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The holiday season is in full swing and that means holiday parties, entertaining, and visiting with friends and family. Every year we have a holiday party and it's always fun to see what people bring us. We've gotten bottles of wine and liquor, a juicer with limes, and even a bird feeder! I love receiving a creative hostess gift and that means when I go to a holiday party I like to take something creative as well.
Since the holidays are a crazy time, one of my favorite things to give a hostess is a holiday meal in a basket. I know this sounds like a lot of work to give the gift of an entire meal but I assure you it is easier then you think!
Last weekend I went to Walmart because it's my go-to place for all my holiday entertaining needs and it's a one stop shop which makes my life easier. The first thing I looked at were wines. Every good gift basket needs a delicious wine and Walmart has a great selection of premium wine available at a great price. In this case I bought two Robert Modavi Private Selection wines. I chose a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon because they are popular wines and pair well with pasta which is my go to hostess meal.
Speaking of pasta, next up on my list was the main course. I chose a box of Barilla Pronto Pasta Penne. I love Barilla Pronto Pasta because it makes a delicious one pot meal. There is no need to drain it which makes it even easier! To go along with the pasta I thought a jar of my homemade tomato sauce would be awesome. People love homemade gifts so this is just an added touch.
Moving on I wanted to get something that my hostess could enjoy as an appetizer and something for dessert. I found both of these with Pepperidge Farm. The Pepperidge Farm Cracker Trio is one of my favorites at the holidays. They are great on their own but even better with a tasty cheese. I figured if I provided the crackers, my hostess could grab her favorite cheese. Next to the crackers were Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Cookie Collection. I say every dessert needs a little chocolate and this would be the perfect ending to a delicious meal plus it would pair well with the wines I chose.
After choosing all the ingredients for a delicious holiday hostess basket I had just one task left. I needed to find a basket for all of my ingredients plus some tissue paper to stuff in the basket. I went to the other side of the store and found a basket that was super cute and held all of my ingredients. Since it's a hostess gift for a holiday party I bought some red and white tissue paper as well.
When I got home putting the basket together was easy. I always start by putting tissue paper into the bottom of the basket. This gives the front and back of the basket some color. I placed the bottles of wine in the back of the basket, one in each corner. I then took a piece of tissue paper and wrapped the base of two wine glasses to put in between the bottles of wine. I like adding wine glasses because it's something my hostess can keep plus the tissue paper keeps them from breaking.
From there it's simply a matter of fitting in the other ingredients. I managed to put the Pepperidge Farm Cracker Trio, Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Cookie Collection, and Barilla Pronto Pasta in the basket. I then slipped in a jar of my homemade tomato sauce along with a recipe for One Pot Penne with Meat Sauce and I was finished! I created a wonderful holiday meal in a basket that didn't break my budget and that was easy to put together. This is a fabulous gift for any hostess this holiday season!
- 12 oz. Barilla Pronto Pasta Penne
- 1 t. salt
- 2 c. homemade tomato sauce (or your favorite Barilla Pasta sauce)
- 1 c. ground beef, cooked
- 1 t. oregano
- 1 t. black pepper
- Parmesan Cheese
- Pour the box of penne into a large skillet along with 3 cups of cold water.
- Sprinkle salt over the pasta and set a timer to 10 minutes.
- Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the tomato sauce, ground beef, oregano, and black pepper.
- Continue to stir and cook in the sauce until the desired consistency is reached.
- Divide between 4 bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.
Want to learn more about holiday entertaining? Make sure you visit the Simple Entertain Hub HERE to find out about a Barilla or Pepperidge Farm tasting or a wine pairing event at a Walmart near you!