Problem: 1 turkey + 5 side dishes + 2 desserts ÷ 1 stove = complete and total chaos.
Solution: To keep organized, create what caterers call a prep list, which lays out, in order, all the tasks that need to be done in the two days prior to your Thanksgiving dinner.
- First, figure out which recipes can be made at least one day in advance. Things like pies, blanched vegetables, and gratins can all be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Find make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes.
- Second, identify which of the dishes to be made on Thanksgiving Day will take the longest. Work backward from the time you want to eat, allowing 10 extra minutes per recipe.
- Third, look at cooking temperatures and see what can go in the oven at the same time. Use multiple timers to keep track of what’s in the oven and on the stovetop. Put a Post-it note on each timer so you won’t forget which dish it’s for.
Problem: You have six cookbooks open and you still can’t find that recipe for sweet potatoes.
Solution: Cut through the clutter and make copies of recipes or print them out from the Web.
- Tape them to cabinets at eye level. (This will save precious counter space, too.)
- You can also use a magnet and stick them to the hood above the range.
- Slip the recipe sheets into plastic sleeves and file them in a binder so they’ll be ready next year.
Browse Real Simple's Thanksgiving recipes.