By Margaux Laskey, The New York Times

If the pandemic means you’re cooking the holiday dinner for the first time this year, no need to panic. Plan ahead, keep it simple and delegate when necessary. Here are five recipes for the essentials, chosen for their ease and the fact that they are tried-and-true (as well as delicious). Even if you’ve cooked this meal many times before, these will guarantee memorable results.

Green Beans With Ginger and Garlic

Total time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds green beans (French-style slim haricots verts work especially well), trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger (about 6 inches ginger root, peeled)
  • 4 medium-size garlic cloves, minced

Preparation

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water. Working in two batches, boil beans until just tender but still crisp and bright green. Start testing after 4 minutes or so, being careful not to overcook. When done, plunge beans into ice water to stop cooking, lift out immediately when cool and drain on towels. (Recipe can be made to this point up to a day in advance and kept refrigerated, wrapped in towels.)

2. When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide skillet over high heat. Add half the beans, half the ginger and half the garlic, and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until beans are heated through and ginger and garlic are softened and aromatic. Sprinkle with salt, and remove to a serving dish. Repeat with remaining oil, beans, ginger and garlic. Serve.

— Julia Moskin

Simple Roast Turkey

Total time: 3 1/2 hours, plus brining

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested and quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 bottle hard apple cider (12 ounces)
  • Dry white wine, as needed
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Olive oil or melted butter, as needed

Preparation

1. Remove any giblets from the cavity and reserve for stock or gravy. Pat turkey and turkey neck dry with paper towel; rub turkey all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt per pound of turkey, the pepper and the lemon zest, including the neck. Transfer to a 2-gallon (or larger) resealable plastic bag. Tuck herbs and 6 garlic cloves inside bag. Seal and refrigerate on a small rimmed baking sheet (or wrapped in another bag) for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning the bird over every day (or after 12 hours if brining for only 1 day).

2. Remove turkey from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, uncovered, back on the baking sheet. Return to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours to dry out the skin (this helps crisp it).