Last Minute – Ordinary Meal!

One night, last week, we had an ordinary dinner, but with very special friends.

I didn’t know I would be having dinner guests – it just worked out that way. After a long day, our friends came to pick up their child, so we asked them to join our family for dinner.

I didn’t stress over what I was cooking, but I did think for a minute if I had enough food.

It reminds me of the question that one of my readers, Lisa, recently asked:

I would love to hear your tips on preparing for last minute or surprise guests. Years ago I had some recipes for meals that were completely from the pantry- but as I remember them they all tasted too canned and processed. I love having an item or two in the freezer, but I don’t have a large freezer so that’s a limited option for me and sometimes a hurried defrost affects the quality of the food. Any special hints or tips?

My originally-planned dinner was turkey breast, mashed potatoes and broccoli. I knew we could make the turkey breast stretch to feed another family because I usually buy this meat (Costco) knowing I can get 2 meals out of it! It’s easy to throw in a couple more potatoes, and I changed the broccoli to a large salad and pulled 2 loaves of bread out of the freezer to bake.

What do I Keep on Hand for Guests?
Here are some homemade items that I keep on hand, for last minute dinner guests:
Frozen lasagna
Frozen Potpie (just add fresh vegetable and crust, and then bake)
Turkey breast (kept in refrigerator)
Spaghetti Sauce (pre-made and frozen)
Ground turkey, already seasoned (frozen) to make FRESH enchiladas or tacos
Leftover meat (frozen) to make a “fresh” potpie or casserole

My fridge always has fresh veggies and salad greens, and I keep a loaf or two of Costco’s wheat bread in the freezer. (Remember all you have to do is bake a frozen loaf at 350, for 23 minutes? Crunchy and delicious!)

It was simple and tasty, Yes! But seriously, this ordinary meal was not the highlight of the evening at all, although we raved over the delicious, tender meat and fresh salad. The highlight was when we went around that table and shared about our day – all of us from ages 5 to 45 – and we laughed and laughed as we shared funny stories. Humor is always welcomed at our dinner table.

And what I love, is that it was another memory created for all of the kids. I’m so glad I was open to “last minute,” and I didn’t get hung up on all the “entertaining” details that could have overwhelmed me or bogged me down.

Do you feel like you are open to last minute guests, or do you feel like you need a certain amount of time to prepare?

35 comments on “Last Minute – Ordinary Meal!”

  1. This is the kind of event that would normally freak me out – unexpected guests for dinner. You make it look so simple to make just a few simple changes and suddenly it’s easy. I’m sure I’m never going to forget this post.

  2. Spur of the moment gatherings are usually the ones I cherish the most!

    I just found your blog, via Lady Dorothy’s.

    I’ll be visiting again!


  3. I am definitely not ready ‘food-wise’ for last-minute guests, but perhaps my husband is (he’s the one that cooks). I AM however ready to entertain them, I think. We haven’t had guests for a while…but it was great to read about yours!

  4. looks like a very nice dinner table for a spur of the moment thing…love it!


  5. Thank you for a great post! We do have last minute guests from time to time. Sometimes it’s for dinner, sometimes an impromptu lunch. Sometimes it’s just something as simple as having one of the mom’s from the school bus stop over after school for fresh baked cookies. That’s always fun because we get to chat while the kids can unwind from school and play together! I used to stress about it thinking everything had to be just perfect, but I realize now that people are more comfortable with imperfection!

    I’m so glad I found your blog. It’s very inspiring! I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my blogroll. I’d love to come back again for another visit!

    Have a great weekend,

  6. I LOVE the napkins!

  7. Ohhh! Last minute guests is a skill I definitely have to work on. Lots of ides in your post! Thanks!!

    Belinda (who is hosting a bible study on her blog – my first one! – come join me at

  8. Sandy,
    Thanks for addressing my question! You have great ideas and a great perspective. I love to plan ahead, but I want to remain flexible for those last minute “God appointments” and I agree that the fellowship is always so much more important than the refreshments! I have gotten away from the pre-prepped items in my freezer, and that is a great idea I should begin to do again. A package of cooked taco meat doesn’t take any more freezer space than a package of raw hamburger, but the meal pulls together so quickly.

    Thanks for helping us keep it simple and focus on the priorities!


  9. I often have unexpected guests. My husband is a college coach and he is often bringing a player home for dinner.

    And we seem to have one of those homes where people don’t feel the need to leave :) Even when we have playdates with the mom and kids, husband’s will call from work and end up coming over to join us for dinner.

    I love those nights….

  10. I loved Susan’s comment about inviting their elderly neighbor! Sweet!

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