Using a convection oven? They are great at browning, but require heating or timing adjustments. Either cut the temperature by about 25 degrees from what is called for by the recipe and cook for the time directed, or roast at the suggested temperature, but reduce the cooking time by about 25 percent.
The following times are for a standard oven:
12-pound turkey: 3 to 4 hours
15-pound turkey: 4 to 41/2 hours
18-pound turkey: 41/2 to 5 hours
20-pound turkey: 5 to 6 hours
Basting the bird with its juices helps crisp the skin and flavor the meat. Do it every 30 minutes, but no more. Opening the oven door too frequently lets heat escape and can significantly slow the cooking.
The turkey never should go directly from the oven to the table. Like most meat, it needs to rest before serving for the juices to redistribute. Cover the turkey with foil and a few bath towels layered over that (to keep it warm), then let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Carrots: A 1-pound bag makes 4 to 5 servings.
Cranberry sauce: A 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries makes about 21/4 cups of sauce; a 16-ounce can has 6 servings.
Gravy: Plan for 1/3 cup of gravy per person.
Green beans: 11/2 pounds of beans makes 6 to 8 servings.
Mashed potatoes: A 5-pound bag of potatoes makes 10 to 12 servings.
Stuffing: A 14-ounce bag of stuffing makes about 11 servings.
Pie: A 9-inch pie can be cut into 8 modest slices.
Whipped cream: Dolloping whipped cream on those 8 modest slices will require 1 cup of heavy cream beaten with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (a splash of vanilla extract is nice, too).
Ice cream: A la mode doesn’t require much — 1 pint per pie should suffice.
For food safety reasons, leftovers should be cleared from the table and refrigerated within two hours of being served. Once refrigerated, they should be consumed within three to four days. Leftovers can be frozen for three to four months. Though safe to consume after four months, they will start to taste off.