The majority of commercial kitchens feature numerous ovens. Some households have two ovens. I aspire to have a kitchen like that one day.
But I don’t think so. And chances are, neither do you. We only have one oven in our kitchen. So, if you cook in a one-oven kitchen, I’m just like you.
I’m concerned about how to serve a large Thanksgiving dinner with every dish hot and ready at the same time. I lament the absence of a second (or third, or fourth) oven, but then I create one because cooking Thanksgiving does not necessitate using more than one oven.
This Thanksgiving Menu was designed to be prepared in a single oven. Because that is the kitchen in which we operate, we also wanted to make your life simpler.
If you’re preparing your dinner that will require only one oven, here’s how to make it happen without any traffic jams or furious tears.
Bake All Your Pies and Dessert a Day Before
Get your sweet baking done the day before Thanksgiving, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about on the big day. And pie baking is more fun and goes much more smoothly when you have time to focus on it instead of worrying about a turkey, let alone all your relatives.
Bake Multiple Sides at the Same Temperature
You’ll need to use the oven for as many dishes as possible, but your oven can only be set to one temperature at a time. What is the obvious solution? Choose at least two recipes that cook at the same temperature in the oven.
But don’t panic if the stuffing recipe you chose calls for 325°F baking, 400°F potatoes, and 350°F rolls. Choose the happiest medium between all three (350°F here) and cook the stuffing for a little less time and the potatoes for a little longer than the recipe calls for—it’ll all be okay.
Check things more frequently than usual, and rotate the dishes from top to bottom rack halfway through to avoid overcooking each dish’s top (or bottom).
Don’t Use the Oven for EVERYTHING
Avoid oven traffic by making a few side dishes that don’t require the oven. Does anyone for green beans? Alternatively, how about some glazed carrots? Alternatively, mashed potatoes!
Consider The Grill
Grilling outside may not sound appealing if you live somewhere where it is cold this time of year, but it is another way to avoid overcrowding your oven.
Standing around a hot grill with your coats on and flasks in your pockets is not the wrong way to spend some time with your uncle or if you need to get away from the crowd.
You could grill the turkey and leave the sides to bake in the oven, or make one quick grilled, vegetable side dish.
Don’t Overlook The No-Cook Options
A salad (as long as it’s hearty enough to withstand extra time sitting on a buffet) is always a welcome addition to a traditionally over-indulgent meal. So make room in your oven for the turkey by serving a salad instead of the root vegetable gratin you were considering.
Reheat While the Turkey Rests
The turkey should be the last thing in the oven (unless you’re grilling or deep-frying). However, any turkey should rest for at least 30 minutes before carving, so take advantage of this. Your oven will be free to bake biscuits or reheat any oven-baked side dishes that require warming before serving.
If You NEED a Second Oven, Make Friends With Your Neighbors
Sometimes you don’t have time to cook pies a day ahead of time (this occurred to my family last year when we lost power the whole day before Thanksgiving), and you must find a method to use a second oven.
This is where your neighbors can help you. My family is fortunate to have neighbors who we consider great friends and who don’t blink when my mother sneaks into their kitchen with a massive uncooked turkey to sneak into their oven.
If you believe this may happen to you, start working on developing that neighborly friendship immediately.