Simple ways to savor the holidays

(BPT) – The season of tinsel, mistletoe, roasts, bake-offs, parties and countless shopping trips is upon us. Yes, the holidays are here! It’s a wonderful time of year to revive old traditions and start new ones, but amid all the planning, preparation and spreading of that holiday cheer, sometimes life can get a little crazed. Nobody says you have to leave shortcuts at the door, so make things easy on yourself and savor the season with these helpful holiday tips and food inspirations.

Playing host? Get out of that kitchen!

If your menu includes dishes with more than 10 ingredients and desserts with names you can’t even pronounce, skip it. You’ll be so busy prepping and keeping an eye on things in the kitchen you won’t be able to enjoy your guests. Rather, stick to a menu that’s both delicious and simple to make. Nothing is easier – or more tempting – than these sauced Hot Honey Glazed Meatballs and Grape Chili Sauced Meatballs, new from Farm Rich. Bake, toss and serve!

‘Cocktail Meatballs have been one of my simple entertaining secret weapons for years,’ said Elizabeth Heiskell, TODAY Show Food Contributor. ‘These Farm Rich Sauced Meatballs make putting out a gourmet spread so easy. My guests and clients absolutely love them!’

What can I bring?

Rule of thumb: Never show up to a party or gathering empty-handed. Wine is wonderful but so are Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks. Four ingredients – Mozzarella Sticks, basil, prosciutto and marinara – and 20 minutes, and you’ll be on your way! You can get the full recipe here and consider packaging these up in a festive container to add a touch more holiday cheer to the table. Find other recipe ideas for what to bring to a holiday party and all of life’s many occasions in Heiskell’s new cookbook, What Can I Bring?

A few festive touches and done!

There can be a lot of pressure to make things look perfect, including an impeccably clean home and elaborate holiday decor. This year, let simplicity be your guide – and never turn down a little help. Focus on what’s important and don’t go crazy. Let the turkey be the star with a beautiful serving tray. Decorate your front door with a simple wreath or big silver bells with a festive ribbon tied to the doorknob. Keep the table centerpiece simple and seasonal by mixing clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a large glass container or grouping of three.

Have some fun with edible crafts

You may have thought a lot about how to decorate your table or tree, but how about decorating the plate with a Holiday Meatball Pizza Tree, which the kids can help assemble? All you need are your favorite pizza toppings, store-bought pizza dough, cornmeal, marinara sauce and 10 Farm Rich meatballs. Here’s how to make it:

  • Divide the 1-pound ball of dough into 11 pieces, rolling each one into a small, flat circle.
  • On a cornmeal-dusted parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange each of the 11 circles into the shape of a holiday tree.
  • Spread marinara over the ‘tree’ and add a frozen meatball to each piece (except for on the bottom).
  • Top with mozzarella balls and other pizza toppings. A yellow bell pepper makes a great star too!
  • Place in oven that’s been preheated to 375 degrees and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • The pizza tree, served with marinara for dipping, is easy to pull apart and fun to eat, even for adults!

For more simple ways to savor the holiday season, visit and enjoy this special time of year with your loved ones!

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