When it comes to the holidays I put my focus one place: family.
Our traditions have deep roots and I look forward to them each and every year. Some of these include, but are not limited to, making up our own lines to the 12 Days of Christmas using silly (and sometimes downright obscene) imagery and coming up with celebrities to write on the gift tag “from” lines. I can’t remember how many Justin Timberlakes or Taylor Hansons I got as a preteen.
These extraordinarily fun pieces of my family are what make the holidays whole for me.
It didn’t really hit me until the past few years just how easy it is to miss out on these moments if you’re the one preparing the food. *Flashback to me stuffing my face at the appetizer table without a care in the world*
So, I went out on a mission to create a quick meal that won’t steal me away from family time for more than 20 minutes.
But first I needed a glass of wine.
First rule of Italian family cooking: eat while you cook. Have you ever wondered why your mom and grandma come to the holiday table and push a single piece of food around the plate for a couple hours while trying to hand everyone else seconds, thirds, and fourths? There’s your answer.
Second rule of Italian family cooking: red wine is a must. That glass I mentioned a bit ago? It was Estancia Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, which just so happens to pair exceptionally well with my chosen meal of the night: Balsamic Glazed Penne with Sundried Tomatoes, Basil, and Goat Cheese.
Expert tip: I stopped at Walmart to pick up the wine (huge selection at a great price) and some Pepperidge Farm cookies for after dinner, but also left with a box of Barilla Pronto Pasta. If you haven’t cooked with this pasta already, you’re going to want to try it. You put the pasta in the pot before you even turn on the stove, add cold water, and set the timer for 10 minutes. You don’t wait for the water to boil before adding to the pot or drain the pasta afterwards. It’s a serious time saver!
Now that the table was set, I plated the pasta.
I love the way the red, white, and green in this dish look on my holiday table. Here’s my recipe:
After dinner I plated up the Pepperidge Farm Cookie Collection for a no fuss dessert that still looked beautiful and were gone in seconds.
These are the products to look for when you head to the store as well as which aisles to find them in.
For information on upcoming wine tastings and Barilla and Pepperidge Farm demos through the holiday season, visit the Simple Entertaining Hub here.
Do you have any quirky family traditions? Let me know in the comments!