•If you air-dry a fresh or brined turkey, uncovered, overnight in the refrigerator, its skin will be crisper after oven-roasting.
•Running out of room on the stove top? Try cooking vegetables in parchment packets. Add a flavoring liquid and herbs. Two or three packets can fit on a rimmed baking sheet. Makes for fewer pots/easy cleanup, too.
•To help your holiday cooking and baking prep go faster, now's the time to buy nuts and pumpkin seeds, then toast/roast them. Cool completely and store in the freezer in 1-cup portions.
•If your table is groaning with too many dishes and guests, consider using stemless wine glasses. They are harder to knock over and easier to clean.
•Make more cranberry sauce than you need; it can be used to stuff a boneless pork loin, to flavor a buttercream frosting and as a chutney base – add chopped nuts, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped dried and fresh fruits.
•If a make-ahead holiday cake or pie turns out less than perfect, cut it into cubes, or crumble it up. Create individual parfaits by alternating layers of the cake or pie with a mixture of whipped cream and mascarpone cheese.
•To make mashed potatoes creamy and flavorful without using dairy, Maine food writer Kathy Gunst recommends adding roasted cloves from a large head of garlic and 1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil to 3 pounds of peeled, boiled potatoes. (Pass the potatoes and garlic through a ricer, then add the oil, and mash. Season with salt and pepper.)
•Making pie for a crowd? Try a slab pie, made in a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet. Some home cooks say the crust is less fussy to assemble than a crimped-edge round pie crust – no need for blind baking – and it's easy to transport. (If you use store-bought rolls of pie dough, it takes two to create a single-layer crust.