Quick and Easy Meals to Whip Up for Unexpected Company

Recipes that can be made in minutes, using your store cupboard staples, for when guests turn up unannounced

Quick and Easy Meals to Whip Up for Unexpected Company

Impromptu dinner parties can make for the most fun, relaxed evenings. A night-in watching Netflix suddenly transforms into a fun and tasty evening spent with your most loved family and friends (because hopefully no one you don’t know well is going to turn up at your front door unannounced). However, the matter of providing dinner for these surprise guests can be challenging. You’re reluctant to order takeout, but can’t think what you could make with the current contents of your refrigerator. Next time a dinner party springs itself on you, these quick and easy meals are here to help.

Butternut Squash Ravioli in Thyme Brown Butter Sauce

Head out and buy some ravioli from your nearest store, or make sure to always keep a packet in your freezer, for the best cheat’s dinner party dish. Serve them in this nutty, fragrant brown butter sauce for the quickest, simplest, and most impressive dinner.

For the Butternut Squash Ravioli in Thyme Brown Butter Sauce recipe, click here.

Chilled Pea and Mint Soup

Chilled Pea and Mint Soup

Maryse Chevriere

This elegant summer appetizer can be made in a matter of minutes, and you almost certainly already have all the ingredients you need. Simply blend everything the together and serve with a garnish of yogurt.

For the Chilled Pea and Mint Soup recipe, click here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo Modified: Flickr / Kimberly Vardeman / CC BY 4.0

Make this chocolate chip cookie dough now, roll it into a log shape, and keep it in the freezer. That way, you’re always 15 minutes away from being able to serve homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. For an even more decadent treat, sandwich a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two freshly baked cookies.

For the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, click here.

Grilled Chicken With Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

This simple grilled chicken dish is packed full of flavor. Serve it with a simple green salad and some crunchy bread for a hearty, French-inspired dinner.

For the Grilled Chicken With Mustard-Tarragon Sauce recipe, click here.

Iced Berries With Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce

Iced Berries With Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce

Photo Modified: Flickr / Essie / CC BY 4.0

Rather than serving store-bought ice cream at the end of your impromptu dinner party, impress your guests with this fruity dessert. The frozen berries are doused in a spiked, melted white chocolate sauce, which transforms the berries into the most indulgent sweet treat.

For the Iced Berries With Limoncello White Chocolate Sauce recipe, click here.

Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Maryse Chevriere

Adding vodka to your classic, creamy tomato sauce makes it even more intensely flavored, and gives it an extra warming kick. This pasta dish makes a quick and easily improvised dinner, which every hungry guest will love.

For the Penne alla Vodka recipe, click here.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Thinkstock

This risotto is made with dry porcini mushrooms, which require little preparation, and which last for ages, so make sure you always keep a packet in your cupboard for all these dinner party emergencies!

For the Porcini Mushroom Risotto recipe, click here.

Raspberry Aperol Ice Cream Float

Raspberry Aperol Ice Cream Float

Shutterstock

Add some pizazz to that ice cream dessert by serving it as a very grownup ice cream float. A generous splash of Aperol has never failed to improve any dinner party 

 improvised or not.

For the Raspberry Aperol Ice Cream Float recipe, click here.

Rice Noodles With Pork and Black Bean Sauce

Rice noodles are a really quick cooking carbohydrate, which makes them the perfect base for your impromptu dinner party. The fermented black bean sauce is so flavorful on its own that you barely need to do anything when using it to cook the tastiest dinner.

For the Rice Noodles With Pork and Black Bean Sauce recipe, click here. 

Seared Scallops With Pea Purée

Seared Scallops With Pea Purée

Jane Bruce

Keep scallops and peas in your freezer, and you’ll always be well-prepared to cook an impressive improvised dinner in minutes. Gently sear the scallops and serve them on a delicate pea purée for a professional-looking dinner party dish that is deceptively simple.

For the Seared Scallops With Pea Purée recipe, click here.

Shrimp Pasta

Shrimp Pasta

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No one will notice that you’ve used frozen shrimp to make this elegant pasta dish. Packed full of citrus flavors and garnished with fresh herbsthis summertime dinner will be ready in under 30 minutes. Just one mouthful will transport you to the sunny Italian coast.

For the Shrimp Pasta recipe, click here.

Simple Summer Strawberry Tart

Simple Summer Strawberry Tart

Shutterstock

When you’re stressing about what to cook for your unexpected guests, a homemade tart may not be what springs to mind. But by using store-bought puff pastry, we promise that the hardest part about making this dessert is slicing the strawberries.

For the Simple Summer Strawberry Tart recipe, click here.  

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

You can never go wrong with this classic pasta dish. It’s loved by everyone, and needs very few ingredients, all of which you probably already have on hand.

For the Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe, click here.