How to throw a last-minute dinner gathering - on a budget. Have you ever found yourself needing to host last-minute dinner guests? This situation can be stressful – especially if you don’t have any food in the house.

But you needn’t stress out too much: all you need is an hour to get a delicious, dinner-party-ready meal on the table.

Why should you trust me? Because I did it the other day.

Let’s be real: It’s not always possible to cook from scratch. As much as I love finding inspiration on blogs and Pinterest, I probably only cook a “fancy” homemade meal once or twice a week. The rest of the time, I’m scrambling to put something together.

I take advantage of quality ready-made foods and frozen meals. My standards are pretty high, and I choose healthy options whenever possible. I seek out products with real ingredients.

One I recently tried and liked was the White Wine Chicken with Couscous from SMARTMADE™ by SmartOnes (R). I used this product as the main course for my last-minute dinner. It was a hit. SmartMade meals can serve as the base for a nice dinner. Click through for more ideas!

How To Be Prepared For Any Last-Minute Dinner

Need to get an impressive dinner on the table ASAP? There’s no need to panic. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it simple: More dishes mean more time, cost, and complexity. Stick to a main course and a side.
  • Keep your pantry well-stocked: Use your pantry, fridge, and freezer to their full potential. Have ingredients on hand with specific meals in mind.
  • Assemble – don’t cook: There is a time and a place for scratch cooking. A last-minute, on-the-fly dinner is not it. Choose high quality, ready-made foods such as frozen dinners and salad kits. Spend your time assembling your food instead of cooking from scratch.

Creating a last-minute dinner on the fly. Click through for instructions and ideas!

Prepared Foods Are Your Best Friend

If you need to make a meal on-the-fly, look for ready-made products in the grocery store.

I started in the frozen foods aisle and picked up a couple of boxes of SMARTMADE™ White Wine Chicken with Couscous meals.

I like this particular product because it’s made with real ingredients that I can pronounce. This dish is something I would typically try to make homemade, but you know – real life.

I also got a can of butternut squash soup, a salad kit, and some dinner rolls. All of the items I purchased were delicious – and ready to eat.

All in all, I spent less than $20.00. Not bad, considering I fed three people a really good meal – and the whole thing took less than one hour to throw together.

What’s your favorite quick dinner-party-ready recipe?