The Easiest Way To Plan Thanksgiving Cooking With Limited Oven Space

Thanksgiving tablescape
Thanksgiving tablescape - Static Media/Shutterstock

Hosting Thanksgiving at your house can feel like an overwhelming task. Between taking note of everyone's diet preferences, grocery shopping, and setting up table decor, there's a lot to keep track of when it comes to getting ready for the big event. But one element of making Thanksgiving dinner that's often forgotten about is making sure you have enough space in your oven to cook all those yummy dishes.

It doesn't help when the star of the show (typically a turkey) can weigh up to 24 pounds, meaning it will demand tons of real estate in the oven. Combined with the fact that it takes hours to roast a turkey, and it's not ideal to serve cold food for this type of gathering, it can get tricky trying to figure out when to bake all your delicious sides. The solution? Put your oven to work and multitask. Try to have two side dishes maximum baking separately alongside your main entree. Then, pick multiple recipes that can be prepared in the same dish — roasted green beans on a sheet pan with potatoes, for instance — and actually fill your turkey with the stuffing and cook them together. In general, try to find recipes that bake at the same temperature, although you may have the most luck adapting vegetable roasting times to fit your protein's temperature.

Read more: 11 Cleaning Tips For Keeping Your Oven Spotless

Plan Around Peak Oven Usage Times

hands placing pumpkin pie in oven
hands placing pumpkin pie in oven - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Another way to be strategic about your oven space on Thanksgiving is to separate the dishes that you'll want hot and fresh out of the oven at dinnertime from the ones that can be baked in advance. For example, pumpkin pie can be made up to two days before Thanksgiving without a dip in quality, as long as you keep it in the fridge in the meantime. Then when it's time to dig in, just slice it up and crack open your can of whipped cream. Dinner rolls, however, undoubtedly taste best when they're first made, as they may go stale in a day or two.

While you'll of course want to make your turkey (or whichever main protein you're using) the day of, you have a window of opportunity to get any last-minute sides in the oven when the bird is resting after it roasts. Luckily, with a protein that big, you'll need to let your turkey rest for around 30 minutes before carving so that the juices can evenly redistribute throughout. During that time, you can slip a baked mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, or tray of roasted carrots in the oven, which will be ready to eat at exactly the same time as your main dish. With all of these strategies combined, you can easily knock out four or more sides in the oven a few hours before the feast, alongside your main protein.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.