ready in about an hour and a half; serves 8
You might need to buy:
  • all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • finely chopped shallots
  • chicken stock
  • heavy cream

MAKES ONE 9-INCH PIE

Use sweet, crisp apples, such as Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Fuji, or Braeburn. The two fillings can be made ahead, cooled, and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
For an apple-cranberry pie recipe with a crisp crust and balanced flavors, we precooked the cranberries so they wouldn’t shed a lot of liquid during baking. Then we arranged the cooked cranberries and apples in two distinct layers, allowing the flavor of each to come through clearly in our apple-cranberry pie recipe.

You might need to buy:
  • fresh or frozen cranberries
  • orange juice
  • water
  • cornstarch

Serves 10

We suggest French’s French Fried Onions and Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth for this recipe. Fresh green beans are essential—frozen beans will turn to mush in the slow cooker.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
For our Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole recipe, we tested frozen beans, fresh raw beans, and blanched fresh beans, and were happy to learn that fresh beans held up well in the slow cooker. We didn’t even bother with the canned stuff. Sautéing the mushrooms before adding them to the slow cooker prevented them from turning slimy. It also gave us the idea to build the whole sauce in the skillet to reduce it and concentrate its flavor. Ground-up fried onions bound our sauce and also added more onion flavor than merely sprinkling them on top.

You might need to buy:
  • Salt and pepper
  • dried thyme
  • heavy cream
  • TOPPING:
  • CASSEROLE:

Makes about 2 cups

Fresh and frozen cranberries work equally well. If you are using frozen, add one to two minutes to the cooking time. Slightly sweet apples such as Golden Delicious or Gala work best for this recipe. Shred the apple on the large holes of a box grater.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
The standard back-of-the-bag recipe for Apple-Raisin Cranberry Sauce was a little soupy. Cranberries contain a lot of water, and cutting down on the additional liquid yielded the ideal consistency. We replaced the water with apple cider and added fresh apple for a unique spin on traditional cranberry sauce. We found frozen cranberries worked equally well as fresh, but we needed to increase the cooking time slightly. Leaving our Basic Cranberry Sauce on the stove for too long left us with a mushy red mash, so it was important to keep a close eye on it as it cooked.

You might need to buy:
  • apple cider
  • packed light brown sugar
  • golden raisins

Makes about 2 cups

Fresh and frozen cranberries work equally well. If you are using frozen, add one to two minutes to the cooking time.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
The standard back-of-the-bag recipe for cranberry sauce came out a little soupy. Cranberries contain a lot of water, and cutting down on the additional liquid yielded the ideal consistency. We found frozen cranberries worked equally as well as fresh, but we needed to increase the cooking time slightly. Leaving our Basic Cranberry Sauce on the stove for too long left us with a mushy red mash, so it was important to keep a close eye on the sauce as it cooked.

You might need to buy:
  • water

Makes about 1 cup

Fresh and frozen cranberries work equally well. If you are using frozen, add one to two minutes to the cooking time.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
With a little doctoring, we turned our recipe for Basic Cranberry Sauce into a versatile Cranberry Vinaigrette. The standard back-of-the-bag cranberry sauce recipe was a little soupy. Cranberries contain a lot of water, and cutting down on the additional liquid yields the ideal consistency. We found frozen cranberries worked equally well as fresh, but we needed to increase the cooking time slightly. Leaving the cranberry sauce for our Cranberry Vinaigrette Sauce on the stove for too long left us with a mushy red mash, so it was important to keep a close eye on it as it cooked.

You might need to buy:
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • minced shallot
  • Dijon mustard

Makes about 2 cups

Fresh and frozen cranberries work equally well. If you are using frozen, add one to two minutes to the cooking time. Be sure to use real maple syrup, not the maple-flavored stuff. See below for our tips for easy citrus segmenting.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
The standard back-of-the-bag recipe for Orange-Maple Cranberry Sauce was a little soupy. Cranberries contain a lot of water, and cutting down on the additional liquid yielded the ideal consistency. We found frozen cranberries worked equally well as fresh, but we needed to increase the cooking time slightly. Leaving our Basic Cranberry Sauce on the stove for too long left us with a mushy red mash, so it was important to keep a close eye on it as it cooked.

You might need to buy:
  • cayenne pepper
  • maple syrup
  • orange juice

Makes about 2 cups

Fresh and frozen cranberries work equally well. If you are using frozen, add one to two minutes to the cooking time. Ginger ale can be substituted for the ginger beer, though the ginger flavor will be less pronounced

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
The standard back-of-the-bag recipe for cranberry sauce was a little soupy. Cranberries contain a lot of water, and cutting down on the additional liquid yielded the ideal consistency. Replacing the water with ginger beer and adding grated fresh ginger added a unique flavor to our Pear-Ginger Cranberry Sauce. Shredded pear added sweetness. We found frozen cranberries worked equally well as fresh, but we needed to increase the cooking time slightly. Leaving our Pear-Ginger Cranberry Sauce on the stove for too long left us with a mushy red mash, so it was important to keep a close eye on it as it cooked.

You might need to buy:
  • grated fresh ginger
  • ginger beer

Makes about 2 cups

Fresh and frozen cranberries and raspberries work equally well. If you are using frozen, add one to two minutes to the cooking time. Sprite and 7UP are both good soda choices here. Don’t use diet soda.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
The standard back-of-the-bag recipe for cranberry sauce was a little soupy. Cranberries contain a lot of water, and cutting down on the additional liquid yielded the ideal consistency. Sprite and 7UP were both good soda choices to replace the water in this recipe, as long as we didn’t use the diet varieties. We found frozen cranberries worked equally well as fresh, but we needed to increase the cooking time slightly. Leaving our Raspberry-Lemon Cranberry Sauce on the stove for too long left us with a mushy red mash, so it was important to keep a close eye on it as it cooked.

You might need to buy:
  • lemon-lime soda
  • fresh or frozen raspberries
  • grated lemon zest

Make it ahead: refrigerate the mashed potatoes for up to 2 days. To reheat, place ina double boiler or glass bowl set over (but not in) simmering water, adding whole milk as necessary to adjust consistency until heated through, 15-20 minutes

ready in about 50 minutes; serves 8
You might need to buy:
  • Kosher salt
  • half and half
  • unsalted butter
  • small sprigs rosemary
  • black peppercorns freshly grated or ground nutmeg for serving