Have a great soup recipe, share it in a comment below.


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