Holiday Cooking In A Small Kitchen

Many of us can only dream of having Ina Garten's East Hampton kitchen with double ovens and 18 feet of countertops, but if you're working with a lesser setup, that shouldn't stop you from inviting your friends, family, and favorite deli guy over for Thanksgiving. If you're figuring out how to pull off Turkey Day in an already cramped kitchen, these dos and don'ts will come in handy.

1. Don't try to make everything in the oven

Instead: Plan the Menu to Your Advantage

If you only have one oven, it's not a good idea to do a whole turkey, two sheets of roast potatoes, and an apple pie. A cheeseboard is an awesome first course that requires no cooking, not to mention finger food means fewer dishes to wash. Blanched green beans can be sautéed on the stove, and a hearty fall salad frees up precious space for your bird.

2. Don't overstuff your fridge

Instead: Store Smartly

Storing food like pre-chopped veggies in gallon storage bags is a smart way to create more space for your turkey. Side note: Always store raw turkey on the bottom shelf, so juices don't drip and contaminate other foods.

3. Don't try to make the entire meal on Thanksgiving

Instead: Make Anything You Can in Advance

A good rule of thumb is if a dish's texture won't change when reheated (think soups, purées, etc.), or if it can be served at room temperature, then you can make it in advance. All the more time to crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy your company.

4. Don't cook a whole 25-pound turkey

Instead: Spatchcock Your Turkey

Large turkeys take a long time to cook thoroughly, not to mention they leave little room for anything else in the oven. Flattening your turkey not only frees up space for another oven rack, but spatchcocked birds cook in a significantly shorter amount of time. Score!

5. Don't rely too much on your stove

Instead: Use Alternate Appliances to Your Advantage

Microwaves are excellent at reheating mashed potatoes and other purées, and if you're still short on stove or oven space, try using a slow cooker to keep foods warm.