Feeding unexpected guests can pose a real challenge! Chances are good that anyone who drops by without notice does not expect you to have a meal ready to serve to them. However, with just a little planning, you can always be prepared to welcome unexpected guests with delicious snacks or a quick meal.
The majority of adults will happily accept a cup of coffee or tea. In addition to regular coffee, it is nice to have decaf on hand for guests who avoid caffeine. Regular black tea along with a sampler box of assorted herbal teas is sufficient variety for most guests. Be sure to always keep sugar and cream on hand. If cream is not normally used in your household, you can purchase a small shelf stable box of cream to stash in your pantry for guests.
Dinner in a Flash
Next time you are making spaghetti and meatballs, prepare a double batch of meatballs and sauce and then store the extra in your freezer. Stash some extra pasta in your pantry, and you will be all set to serve homemade spaghetti and meatballs at a moments notice! Keep a loaf of Italian bread in the freezer, and easily transform it into garlic bread in the time it takes for the pasta to boil! Not only is this a great meal to have on hand for unexpected guests, but it can also make life easier any day there is no time to cook!
Snacks and Treats
It is simple enough to break out some chips and canned dip for guests, but with just a little more effort, you can impress them with hot, freshly made snacks.
Frozen puff pastry sheets are incredibly versatile, and can form the base for all sorts of dishes. Not only is it versatile, but it produces results that look as good as they taste. There is no limit to the recipes you can create using puff pastry! Below are a few tried and true favorites to get you started.
Olive Tapenade Pinwheels
Let the puff pastry sheets thaw for a half hour or so, until they are pliable but still very cold. Lay the sheets out flat, and spread jarred olive tapenade over each puff pastry sheet. Cover each sheet evenly, leaving a 1/2 inch margin around the edges. Start from one edge and tightly roll each sheet up. Put the whole thing in the freezer to chill for twenty minutes or so. Then cut the roll into half-inch slices, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until nicely browned.
Use the same technique as with the olive pinwheels, but instead of tapenade, top the pastry with tomato sauce, Italian herbs, and mozzarella cheese.
Easy Dessert Pastry
Let the puff pastry sheets thaw until pliable but still cold. Lay the sheets flat and use a sharp knife to cut each sheet into thirds- just cut right down the fold marks. Then cut each section in half so you have 6 rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally, so you end up with 12 triangles. Place the triangles on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely.
Prepare a box of instant pudding using the package directions. Using a sharp knife, slice the very top layer off of each baked pastry triangle. Remove any excess pastry inside, leaving a hollowed out shell. Fill with pudding, and then replace the pastry tops. Finish by drizzling them with a sauce that complements the pudding flavor, such as chocolate syrup or caramel sauce. You can make these look really impressive by topping with a squirt of whipped cream and a cherry!