10 Easy Recipes for Unexpected Guests

Not quite prepared for your friends to stop by? See more pictures of easy weeknight meals.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Being prepared for unexpected culinary challenges is one way to ensure that your surprise guests will be well-fed when they drop in for a visit. When you're working on a tight budget or dealing with an insanely rushed schedule, having a few reliable recipes on hand can transform even lackluster cooking skills into kitchen wizardry and delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts. Consider your pantry a magic bag of tricks, and make sure it's stocked with a few staples, like sauce bases and a variety of spices, that can dress up a meal.

If you think entertaining means home cooking, unexpected guests can spell stress and spark resentment. To avoid the hassle, fill your recipe file with simple dishes that come together fast and contain ingredients you can either find easily or keep on hand.