holiday table setting with red glasses

Small Kitchen, Big Feast? Holiday Cooking Tips for a Small Kitchen

December 3, 2012 | Apartment Lifestyle, Everyday Living

If your tiny kitchen has you worried about how to swing the big holiday meal, you’re not alone. Many of us in rental apartments grapple with limited space; and not just in the kitchen. During the holidays, don’t let the lack of kitchen space, or personal space, for that matter, get you down as the family arrives for the big celebration. Instead, use these five tips, from a group of foodies at Rent.com, to plan your best holiday ever.

Tips for a Small Kitchen:

  • Give Big Bird the Night Off: You know what they say? Big bird, big oven. A big bird in a small oven is a bad idea for technical reasons, trust us, don’t try it. Consider cooking two smaller birds (chicken or turkey) instead of one large one. It takes less time to cook two smaller birds then one big one which leaves you with more time to get those side dishes in there! Or, have a holiday ham which you can serve at room temperature. If you just can’t give up your dream of the big shiny butterball, tell your inner control-freak to zip it and ask someone to bring the turkey!
  • Plan a Menu that Uses All of Your Tiny Kitchen: Think carefully about your menu. You want a grouping of dishes that require different cooking methods so that you aren’t totally dependent on your one tiny oven. If every dish requires the oven you are going to end up hot under the collar over serving your guests cold food. Work out a menu of recipes that can be prepared on the stove top, that don’t require cooking at all or that can be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature. Oven roasted vegetables can be re-heated using the microwave with no ill-effect. Mashed potatoes and stuffing ares stove top fare and a refreshing salad is a nice counter balance to the standard holiday carb fest.
  • Realize There is No Shame in Store Bought: We’ve all been there. It’s down-right hard work cooking for a crowd. Why not take a little help where you can get it. Purchase a few side dishes that you can heat in the microwave or on the stove top to keep your tiny kitchen, and your sanity, from crumbling under the pressure. Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s or your local gourmet grocer have so many fantastic, “just like home-made” options these days. When the compliments roll in just say, thank you, it was my pleasure!
  • Put Pot-Luck On Your Side:This tip is also great for those who have tiny budgets to go along with their tiny apartment kitchens! Outline the type of menu you’d like to have and then ask each of your guests to bring something. If you’ve been inspired by holiday cooking magazines then go for it, just email the recipes around. Just makes sure you the save any challenging recipes for the more advanced cooks in the group, you don’t want to stress anyone out. Going pot luck is a great way to ease the pressure on your pocketbook and your tiny kitchen.
  • Leverage Small Appliances for Big Impact: There are slow cookers and electric roasters that can fit a whole turkey, cook your stuffing and more. If you need more cooking capacity then try an electric grill, griddle or skillet, all you need is an outlet and you’re ready! Portable burners can add more fire power if you need it and don’t forget the toaster oven, great for roasting nuts and other small jobs. Try borrowing these things from your foodie friends if you don’t want to purchase them.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from Rent.com!

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