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One of the best things about holiday dinners or other special events is the leftovers, especially for those who love stuffing or crave turkey sandwiches.

One of the big fears of many cooks is not having enough food for guests.

With turkeys and other fixings for Thanksgiving dinners on sale now, how can you calculate what to buy?

The Associated Press shipped out a guide to help you make those calculations so that you can stock up in advance or just get your shopping list going for the holiday. Add a bit more of foods that your family really enjoys or if you like lots of leftovers to make turkey soup or other meals.

This calculator also has approximate cooking times to give you an idea of how early to put on the turkey to have things ready for your planned holiday dining time. And it includes thawing times for turkeys to avoid surprises like those that some Billings Gazette readers encountered in their real-life submissions to the newspaper’s write-in contest about holiday calamities.

The winners of that contest plus dozens of other submissions will be published in the Saturday, Nov. 22, edition of the print paper, with additional stories on the paper’s Web site, billingsgazette.com that day. The readers’ stories may give you some ideas for simple steps to take --- or avoid --- so your holidays go smoothly.

Meanwhile, here’s the guide to help in your planning:

Associated Press

The most important ingredient for a successful Thanksgiving? Math.

That’s because crunching the numbers is the best way to make sure that you have enough turkey for all your guests, that the turkey you serve them won’t be raw, and that it comes out of the oven on time.

These estimates are rounded high to ensure plenty of leftovers. Keep in mind that the bigger the bird, the higher the meat-to-bone ratio. Which means that, on smaller turkeys, you need more total weight per serving than on larger turkeys.

Roasting times are estimates for stuffed birds; actual cooking time will vary by stove and turkey. Federal health officials say a turkey should be cooked until an instant-read thermometer inserted at the innermost part of the thigh (without touching bone) reaches 165 F, though some cooks say thigh meat tastes better cooked to 170 F.

Diners: 6 to 7

Turkey: 9 to 10 pounds.

Thawing: In the refrigerator for 48 hours, or in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes) for 4-1/2 hours.

Roasting: 325 F for 3 to 4 hours (subtract 20 to 40 minutes if not stuffed).

Gravy: 2-1/2 cups.

Stuffing: 5 cups.

Diners: 8 to 9

Turkey: 13 to 14 pounds.

Thawing: In the refrigerator for 3 days, or in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes) for 7 hours.

Roasting: 325 F for 4 to 4-1/2 hours (subtract 20 to 40 minutes if not stuffed).

Gravy: 3 cups.

Stuffing: 7 cups.

Diners: 10 to 11

Turkey: 17 to 18 pounds.

Thawing: In the refrigerator for 4 days, or in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes) for 9 hours.

Roasting: 325 F for 4-1/2 to 5 hours (subtract 20 to 40 minutes if not stuffed).

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Gravy: 3-1/2 cups.

Stuffing: 9 cups.

Diners: 12 to 13

Turkey: 20 pounds.

Thawing: In the refrigerator for 4 days or in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes) for 10 hours.

Roasting: 325 F for 5 to 6 hours (subtract 20 to 40 minutes if not stuffed).

Gravy: 4-1/2 cups.

Stuffing: 10 cups.

Diners: 14 to 15

Turkey: 23 pounds.

Thawing: In the refrigerator for 5 days, or in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes) for 11-1/2 hours.

Roasting: 325 F for 5 to 6 hours (subtract 20 to 40 minutes if not stuffed).

Gravy: 5 cups.

Stuffing: 11-1/2 cups.

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