Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage

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Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage www.RadMomCoolKid.com

This Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage is one of our favorite weeknight meals because it is super easy to make, lasts two nights, and everybody in the fam likes it!

As the kids have gotten older the after-school activities have gotten more intense. Between piano, dance, soccer, cub scouts, and activity days we are always headed somewhere. Wednesday night is the crazy night where we have multiple activities going on and no time to make dinner. We ALWAYS make a big meal on Tuesday so we can eat a healthy, home-cooked dinner at some point during the craziness that is Wednesday!

Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage www.RadMomCoolKid.com

Baked Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage

1 lb. penne pasta (we like this mini version)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1-2 carrots, sliced thin
4 oz. mushrooms (our kids are shroom-phobic so we either dice them super small so they don’t notice or cut them in big slices so they can pick them out)
4 cloves garlic, minced (we love garlic)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (we buy a package with 5 links, divide it, freeze half)
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 jar pasta sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil pasta in a large pot until al dente. Reserve 1/2 c. pasta water, drain pasta.

While pasta is cooking:

Cook sausage in a large, oven-safe skillet. Break the sausage into bite-sized pieces with a spoon as it cooks. When it is cooked through remove and reserve it in a bowl.

In the same pan, saute onion, carrots, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds.

Add cooked sausage to vegetables, stir in sun dried tomatoes, pasta and pasta sauce.

Top with cheese and place in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

This meal is great with a big green salad and some yummy bread. We usually buy a loaf of French bread from WalMart – it’s about $1 for a huge loaf that lasts our family of 5 for 2 meals!

*A note about the oven-safe skillet – Luke and I are still using the set of Belgique stainless steel, copper bottom pans we got for our wedding. They are great quality and we use every pan in our set often. We have a 12-piece set similar to this set, except ours has copper bottoms, like this set. When it comes to pots and pans you get what you pay for – the steep price tags up front are worth it, though, as our first set has been used daily since 2003 and is still in perfect condition!

We recently started collecting some Calphalon hard-anodized pots and pans and I’m very happy with the quality, too.

Marshmallow Oatmeal Caramelitas

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Marshmallow Oatmeal Caramelitas www.radmomcoolkid.com

Once upon a time we were snowed in for a week…and I cooked and baked for daaaaaaaays. And thank goodness because I made these Marshmallow Oatmeal Caramelitas and our lives have been forever changed. That sounds dramatic but I’m not kidding. These things are so good. The combination of the gooey caramel, melty chocolate, and creamy marshmallow is perfect against the oat and butter cookie base. Just make them already.

Marshmallow Oatmeal Caramelitas www.radmomcoolkid.com

Marshmallow Oatmeal Caramelitas

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick cook)
2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
40 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
10-12 large marshmallows, cut in half

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl: melt butter. Whisk in sugar, molasses, vanilla until smooth. Add flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and stir to combine.

Spread half of this mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Press it flat and set remainder aside. Bake 10 minutes.

In a large microwave-safe bowl: combine caramels and cream. Heat for 1 minute, stir. Repeat until the caramel has completely melted.

When the crust is done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pour the caramel sauce over the chips. Place marshmallows all over the top of the caramel sauce. Top with the reserved oat and flour mixture.

Return pan to oven and bake 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned the center is bubbling.

Let the bars cool completely before slicing. You can speed up the cooling process by putting them in the fridge for a few hours but they are very hard to slice if they get too cold! You can store them, covered, at room temperature.

Marshmallow Oatmeal Caramelitas www.radmomcoolkid.com

Green Chicken Chili with Wayfair

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid.com

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid

We are just starting to return to normal after experiencing our first major blizzard. It was a long and crazy weekend (we got 31 inches – check out my Instagram for pics and video of the storm) but we made the most of being snowed in for 5 days by cooking, baking, and playing TONS of board games. Today, I’m teaming up with Wayfair to share a really yummy and easy recipe for green chicken chili. It feeds a crowd, is very forgiving if you need to substitute ingredients, and you can freeze the leftovers!

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid

This recipe started out from a slow-cooker recipe I clipped from a magazine years ago. It was not very great because everything slow-cooked itself straight to mush. I recognized the potential though so I started making it on the stove. It was good but it wasn’t until the store was out of a few ingredients and I had to get creative that it turned into something really worth sharing.

Green Chicken Chili
Serves: 12-14
Time: 2.5 hours, includes prep and cook time

3 small yellow onions, diced
2 Cubanelle peppers (can substitute any medium sized mild pepper), diced
2 Anaheim peppers (can substitute any medium sized mild pepper), diced
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can Great Northern Beans, drained
1 14 oz. can Navy Beans, drained
1 14 oz. can Cannellini Beans, drained
22-30 oz. can corn, drained*
28-30 oz. green chile enchilada sauce*
15 oz. salsa verde*
3 tsp. cumin
2 c. chicken stock, add more if needed
6-8 chicken tenderloins, grilled, cubed
Salt
Pepper
cilantro, chopped
lime wedges
sour cream
tortilla chips

Saute onions and peppers with salt and pepper in olive oil until onion starts to brown. Add garlic and cook one minute.

Add beans, corn, enchilada sauce, salsa verde, cumin, chicken stock, and chicken. Simmer over very low heat 2 hours, adding more chicken stock if needed.

Serve with cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

* These amounts can vary depending on what can and jar sizes your grocery store has available. The last few times I’ve shopped for ingredients I have used varying amounts. Try to stay withing a few ounces of what I’ve suggested and it will turn out great! A note on the corn – it really adds some sweetness to the chili. We use a lot because we have kids and it helps cut the heat for them. Use less to start, you can always more later!

Green Chicken Chili www.radmomcoolkid

40+ Pie Recipes with Wayfair

40+ Pie Recipes from The Wayfair Homemakers www.radmomcoolkid.com

The Wayfair Battle of the Pies is still going strong and all the entries are in so I wanted to share them all with you! There are 40+ pie recipes ranging from sweet to savory and I can’t wait to try as many as I can!

As a refresher, here’s my Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie!

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Click the picture for the recipe!

And here are all the other entries!

Apple Pie Cookies by Miss Information
Butterscotch Apple Pumpkin Pie by A Blissful Nest
Bourbon Butterscotch Pie by A Southern Mother
Rainbow Fruit Pie by Bree Johnson
Coconut Cream Turtle Pie by Busy at Home
Apple Butter Pie by Chase the Star
Caramel Pecan Pie by Christina Williams
Brown Bag Apple Cinnamon Pie by Cooking with Ruthie
Double Chocolate Cream Pie by Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Pecan Pie by Graceful Order
Mini Caramel Apple Pie by Happily Hughes
Apple Pie in a Bag by House of Tubers
Fall is Here and I Feel Like Wrapping Myself in a Plaid Wool Blanket Pie ( Cranberry Turkey Pot Pie with Sage Crust) by Leah’s Life
S’mores Pumpkin Pie by Legal Miss Sunshine
Sweet Potato Pie by Mama of 3 Munchkins
Pecan Pie Cheesecake by Our Holly Days
Cast Iron Apple Pie by Polish My Crown
Aunt Evelyn’s Famous Chocolate Pie by Simply Darrling
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie by Close to Home
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie by The Summery Umbrella
Apple Pie Bites by 100 Directions
Grandma’s Famous Raspberry Pie by Bright Green Door
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie by Clark’s Condensed
German Chocolate Pie by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body
Heart Shaped Raspberry Hand Pies by Creative Juice
No-Bake Deep Dish Triple Layer Pumpkin Pie by Harlem Lovebirds
Caramel Apple Pie by Holy Craft
Grandma’s Georgia Pecan Pie (Reinvented and Healthier) by Migonis Home
No-Bake Fudge Bottom Caramel Pie by Miss in the Kitchen
Easy Chicken Pot Pie by My Creative Days
Caramel Apple Crumble Pie by Simply Nicole
Gingerbread Pumpkin Meringue Pie by Sunday Public
Chocolate Salted Honey Pie by Table and Hearth
Caramel Pie with Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse by The Craft Patch
Grandma’s Famous Chocolate Pecan Pie by The Logbook
Chicken Pot Pie with a Sharp Cheddar Crust by The Thome Home
Granny’s Puff Pastry Apple Pie by Wife in Progress
Sugar Cream Pie by Wit Wisdom and Food
Sweet Potato S’mores Pie by Aimee Broussard
Easy Apple Pie by Dearest Geeks of Earth

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie with Wayfair

This post is sponsored by Wayfair.

Battle of the Pies: Wayfair Pie Bake Off // Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Today I have 5 words for you:

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

I recently got an email from Wayfair about entering their Battle of the Pies and I was sold before I even read the whole thing. Something about this fall has really brought out the domestic side of me. I am already pretty domestic but lately I have been borderline obsessive. I have been baking and cooking and freezing food for the last month with no signs of tiring out or getting bored. I’ve made soups, jams, pickles, crisps, brownies, muffins, and pies! My husband was thrilled at first but at this point I think he is starting to wonder if I need an intervention to save our grocery budget.

And then I got the email. And then I made this peanut butter banana pudding pie. And my husband had no complaints as he licked his fork clean. I’d like to think it was because he realized my recent baking craze had prepared me for thiiiiiiiiiis moment.

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Now, you might be wondering how I will manage winning a virtual pie bake off where nobody will actually be tasting the pies…that’s where you come in. If you think my pie should win just let me know here, here, or here. Likes, loves, favorites, comments, shares, repins, regrams, retweets, you know the drill. The pie with the most social engagement will go down in history as the Wayfair Battle of the Pies CHAMPION!!!

With out further ado, here is my entry in all her sweet, slightly peanut buttery, wonderfully banana-ish glory.

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie

Yield: Two 9″ pies + extra pudding filling

Crust:
2 2/3 c. crushed vanilla wafer cookies, divided
1 stick butter, divided, melted
1/2 c. sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 375 F. In two bowls combine 1 1/3 c. crushed cookies, 4 Tbsp. melted butter, and 1/4 c. sugar. Mix well. Press into bottom and sides of a 9″ pie dish. Bake 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

TIP: Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crust into the dish. I tried using my hands on one pie and a glass on the other. The glass was easier and less messy!

Filling: adapted from my favorite banana pudding recipe, here
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 c. smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 package (5 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 c. cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided
2 bananas

In a medium bowl beat together cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Add sweetened condensed milk, pudding mix, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Fold in half the whipped topping.

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

TIP: If you can’t get the pudding smooth try an immersion blender. “Room temperature” in the cooler months can still be too cold to get the cream cheese really smooth but the immersion blender got all my lumps out, quickly!

TIP: Forgot to thaw your whipped topping? Remove the lid, place in microwave, and defrost it for 30 seconds. Gently stir and defrost in 10-20 second intervals, stirring gently after each, until it is thawed.

To assemble the pie, slice 1 banana and place the slices evenly across the bottom of a cooled cookie crust. Pour half the pudding mixture over the bananas. Top with half the remaining whipped topping. Garnish with crushed cookie crumbs. Repeat with second pie crust. Chill before serving.

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Don’t forget – if you want to up my chances of winning this Pie Bake Off then head over to my social media posts (here, here, and here) and show them some LOVE!

Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pie www.radmomcoolkid.com

Check out my posts on Wayfair (here and here) and the fun posts they have sponsored here at Rad Mom Cool Kid (here and here).

Wayfair Homemakers

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Contains affiliate links.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding www.radmomcoolkid.com

This summer the kids and I have been having some fun in the kitchen! Noa has become the master of scrambled eggs in the house and Isca knows the names of all the pantry and fridge ingredients and where all the cooking utensils are located so she makes a great assistant. Hollis stirs and is a professional step-stool dragger and shredded cheese thief.

Last week we held a family cooking competition similar to the tv show Chopped. I’m excited to share the photos and maybe some video, too!

This week we tackled homemade chocolate pudding. I was working on a guest post for My Mommy Style that will be published later this week and I needed pudding for it. I was NOT about to haul 3 kids to the store for 1 thing so we whipped up a batch of homemade pudding in no time! Consider this your warning: This pudding is really rich so go easy on the portions!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

adapted from Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding

1/3 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c. Corn Starch
3 heaping TBSP. Cocoa Powder
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 3/4 c. Milk
1 TBSP. Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla

In a large saucepan combine brown sugar through salt. Mix it really well and make sure there are no clumps or lumps. I just used my fingers to break things up!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding www.radmomcoolkid.com

Homemade Chocolate Pudding www.radmomcoolkid.com

Whisk in milk and heat over medium until it boils. Once it starts to boil – whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes until the pudding coats the back of a spoon.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding www.radmomcoolkid.com

Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla and let cool a bit before chilling. Before putting it in the fridge, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, covering all of it. This will keep it from forming that strange, gelatinous “skin” on top. Gag.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding www.radmomcoolkid.com

We had some after dinner and Luke told us his grandma used to make it and while it was still hot she would serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream right in the center of each bowl. Um, thanks for telling us when we have NO ice cream, man!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding www.radmomcoolkid.com

Make sure you have vanilla ice cream on hand before making this…

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies with Henry Mack

One of my favorite things about attending blogging conferences is getting to know new people. When I attended Alt a few months ago I met the two lovely girls behind Henry Mack at a Downton Abbey themed party. Kara and Mary created Henry Mack, their house dress company, to provide a glamorous muumuu for mamas. Their house dresses are designed to be comfy yet provide coverage as you chase your little ones and get things done around the house!

The Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies www.radmomcoolkid.com

The Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies www.radmomcoolkid.com

Luke and I closed on our new home last week and the very first thing we did in it was make some amazing chocolate chip cookies. The oven in our apartment was…the worst. It was fine for making casseroles or roasting things but it lacked the finesse needed for baking. We had it fixed, it still burned everything. We adjusted the temperature and bake time and it still burned everything. She was a lemon, the poor girl. Anyway, we were so excited to try out our new oven and have yummy homemade cookies after a long year of store-bought, lame treats. They came out perfectly – so tasty and warm and BOOM, our house is now a home :)

So now I’m going to share with you a secret to getting amazing chocolate chip cookies. It will change your cookie making game. It will add depth to the flavor and improve the texture and it isn’t even an ingredient…

The Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies www.radmomcoolkid.com

It’s time. Yep, TIME. Specifically, time in the fridge after you make the dough and before you bake the cookies. It’s simple, just make the dough and then wrap it up in plastic or seal it in bins and then let it sit in the fridge for 3-5 days. That’s it. Your cookies will come out so much better for it. I know, it sounds crazy. We thought so too when we first read about it but here’s the deal: a few years ago we made cookies, left the leftover dough in the fridge, and forgot about it. We found it several days later and wondered if we could still make cookies or if it was a lost cause. Luke found an article that said we could totally bake those bad boys up and then it explained the science behind why they would be even better after their lengthy stay in the back of the fridge. And boy were those cookies GOOD. Like, before you know it you’ve already eaten 6 cookies and really, what’s one more at that point?

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oats
3 cups all-purpose flour (measure flour like a pro, click here)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 bag milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl whisk together sugars and butter until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, and baking soda, mix well.

Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Spoon dough onto cookie sheet and bake 10-13 minutes. After 1-2 minutes remove from pan to cooling rack to cool completely.

The Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies www.radmomcoolkid.com

The Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies www.radmomcoolkid.com

In these photos I’m wearing House Dress ii in Pink Is My Favorite Color c/o Henry Mack.

The Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies www.radmomcoolkid.com

Homemade Butterbeer Hot Cocoa

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Homemade Butterbeer Hot Cocoa www.radmmocoolkid.com

Ever since our trip to Universal Orlando last August our family has been obsessed with Butterbeer. Not only have we made our own (click here for the recipe), we also upgraded our homemade hot cocoa (recipe here) to Homemade Butterbeer Hot Cocoa! I hear the hot Butterbeer in the park is pretty amazing, we didn’t try it since it was so warm while we were there…I guess we’ll just have to make a winter trip sometime ;)

It’s super easy and quick and the kids will love to snuggle up with a cup and watch Harry Potter!

Homemade Butterbeer Hot Cocoa

1 recipe for Hot Cocoa
Butterscotch ice cream topping
1 recipe Butterscotch Whipped Cream

Make the Hot Cocoa, stir a few teaspoons butterscotch ice cream topping into each mug, top with marshmallows or Butterscotch Whipped Cream.

So grab a mug then geek out with this Harry Potter awesomeness…

Knockoff Frozen Butterbeer

Knockoff Frozen Butterbeer www.radmomcoolkid.com

Last August we went on a vacation of a lifetime. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken and we LOVED every minute of it!

Being a blogger has presented several great opportunities and this trip was one of them! When I lived in Utah I got to know the ladies behind Mom It Forward, a blogger network that brings bloggers and brands together. At the beginning of the year I was at a small local event, chatting with Jyl, when I mentioned that for Christmas we had given our family a jar full of bills and coins to start saving up for a trip to Disneyland. She told me about their blogger retreat for families, Family Forward, and I was SOLD!

I know it’s been months since the retreat but I still want to do several posts about the trip so bear with me- one post will NOT do it justice!!

Today, I’m sharing my knockoff frozen butterbeer recipe. We consumed gallons of the stuff in Orlando and went through withdrawal when we got home. It was sad. When I found myself researching the cost of purchasing a real slurpee machine I gave myself an intervention. You will find the results below…

Knockoff Frozen Butterbeer

I eyeballed all the amounts for this recipe. You many prefer more of less butterscotch flavoring. You can always half this recipe to test it out and adjust it to your preferences! I included amounts but again, I didn’t measure!

Frozen Butterbeer

1 litre cream soda
1/3 c. butterscotch ice cream topping

Gently pour 1 litre cream soda in a large rectangular pan or dish (I used a plastic food storage bin) and squeeze about 1/3 cup butterscotch ice cream topping over the top. DO NOT STIR. Put in the freezer.

For the next 3-4 hours, pull the pan out and scrape the mixture with a fork. After an hour or so the mixture will start to freeze so when you scrape you will be creating a delicious slushy. You want the ice crystals to be fine so scrape well but quickly- it starts to melt fast!

Knockoff Frozen Butterbeer www.radmomcoolkid.com

Butterscotch Whipped Cream

1/2 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 c. Butterscotch Ice Cream Topping

In a mixing bowl stir together 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup butterscotch topping. Whisk until soft peaks form.

Pour the frozen butterbeer into a glass, top with butterscotch whipped cream, and enjoy!

Knockoff Frozen Butterbeer www.radmomcoolkid.com

Homemade Hot Cocoa

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Homemade Hot Cocoa www.radmomcoolkid.com

Man, winter is starting to get on my nerves. I am not a fan of being cold and no matter how many layers I’m wearing my entire body is still covered in goose bumps. Maryland is not tolerating winter very well either. A few days ago I got a phone call from the school district at 5:45am letting me know there would be a 2 hour delay. It hadn’t snowed, the roads were clear and dry…school was starting late because it was cold. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, it’s just that we are coming straight from Utah. You had to pretty much have white out conditions for school to be cancelled and I don’t remember them EVER delaying the start time because of the temperature. Noa laughed when I told him what was happening and said, “Mom! I used to walk to school every morning and it was always like 3 degrees!” True, both him and Isca walked every morning and there were plenty of single digit mornings. I just bundled them up and gave them hand warmers!

Anyway, we have been drinking a lot of homemade hot cocoa to warm our cold little butts up and I realized I’ve never shared our recipe here! It’s nothing fancy and has wiggle room for your own preferences. This is Luke and the kids favorite recipe (I prefer something a little fancier, thicker, and less sweet) and it’s easy to double or quadruple if you’re making it for a crowd!

Homemade Hot Cocoa

2 cans evaporated milk
1 1/2 cans water (you can stretch it to 2 if you have a big crowd)
1/2-3/4 c. (the orig. recipe uses 3/4) sugar
1/4-1/2 c. (the orig. recipe uses 1/4) cocoa powder

Whisk together sugar and cocoa in the bottom of a pan. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, whisking the whole time. Add evaporated milk and water. Heat to desired temperature and serve!

If hot cocoa isn’t your thing, check out this Hot Honey Ginger Lemonade. It is the perfect drink when you’re feeling under the weather and is really soothing for sore throats.

This Cozy Herbal Tea is another RMCK favorite and is a great way to get kids to drink tea when they are sick.

Rad Mom Cool Kid

Rad Mom Cool Kid