You're hosting the holiday meal, but your place is tiny? No problem. This traditional feast is big on style and flavor, but features time and space-saving tricks.
Kitchen Crowd
Kitchen Crowd
| Credit: Lee Harrelson

In my condo, kitchen space, storage, and dining room chairs are three things I don't have enough of, but that doesn't mean a home-cooked meal for friends and family is an unrealistic idea. A bit of creativity, optimizing the space I do have, and help from my sister make this holiday meal manageable.

Traditional fare is a must, but in my small kitchen, oven space is limited. To compensate, I'm making both the dressing and the sweet potato casserole in a slow cooker. (I have one; my sister is supplying the second.) And since I'm not having a huge crowd, I'm roasting a turkey breast–it's done in about an hour, and there won't be lots of leftovers taking up valuable refrigerator space.

Make-ahead recipes are also a big help. The dessert, Pumpkin Ice Cream Torte with Ginger Crust, is a great replacement for pumpkin pie and takes one thing off my to-do list on the day of the get-together. A quick side dish made on the stovetop and store-bought rolls easily round out the menu.

I don't have room to seat eight people at one table, so we'll dine with our lap trays in the living room. For a little extra room, I'm setting up a table and two chairs (again, compliments of my sister) on my screened porch. It's much more informal this way, which suits my style.

The size of my kitchen makes planning for a big holiday dinner challenging but not impossible. The key is a menu that doesn't overwhelm you or your space and a fun and easy-going group of friends and family that make any meal memorable.