A classic Thanksgiving constraint is lack of oven space. So consider making dishes you won’t have to bake or roast. Or, create a faux oven on your grill outside. And make use of all sorts of non-traditional appliances like toaster ovens, slow cookers, and even instant pots (about which I know nearly nothing) to get things done!
Set a pizza stone or unglazed tiles atop grill grates over a medium-low flame, close the lid, and let it preheat. That can more or less approximate a 325°F oven, perfect for gentle roasting, toasting, and keeping things warm.
Make stock in an instant pot!
Use toaster oven to toast nuts, croutons, and keep things warm.
Use slow cooker to keep soup or gravy warm, or rig it up as a double boiler to keep mashed potatoes warm.
The trick is to spread out tasks that take lots of time, lots of oven space, lots of stove space, or make big messes so that you aren't out of space at the last minute. So choosing dishes that reheat well, or that taste good served at room temperature, is crucial to making Thursday go smoothly.
Here are a few ways to work ahead:
Make pie dough and freeze
If using a frozen turkey, defrost so you can season or brine it on Tuesday
Make turkey or chicken stock and freeze for gravy
Buy bread to use for stuffing, or make cornbread for stuffing
Season or brine turkey
Make cranberry sauce
Wash herbs, greens and lettuces
Roast pumpkin for pie if using fresh squash
Measure out ingredients for pecan pie filling, pumpkin pie filling, etc.
Tear croutons for stuffing and dry out in oven
Clean green beans
Peel potatoes and keep whole in water
Peel onions and carrots that you might use in any dishes, such as creamed corn, creamed spinach, stuffing, etc.
Make any caramel sauces or things like that that you might need to garnish desserts
If you're insane enough to want to make homemade ice cream, get it in the freezer by tonight.
If you are using fresh chestnuts, get them boiled and peeled.
Pull turkey out of fridge to come up to room temp
Blind bake pie crust, bake pie
Brown sausage or bacon for stuffing
Prep vegetables--trim and halve Brussels sprouts, peel squash, peel any root vegetables, clean and trim cauliflower or broccoli, etc.
Roast vegetables that might need roasting--these do well at room temperature!
Cook off onions or any mirepoix
Make creamed spinach--this reheats well!
Do anything like seeding pomegranates, peeling persimmons, toasting nuts, or making vinaigrette that might be necessary for the salad
Heading into the afternoon and dinner time
Roast the turkey
Make the gravy with turkey drippings
Bake off pies
Make mashed potatoes and keep warm in double boiler
Assemble and bake stuffing/dressing
Right before dinner
Reheat dishes that need to be reheated, like soups, creamed spinach, or gravy
Toss the salad greens
Carve the turkey