When the holidays leave you short on time and high on stress, entertaining can be daunting. With the right ingredients and a little planning, you can reduce the work load and free up time to spend with loved ones.

Start with a tip from smart Italians - when they entertain at home, their guests are welcomed with a platter of Prosciutto di Parma. The sublime, salty-sweet, thinly sliced ham is often accompanied by crisp breadsticks and fruit. It's an effortless but elegant crowd-pleaser that you can put together quickly.

If you'd like to try something even more impressive, but still surprisingly easy, consider a trio of simply elegant Parma-wrapped party bites. Each has a distinctive flavor profile, giving you ease and convenience and offering your guests a variety of tasty treats.

Prosciutto di Parma is readily available sliced-to-order in the deli department or pre-sliced in packages, at gourmet food stores and supermarkets. The Parma Crown, stamped on whole hams and on packages, is your guarantee of authenticity and quality. Only hams produced in the region around Parma, Italy, from specially bred Italian pigs, following a centuries old tradition of salt curing and passing quality tests by independent inspectors can bear the Parma Crown. In addition, Prosciutto di Parma belongs to an elite group of European products certified under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) system, an extra guarantee of authenticity.

Keep some on hand for unexpected guests or to keep the family out of the kitchen as they wait for the big meal.

To learn more about Prosciutto di Parma visit www.prosciuttodiparma.com/usa and watch this short video that shows how the world's most famous ham makes its way to your table. You can also join the conversation on the Prosciutto di Parma Facebook page for more ideas to make the holidays a little less stressful.

Trio of Parma-wrapped party bites
Parma-Wrapped Scallops
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces sea scallops, cut in 8 bite-sized pieces
4 slices Prosciutto di Parma, halved lengthwise
8 small arugula leaves

Directions:
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add oil. Saute scallops until opaque, turning once, about 5 minutes. Lay Prosciutto di Parma slices on flat surface; place an arugula leaf on each; top with a scallop. Roll and secure with picks.
Yield: 8 appetizers

Parma-Wrapped Avocado and Roasted Pepper
Ingredients:
4 slices Prosciutto di Parma
16 small slices jarred roasted red pepper, patted dry
1/2 fully ripened avocado from Mexico, cut into 8 pieces

Directions:
Lay Prosciutto di Parma slices on flat surface; top each with one red pepper slice; place avocado cubes on pepper slices; cover with remaining red pepper. Roll and secure with picks.
Yield: 8 appetizers

Parma-Wrapped Figs and Goat Cheese
Ingredients:
4 slices Prosciutto di Parma, halved lengthwise
8 small Belgian endive leaves
3 tablespoons goat cheese, room temperature2 large fresh figs, quartered or 1 small kiwi, peeled and quartered

Directions:
Lay Prosciutto di Parma slices on flat surface. Spread each endive leaf with generous teaspoon goat cheese. Nestle fig into leaf; place on Prosciutto slices. Roll and secure with picks. Garnish with chives, if desired.
Yield: 8 appetizersHow to use Prosciutto di Parma to make holiday entertaining easy
Category: Entertainment