Problem: No Room on the Stove or in the Oven
You have all those side dishes to cook―and nowhere to cook them.
Plan ahead. “Obviously you can’t bake eight different things at eight different temperatures at the same time,” says Francine Maroukian, a former caterer and the author of Chef's Secrets ($17, amazon.com). You have to solve that problem when you’re creating the menu, not while you’re cooking it, she says. First, write up a list of all the things you’d like to make, then evaluate the number of burners and your oven space.
And don’t leave everything for the last minute; see what can be prepared in advance. “Everything―or at least a lot―can be done long before the kitchen starts to get stressful,” says Anderson. (Find delicious make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes here).
Mashed potatoes can be made an hour or two ahead of time, transferred to a heat-proof serving bowl, and kept warm over a pot of simmering water, partially covered. For just-made flavor, Anderson suggests adding only the salt, pepper, and milk when you mash; stir in the butter when you’re ready to serve.