Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you are hosting, you are probably making dinner plans already. It’s exciting to have everyone gathering under your roof and (let’s be honest) potentially a little stressful, too. And that’s not just because you’re afraid of overcooking the bird or figuring out how to keep Uncle Joe from pulling out his fiery political rants at the dinner table.
What may be even more stressful is the size of your kitchen. If it’s just a little too cozy, you could be nervous about preparing and serving the Big Meal without all of the drama of a Hell’s Kitchen episode.
Many of us dream about having a large, open kitchen with plenty of counter space, a double oven, an extra large fridge, etc. But that is not the reality for a lot of people. In fact, the kitchens in some houses and apartments barely provide enough space to turn around, let alone prepare a holiday meal.
If you have a tiny kitchen, you may be tempted to ask someone else to host Thanksgiving dinner again. But your tiny kitchen doesn’t have to ruin your Thanksgiving plans.
We have come up with some great ideas to help your Thanksgiving dinner be successful and enjoyable, no matter the size of your kitchen.
To make the most of your small space, you will need to clean and organize things ahead of time.
Clean up any clutter that has accumulated on your countertops. Not only will this provide more space for preparing and serving your holiday feast, but it will also make your tiny kitchen appear larger.
Cleaning out and organizing your refrigerator is another important step to take. You will need as much fridge space as possible. As you purchase refrigerated items for your dinner, be sure to keep things organized, so they can easily be found when the time comes.
You will also want to organize your cupboards and pantry to be sure you have enough of the spices and seasonings you will need for each recipe. Make sure to make them easily accessible as well.
2. Plan Ahead And Organize
As with any party or large gathering, planning your menu well ahead of time is ideal. If you have a tiny kitchen, planning ahead is even more critical.
Make a list of all of the dishes you’d like on your menu. With a small kitchen, it may feel like you have to cut some things out because there is no way you’ll be able to cook all of that food in one tiny kitchen. But that is simply not true.
You may not be able to cook everything all at once, but if you plan out your oven space and cook times, you can still have the traditionally large Thanksgiving meal.
3. Cook Ahead
Part of planning ahead includes determining what dishes you can cook or bake ahead of time. Doing so will help free up the oven and counter space on the big day. This will also help ease some of your stress surrounding the event.
Cranberry sauce is one of the traditional dishes that can be made ahead of time and put in the refrigerator. Simply pull it out when it’s time for dinner. Other dishes that can be made ahead, refrigerated, and then reheated include mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and pies.
You could also ask some of your guests to bring a few of the side dishes, and then you will have much less to worry about. That is unless Aunt Donna accidentally leaves her famous pies sitting on her counter at home like she did last year.
Even though homemade is often preferable, you may want to consider buying some premade side dishes or desserts. There are plenty of delicious options on the market, which will help lessen the burden on your tiny kitchen.
4. Break Up The Turkey
If your small kitchen is only equipped with a tiny oven, you might not have the space to cook a full-sized turkey. But, don’t fret. You still have options.
First, you could opt for a few small turkey breasts rather than the whole bird. Or, you could pre-cut the turkey and roast it in parts. There are many helpful resources online on exactly how to do that. And, as an added bonus, a pre-cut turkey cooks much faster than a whole turkey.
If you and your guests won’t be heartbroken without the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving, you could just choose a smaller bird. Smaller birds, such as a chicken, duck, or cornish game hen, would still make a lovely choice for your Thanksgiving feast.
5. Get Creative
To make your Thanksgiving dinner possible in limited space, you may need to get a little bit creative.
This might include relocating some of your portable appliances to other areas of the house. For example, you may need to clear off your dresser and place a slow cooker full of mashed potatoes there to keep warm as you cook other menu items, making your kitchen less cramped.
You may also be able to utilize the outside weather to free up some refrigerator space. If the weather is cold enough, items that need to be kept chilled can be placed out on your deck or patio. Just make sure no stray animals help themselves to your delicious food.
If you have a cooler, yes, you can keep things cold in there. But, did you know that a cooler can be used the opposite way as well? An insulated cooler can be used as a hot box to keep food warm for a certain amount of time.
6. Clean As You Go
As you are preparing things ahead of time, be sure to clean up after yourself. Ensure the dishes are done and the counters are cleaned off so none of your precious space is occupied unnecessarily. Too much to worry about on your own? Pre-assign your most helpful relative to assist you.
On the big day, you’ll also want to clean as you go. Not only will this help with space, but it will also make it so cleanup isn’t so intense at the end of the night.
Having a successful, large Thanksgiving dinner is possible, no matter the size of your kitchen. But, if you are still dreaming of a large kitchen and want to make that happen before next Thanksgiving, you should consider a complete kitchen remodel.
If you are in the Austin area, the remodeling experts at Home Remodel Pro can help make your dreams a reality.