From Our Kitchen

Get a fresh take on traditional lemon squares, learn tricks to the perfect turkey, and what to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers from our kitchen editors.
Donna Florio

We all love dishes that are actually very simple to prepare but appear to take lots of time and skill, such as Lemon-Coconut Tart. Associate Foods Editor Mary Allen Perry developed this variation on the ever-popular lemon squares as a part of a chess pie story and realized that the casual treats could become a festive dessert by presenting them differently. This tart makes a stylish addition to a holiday buffet when served whole on a pretty platter and garnished with fresh raspberries and thyme sprigs. Let guests cut their own pieces with a pie server.

Mary Allen offers this tip for baking the tart. "Line the pan with aluminum foil, allowing extra to hang over the sides," she says. "You'll be able to lift the tart out in one piece and slide it onto a platter."

Make the Most of Leftovers
This is the season when food is plentiful, so use a vacuum-packaging system to make your own frozen dinners from leftovers. Foods Executive Editor Scott Jones has been using the FoodSaver for years and convinced us that it's the best thing since, well, frozen dinners. The heavy plastic bag and vacuum seal prevent freezer burn. We tried several and like the FoodSaver brand best.

Package your leftover meat, whether it's short ribs, slices of roast beef, or another favorite, with creamy mashed potatoes. And by all means, save some turkey and dressing for the chilly days of February.

Tricks to Perfect Turkey
In her 14 years with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, Renee Ferguson heard it all. She shares delightful anecdotes as well as every possible way to thaw and cook that favorite Thanksgiving entrée in Talk Turkey To Me (Wishbone Press and Promotions, $19.99). Whether you favor cooking your bird breast up, breast down, on the grill, in an oven bag, or in the deep fryer, you'll find more than 20 methods and techniques in this informative and comprehensive book. Renee also shares recipes for delicious appetizers, sides, and desserts, so you have a fabulous turkey plus all the trimmings. The book is available at www.amazon.com or your local bookstore.

What's Cooking?
We'd love for you to share your favorite fall recipes with us for possible publication. We want everything from weeknight suppers to entertaining. For each one we use, we'll send you $20 now, and a copy of the Southern Living Annual Recipes Cookbook in January. Please e-mail recipes to sl_foodedit@timeinc.com.