Unexpected guests, while a welcome surprise, can bring on a little bit of stress. Especially so if you do not really have a lot of food in the house, or just have not had a chance to go grocery shopping yet. While it might be a little nerve-wracking to host with so little resources on hand, it does not have to be that way! There are lots of fun, quick and easy snacks you can make at home when last-minute guests arrive. Here are some ideas:
1. Spiced up popcorn
Popcorn is a pretty simple and easy snack in and of itself for unexpected guests, but why not dress it up a bit to give it a kick? That way, it is more interesting and does not seem as rushed. Top off microwaved popcorn with some melted butter and some spicy seasoning. Old Bay works well, or you can simply mix up some cayenne pepper and paprika as well to dust it off. Black pepper and parmesan also work for a cheesy twist.
2. Bread, tea, and jam
Usually, a lot of breakfast essentials can be repurposed for evening and tea-time visits. If you have nice bread left from breakfast, such as rolls or a loaf of sourdough, that will work. Even if you have regular sliced bread, you can cut these up into little triangles with the crusts cut off for a British high-tea style look. Pair with some jam, butter, and a kettle of tea for a posh snack that doesn’t take too much time to prep.
3. Fry up some bananas
A little unconventional perhaps, but it works - especially if you have bananas that are slightly overripe. Usually, the recommendation is to use overripe bananas for banana bread, but this will do in a pinch if you don’t have time. Simply cut up bananas into small, round slices. Mix some sugar, cinnamon and other spices you might desire (nutmeg works, but you could also add a very small pinch of ginger - think Christmas spices for this mixture) in a separate bowl. All you need to do is cook the rounds and sprinkle half the mixture. Halfway through, turn the slices and add the remaining mixture and you are ready to go. The full recipe can be found here.
4. Cut up some fruit
Fruits are another quick and easy snack you can’t go wrong with. To make it a little special, add some different dipping sauces and powders for an interesting twist. For example, you can pair apples and bananas with some Nutella or chocolate-based dipping. For fruits such as watermelon, guavas, or pears, a sprinkling of red chili powder and a dash of lemon juice can do the trick. If you can serve a variety of sweet and spicy, that will make it even better.
5. Jazz up some crackers
Items like Ritz crackers and biscuits tend to be a staple in most pantries. While it might be tempting to serve these as is, there are lots of small things you can do to make them a little more exciting for last-minute guests. A small dollop of pasta sauce, a little bit of cheese and a little bit of time in the oven (5 minutes at high heat) is all they need to be served. Add some oregano and basil for a herbal touch.
Prep some snacks that can be frozen
Lastly, another recommendation is to keep some frozen items that are ready to go if these scenarios pop up often. One of the easiest suggestions is to keep some frozen cookie dough balls on hand for these moments that can be quickly heated up and served. Or having a small bag of tea cookies and biscuits in the pantry is also a quick solution. Next time you go grocery shipping, pick up a small bag of snacks that can easily stored in the pantry. Picking up one item during a grocery trip every few weeks is a great way to add it to your routine and have items on-hand that can be served alongside other quick snacks for a mini unexpected feast!
Last-minute guests are always welcome, but it can be a little stressful. With these quick and easy snacks, you can ensure that guests are happy without making them feel unwelcome or discouraged from visiting again. Keeping some of the key ingredients on hand, such as long-lasting pantry items, helps ensure that you are always prepared for unexpected guests!