Anyone who has been a spouse or mother for more than a day has realized there is always someone wanting you to cook something. You’re lucky if someone didn’t make a request for you to cater your own wedding! It’s really enjoyable making dishes for your family and their many functions because well, baking is fun! Ideally, you will have enough notice that you can attempt to convince your “customers” that you are the blessed love child of Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker. However, as most mothers know, it is more likely that you will instead get a call at 4:45 p.m. requesting your self-touted baking skills for the event taking place at 7 p.m.

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This can be a pretty common occurrence, and if that happens to you, know that you are not alone! First, you might consider just handing over your last night’s leftovers. I mean, that is what you were going to eat after all, but then again, on better judgment, you might want to fall back on one of these great tips for last-minute dishes!

Have a couple standby recipes. Three to four recipes that have previously been a hit are always good to have on hand. Make sure that the recipes are simple enough that you’ll always have the ingredients in your pantry. You won’t have to worry about making a hurried trip to the store and you already know that the recipe is sure to please. If you aren’t sure which of your creations are the showstoppers, just ask your husband! He will definitely have an opinion.

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Find recipes that use ingredients you already have in the house. You can be a little more creative this way and find a recipe that reflects the event you are going to. Supercook is an example of a recipe finder based upon all the ingredients you already have. This does require a well-stocked pantry, but it also avoids a hectic shopping trip. It also allows you to cook based upon your taste buds’ preferences (which is always more fun)!

The freezer is a mom’s best friend. There are many recipes that freeze well, and you might like to spend a weekend a month cooking a few of these ahead of time.  Make sure and clearly mark your meal with an “eat by” date so that it doesn’t get that dreaded freezer burn before you get the chance to enjoy it. Check out our freezer friendly meats.

Scout out a great bakery or café. When all else fails and there’s no way that your kids are going to give the necessary notice for you to whip something up, pick up a little something that you love from a healthy options eatery. Not only will this save you the stress of throwing something together, you can also take the opportunity to treat yourself as well as the folks you are going to spend the evening with. While not the most cost-effective option, your local find can keep you sane enough to enjoy your evening out.

>> Read More: 20 Best Cooking Tips to Save Time, Money and Sanity

The last-minute event can be an absolute terror for a mother, especially if she is expected to prepare a beautiful meal. However, with a little bit of creativity and a deep breath, you can tackle anything from snack time to a company function!