These sound great, but a lot of work!

If you bake a casserole of dressing along with the turkey, the oven temperature you use depends on the size of the bird. If you need to reduce the oven to 325 [degrees], allow at least 10 additional minutes for dressings to reach the suggested temperature. If you are using a convection oven (at 325 [degrees] to 350 [degrees]), the dressing will be hot about 10 minutes earlier than times suggested for regular oven heat; a thermometer makes testing reliable.

If you prefer to stuff the turkey with dressing, follow these food safety steps: Fill the bird loosely with the dressing just before you put it in the oven. To be sure that dressing in the turkey is heated to a bacteria-safe 160 [degrees] (hotter than dressing baked in a casserole), insert a thermometer into the center of the dressing when the bird is cooked. And as soon as the bird is removed from the oven, spoon the dressing into a bowl. If the temperature is too low, put the dressing in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in a microwave oven at full power (100%), mixing often to distribute heat evenly, until dressing is 160 [degrees] throughout.

Grand-prize winner

Cornbread-Herb Dressing with Dried Tomatoes and Pancetta

Rita Ann Wilkins, La Verne, California

Rita Ann Wilkins's delicious culinary merger combines an American country cornbread, used by her husband's grandmother, with herbs, vegetables, and pancetta from her Italian grandmother's table. Wilkins uses her own herb cornbread recipe, but we've added those herbs to the dressing. You can either use a re

cipe for plain cornbread or make it from a mix.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/4 hours

MAKES: About 14 cups; 14 to 16 servings

8 cups 1/2-inch cubes day-old cornbread (from scratch or a mix)

1/2 pound thin-sliced pancetta, chopped

About 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions (3/4 lb. total), peeled and chopped

3 tablespoons minced garlic

3 cups finely chopped celery

1 jar (about 7 oz. net) steamed chestnuts or 1 1/3 cups cooked and peeled water-packed canned or vacuum-packed chestnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup drained oil-packed dried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves or dried rubbed sage

3 tablespoons chopped fresh bash leaves or dried basil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves or dried rosemary

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) melted unsalted butter or unsalted margarine

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 to 2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

1. In a 350 [degrees] oven, bake cornbread cubes in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan until edges begin to brown, 25 to 35 minutes; stir occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir pancetta often until browned, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to towels to drain. Pour out fat and measure; add enough olive oil to make 1/4 cup total and return to the frying pan.

3. Place pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir often until limp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and celery; stir often until celery is limp, 5 to 7 minutes.

4. To cornbread in roasting pan, add pancetta, onion mixture, chestnuts, tomatoes, parsley, sage, basil, rosemary, and butter. Mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Mix in broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until dressing is evenly moistened (for a crumbly dressing, use minimum amount). Spoon into a shallow 3-quart casserole and cover tightly. (If making up to 1 day ahead, chill.)

5. Bake in a 350 [degrees] oven until hot (at least 150 [degrees] in center), 35 to 40 minutes (50 to 65 minutes if chilled). For a crusty top, uncover the last 20 to 25 minutes.

Per serving: 299 cal., 51% (153 cal.) from fat; 7.4 g protein; 17 g fat (6.4 g sat.); 29 g carbo (3.2 g fiber); 544 mg sodium; 48 mg chol.

Runners-up

San Francisco-style Dressing

Doris Hussar, Salinas, California

This recipe was handed down to Doris Hussar from her German grandmother, a creative cook who worked, long ago, for families in San Francisco and put local ingredients to good use.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 3/4 hours

MAKES: About 16 cups; 16 to 18 servings

1 loaf (1 1/2 lb.) sliced sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine

2 onions (3/4 lb. total), peeled and finely chopped

2 cups thinly sliced celery, including leaves

1/2 pound mushrooms, rinsed, discolored stem ends trimmed, and thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper (1/2 lb.), rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley

5 green onions, ends trimmed, rinsed and thinly sliced

1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed chicken broth

2 cans (6 1/2 oz. each) minced clams

1 can (2 1/4 oz.) sliced ripe black olives, drained

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend or 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil

Salt and coarse-ground pepper

2 large eggs

1. In a 325 [degrees] oven, bake bread cubes in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan until dry and firm to touch, 15 to 20 minutes; stir occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, combine butter, chopped onions, celery, mushrooms, and bell pepper; stir often over medium-high heat until vegetables are limp, 7 to 10 minutes.

3. Mix cooked vegetable mixture, parsley, green onions, broth, clams with juice, olives, and Italian seasonings with bread cubes in roasting pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, beat eggs to blend, then stir into bread mixture.

4. Spoon into a shallow 3-quart casserole and cover tightly. (If making up to 1 day ahead, chill.)

5. Bake in a 350 [degrees] oven until hot (at least 150 [degrees] in center), 35 to 40 minutes (50 to 65 minutes if chilled). For a crusty top, uncover the last 20 to 30 minutes.

Per serving: 199 cal., 34% (68 cal.) from fat; 8.3 g protein; 7.6 g fat (3.7 g sat.); 24 g carbo (2.1 g fiber); 452 mg sodium; 45 mg chol.