Photo: Peter Frank Edwards

A From-Scratch Cracker to Instantly Upgrade Cocktail Hour
Homemade cheese crackers aren't complicated to make, and easily elevate any hors d'oeuvres spread. You can customize them based on your taste (using a mild or bold cheese), and they're fantastic nibbled with a glass of champagne. The recipe, from the new book Le Creuset Cookbook, has you start with pulsing flour, crumbled blue cheese, butter, thyme, honey and salt in a food processor until the mixture forms a stiff dough. Shape it into a log, wrap in parchment paper and chill until firm. A few hours later (or the next day), slice the dough and bake the rounds for about 15 minutes until they're lightly browned.

Get the recipe: Blue Cheese Galettes

Photo: Julia A. Reed

A Freshly Baked Accompaniment for Any Menu
No matter what you're serving, there's a good chance homemade rolls will go nicely—and they're actually a lot less involved to make than you might think. In his new book, Breaking Bread, Martin Philip shares his recipe for "pain de mie," a soft white bread that's just a tad sweet, thanks to a spoonful of honey. After you make the dough and let it rise, you shape it into rolls; as they bake, they begin to touch, and when you serve them you can let each guest pull their own roll off from the rest.

Get the recipe: Pull-Apart Rolls

Photo: Ben Pieper Photography

Brussels Sprouts Everyone (Even Vegetarians!) Will Love
Although it's easy enough to have a filling meal without turkey, if you're avoiding meat altogether, many side dishes are off limits, even if they are vegetable-based. This recipe uses maple butter instead of the usual bacon or pancetta; it gives Brussels sprouts a toasty, caramel-like flavor that's irresistible to everyone at the table, no matter their diet.

Get the recipe: Browned Brussels with Maple Butter

Photo: Craig Cutler

Potatoes with a French Touch
A few spoonfuls of fresh goat cheese add creaminess and tang to regular mashed potatoes, as chef √Čric Ripert demonstrates in this French take on a classic American dish. The recipe calls for Yukon Golds, which have a wonderful flavor and a beautiful yellow color. And while the directions suggest folding in the milk, butter and goat cheese, you can also use a hand mixer to incorporate air into the dish and give the potatoes a whipped texture.

Get the recipe: Goat Cheese and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Photo: Lennart Weibull

The Must-Have Sauce, with a Twist
Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving essential—but it doesn't have to be boring. This fresh version is somewhat less tart than the traditional recipe, since it's balanced out with a combination of sweet orange, or apricot, marmalade and pineapple preserves. The recipe is simple (no chopping, slicing or dicing; just simmer everything together). Even better—the sauce can be made up to two weeks before the big day.

Get the recipe: Pineapple-Cranberry Sauce

Photo: Akiko Ida

A Dessert That Features a Less Obvious Fall Fruit
Is it a coincidence that this baked treat's name rhymes with humble? We think not. The crumble is one of the quickest and simplest desserts you can make—easygoing and unfussy yet honestly delicious. This not-overly-sweet take from Crumbles: Over 30 Sweet and Savoury Recipes, by Sabrina Fauda-Role, combines figs, many varieties of which are in season through November, with walnuts and honey and is a nice alternative (or addition—hey, it's Thanksgiving!) to pumpkin and apple pie.

Get the recipe: Fig and Walnut Crumble