Creative ways to cook all those courses in one kitchen

family in the kitchen

If the task of cooking the holiday meal has landed in your lap this year, don’t panic. No matter the size of your kitchen, it’s totally doable to create a multi-course dinner. You simply have to think creatively and make the most of your space. Follow these steps to dish out the ultimate holiday feast.


  1. Have a game plan. Time to break out the whiteboard and draw up a game plan for your big day. Start with the menu. Choose the number of courses, then jot down the actual dishes, then find and bookmark recipes for each. Next, create a single grocery list that includes everything and head to the store as far in advance as possible (since it’s going to get congested around the holidays).
  2. Get organized. Once you have your rough game plan, consider which menu items are going to take the longest to make. The turkey, for instance, might have to roast in the oven all day long. So that should be your first priority when you wake up. If you have enough room, lay out the kitchen tools you’ll need first thing (baster, cutting board, etc.) to make everything easier the day-of.
  3. Prep, prep, prep. Take a look at your menu and try to find opportunities to prep ahead of time. For instance, if a salad contains hearty veggies like carrots and celery, these can be chopped the day before without any issue. Cold desserts can probably be made a day in advance. Or even if you can just pre-mix the dry ingredients for cake and set them aside until the morning, this will save time on the other side.
  4. Divide and conquer. Since you’ve already divided up your dishes in terms of time they’ll take to make and priority, you should have no trouble tackling them one by one on the day of the holiday. Knock them off the list one by one, completing one task before moving on to another, in order to stay on schedule. If time constraints mean you have to be working on more than one dish at a time, bring in friends or family to help with the process. They’re going to be reaping the rewards, after all!
  5. Bring in reinforcements. There’s no shame in taking some shortcuts or accepting help, even if it’s not actually from a human. Many dishes can be made in the slow cooker—even Thanksgiving staples like stuffing—so borrowing a Crockpot or two from friends might be the perfect way to make better use of your time and space. You can also cut corners by buying some ingredients already prepared, like pre-chopped onions or cranberry sauce from a can. This is also the time to consider investing in fun, time-saving gadgets. Case in point: the Twist ‘N Sprout, which quickly trims brussels sprouts and only costs a few bucks. It might not be drastically faster than a knife, but it does cut down on food waste and make meal prep a bit more fun.


How to Plan a Meal with Multiple Courses [The Simply Luxurious Life]

7 Rules for Cooking a Multi-Course Meal at Home [The Kitchn]

How to Make a 4-Course Restaurant Quality Meal at Home [The Kitchen McCabe]