Problem: Everyone wants to help, but a crowded kitchen makes you crazy.
Solution: Move as many activities out of the kitchen as possible.
- Put all the glasses, ice, and beverages in the living room. Save an easy task, like serving drinks, for guests who simply must help, says McDonagh.
- Prepare for those who want to put finishing touches on the dishes they’ve brought by clearing a small area of a counter or setting up a small table just outside the kitchen. Set out anything that might be needed, like serving dishes and spoons.
- It’s also perfectly OK to ask your guests to bring only dishes that can be served either cold or at room temperature so they won’t need to use the oven or the stovetop during those last, busy minutes, says McDonagh.
Problem: The turkey took forever to cook, and now all the side dishes are cold.
Solution: Try using some of the following items to keep food hot:
- A microwave oven is insulated and will keep a hot pot warm for half an hour, says Clair. (Just don’t turn the machine on.)
- A cooler, which will also retain heat, can hold covered pots and stacked foil dishes.
- An insulated ice bucket or a Crock-Pot can keep rice or mashed potatoes warm. (You can set a Crock-Pot to low for longer periods.)
- A thermos will guarantee that the gravy stays piping hot.
- A heating pad inside a soft-sided insulated food carrier is a good way to keep a casserole steamy.
- A barbecue gas grill can double as a warming oven. Put it on low heat, place a pot or two inside, and close the lid.