I’ve been thinking a little ahead to the holidays already.  I know many of you are already on top of holiday planning but I’m generally not.  But this year is a little different for my family.  This is our first holiday with our new grandson so we know we’ll be sticking around the house and not travelling this year or attending many parties.  Of course, we still want to celebrate with friends and family but we’ll be wanting to do that in our home this year.  Since we know we’ll be having guests coming and going throughout the season, especially to visit the baby, I thought it would be nice to have an easy meal on hand.  And to make it more of an event, why not be the perfect hostess and serve hors dourves, an entree, wine, and dessert?  Sounds like a pretty daunting task, but I figured out how to make it simple, with a tasty meal, minimal dishes (only one pot!) and you can have it on the table in only 30 minutes!  Your guests will think you’re the perfect hostess!

As much as I’d like to keep this entertaining secret to myself, I decided to share this with all of you.  It’s really so simple and makes entertaining so easy.

Here’s all I did to put together this amazingly dinner for my guests…..

When I was browsing the aisles at Walmart, I noticed Barilla Pronto Pasta and thought I would try it since I’m such a fan of quick meals.  Pasta is the perfect meal for people-pleasing too so I stocked up on Barilla Pronto Pasta.  Barilla Pronto is an easy-to-prepare pasta ready in just minutes.  It’s prepared in one pan – no need to wait for water to boil and no draining is required.  Barilla Pronto Pasta makes pasta mealtime prep faster and easier – all in one pan!

With so many types of Barilla (spaghetti, penne, rotini, elbows, and linguine), it was tough to decide but I ultimately went with penne because it’s my daughter’s favorite.  My family loves Barilla pasta sauce too so I grabbed a jar of that.  The only other ingredients I needed were an onion, some spinach, Parmesan, and a bag of peeled, cooked shrimp.

All good parties start with hors dourves and so I started with Pepperidge Farm Cracker Trio.  I love the variety of crackers and it’s easy to add cheese, hummus or dip.  The different shapes and flavors of the crackers make them seem so much fancier than a regular box of crackers you might pull out of the pantry.  We always have cheese in the refrigerator so that’s an easy one for me to always have ready for guests.  After researching the perfect wine, I discovered that Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with seafood as well as cheese.  I picked up a bottle of Mark West Pinot Noir in the red wine area at Walmart.  After seeing the price, I was able to stock up to have wine on hand for unexpected visitors.

No meal is complete without dessert, and I discovered that Pepperidge Farm has two collections of cookies that are ideal for entertaining (or just eating :)).  I picked up a box of each since I couldn’t decide between the two!  These cookies are so delicious – your guests will have a hard time deciding too!

While the One Pot Shrimp Parmesan Pasta is cooking, I set out plates of cheese and crackers and some hummus.  I like to put out the Pepperidge Farm cookies as well.  Why not eat dessert first, right?

To make the One Pot Shrimp Parmesan Pasta:

These are the only ingredients needed: Barilla Pronto Penne Pasta, Barilla Marinara, chicken broth, onion, garlic, spinach, shrimp and Parmesan.

Dice the onion and garlic and sautee in a little olive oil until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.

Add in Barilla Pasta Sauce, chicken broth, and pasta.  Stir and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the pasta is easy to cut through with a fork (most of the liquid will be absorbed).

Stir in chopped spinach (I used about 3 cups but add more or less, depending on your taste – we love spinach) and cooked, peeled shrimp, and Parmesan and simmer for a few more minutes until spinach has wilted and shrimp is warm.

Now you’re ready to serve your guests and enjoy the company with a glass of Mark West Pinot Noir!

One Pot Shrimp Parmesan Pasta


1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
24 ounce jar Barilla pasta sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 box Barilla Pronto Pasta (I used penne)
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 lb. peeled and cooked shrimp
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant.
Pour in Barilla pasta sauce.
Add chicken broth and Barilla Pronto Pasta and stir.
Cook on medium 18-20 minutes until pasta is tender (most of the broth will be absorbed).
Add spinach, cooked shrimp and Parmesan and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted and shrimp is warm.
Pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir.

If you’re looking for simple entertaining ideas like this, be sure to visit the Simple Entertaining Hub here to find out about a tasting or pairing event at a Walmart near you!  Walmart is definitely my go-to place for holiday entertaining needs since I can get everything I need there – from the appetizer to the entree to dessert and even a great selection of super premium wine at a great price!

Be sure to check out more holiday entertaining ideas on Simple Entertaining.  I’d love to hear about your favorite holiday recipes, tips and tricks!

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