It’s your turn to host Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving this year and you really want to go that extra mile to make it a special one, but you live in an apartment home with one oven. Can it be done?
Absolutely! Apartment living doesn’t mean you can’t be an organized and graceful host. The goal will be to serve your beautiful dinner at its ideal temperature in a comfortable setting. We are here to help with some tips to help make it work!
A successful hot dinner involves a great plan. The idea here is to make this dinner special but on your terms. No one wants to arrive and be greeted by a frazzled host, so make a smart plan that doesn’t involve too much stress and anxiety.
First, set a serving time that is best for you and make sure everyone knows when they can expect to eat. A standard Camden apartment home is spacious and can comfortably host a dinner party of 10-12 guests. A 15 lb. turkey should be enough to feed 12 adults and should take around 4 hours if cooked at 325 degrees.
The rest time for the turkey is the key to your success. It is recommended that a roast turkey rests for about 45 minutes, plus you'll need about 10-15 minutes to cut and plate the turkey for serving.
An hour is plenty of time to cook your side dishes. With the cook time set, you can choose side dishes that need baking (or reheating) in the time it takes for the turkey to rest.
Decide what you should make ahead of time and what is best prepared closer to mealtime
There are some great Thanksgiving dishes that you can prepare ahead with reheat or cook times that fit right into the time it takes for the turkey to rest, and don’t forget you also have a stove and microwave you can utilize.
Also, consider using a toaster oven if you have one. They are great for warming up dinner rolls, and they don't take up too much counter space.
Try to choose as many make-ahead dishes as you can. This will allow for more socializing with your guests before serving time. Think about it - sitting with your friends with a glass of wine in hand and enjoying their company for 30 to 45 minutes while your sides cook and your turkey rests, Best - Friendsgiving - Ever!
Consider your space
You've decided which sides to prepare and found some creative recipes that leave the stress of having one oven a thing of the past. It's time to consider your refrigerator, cooking, and serving spaces.
Before you go shopping for ingredients and supplies, be sure to make space in your refrigerator and freezer. You'll need to not only store the ingredients, but you'll also need to have baking and cookware for the sides you are making ahead.
Foil bakeware is popular this time of year and can be found at most grocery and department stores. The best thing about the foil bakeware is that it is great for quick and easy cleanup. Buy the sizes of bakeware ideal for the side dish recipe that can also fit with 2 or 3 other sides in your oven. Remember, they will need to stack nicely in your fridge and or freezer until the big day, so get the ones that come with lids.
Now let's talk about counter space. You can create zones designated for food prep, serving, and space for wine, cocktails and light snacks. Consider getting a few small, festive decorations. They will liven up your countertops and bring an element of fun. With 10-12 guests, you probably won't have enough space at your table for everyone to sit, so create some other eating spaces around your living room so everyone can eat together.
A spacious kitchen at Camden Spring Creek apartments
Room to gather in a Camden Downtown kitchen and living room space
Set up your Friendsgiving buffet on the raised countertop bar at Camden Greenway
Serve warm cookies and hot cocoa for dessert
You have great friends, and they are going to want to help, but you got this! They may bring wine and other desserts to share. You’ve done such a great job at planning a beautiful dinner, so keep that vibe going with some warm cookies.
Look for make-ahead cookie dough recipes that will have your friends raving about what a fantastic cook you are. Put the cookies in the oven and heat some milk and cream for the hot cocoa (throw a few cinnamon sticks in the milk while it is warming to spice things up a bit). They will be so impressed and thankful; you will have clean dishes and a spotless kitchen before the night is over.
Enjoy time with friends and family
A great Friendsgiving dinner party is going to take some smart planning and a lot of prep work, but it doesn't have to be stressful, and more importantly, you don't need to worry about pulling off a beautiful meal with only one oven.