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Once again, by popular request, this week’s column will consist of some food tips that could make your busy Christmas season easier, fun and add a new twist to some familiar recipes. I will include an easy recipe at the bottom of the tips column that is one of my family’s favorites. I usually serve it on Christmas Eve as a prelude to the Christmas dinner.

So, without further ado, here we go!

Add 3 drops of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to your pecan pie filling. It adds a lot of flavor.

Use well drained pineapple tidbits to your apple pie filling and reduce the apples by the same amount. It creates a whole new flavor.

Add a pinch of allspice to any Thousand Island dressing for a super salad topper.

Before you brew a pot of coffee, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 to 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and a dash of ground cardamom or nutmeg for an extra special cup of coffee after dinner.

Have leftover spinach dip from a party? If so, add it into your batch of mashed potatoes.

Put in a pinch of celery seed to buttered carrots for a whole new taste.

If serving asparagus with dinner, top it with a dash of nutmeg.

Add a drop or two of ketchup to beef gravy for a very rich flavor without any tomato taste.

Try putting in 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch in your flour when making a pie crust dough for a flakier effect.

Making a lasagna for dinner guests? Replace 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese with sharp cheddar for a little zing.

Use pepper jack cheese for a topping on broccoli to create a side dish with amazing flavor.

If making a roast in the oven, don’t forget to line your pan with heavy duty aluminum foil to avoid having to labor over a dirty roasting pan.

If you need to defrost a turkey, make sure it is done in cold water. Use a large bucket or a spare bathtub to defrost the bird in, never just leave it on a counter top.

Making peanut butter cookies for dessert or gifts? If so, add maple flavor in instead of vanilla into the batter. It makes for a wonderful change.

If you’re making gravy for your roast, or making sweet and sour meatballs for an appetizers, use crushed gingersnap cookies to thicken the liquid. It adds a tremendous amount of flavor.

Coat your chicken with a mixture of olive oil, rosemary and oregano before roasting for a unique and moist product.

Add a bit of ground nutmeg with the dry ingredients when making sugar cookies. It gives the cookies a slightly richer flavor.

Place an apple slice in hardened brown sugar to soften it back up a few hours before you use it in your recipe.

Wrap your celery in aluminum foil to keep it fresher longer.