Archive for April 2017

Spinach and Black Bean Penne Casserole

April 26, 2017
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of RAGÚ® and Barilla®. All opinions are entirely my own.

This Spinach and Black Bean Penne Casserole is the perfect meatless weeknight dinner! A dinner the entire family will enjoy!

Spinach and Black Bean Penne Casserole

For the Miller family, summer break is only a few short weeks away now. I can hardly believe it! This school year went by in lightning speed. It's been a crazy year, but I'm so impressed with how far both Silas and Wesley have come. Silas began the year still reading picture books, and he is now fully able to read chapter books with absolutely no problem. Wesley started Kindergarten still learning some of the letter sounds, and he now blows us away with how much he is able to read. I can actually have him sit down and read full picture books to Reuben!

Their little minds continue to amaze me every day.

I'm really excited to plan fun day trips this summer with these crazy boys. There are some amazing hiking trails, creeks, and parks within driving distance. We might even sneak in a quick trip to the beach - we haven't been back to the New Jersey shore for 2 years now. I miss that salty air and sea breeze!

Spinach and Black Bean Penne Casserole Recipe

With so many things to look forward to this summer, I know I'm going to need a list of some really delicious, and really easy dinners to whip up when time is short. I also would love to get on more of routine of making dinner at home in order to free up that money to spend on excursions here and there. While I do try to look up last minute deals on admission tickets to local places, the price tag for the five of us to go somewhere often adds up quickly. 

This Spinach and Black Bean Penne Casserole is both affordable and easy! You really can't go wrong with these ingredients!

yield: 6 - 8 servingsprint recipe

Spinach and Black Bean Penne Casserole

Penne pasta layered with fresh spinach leaves, black beans, sauce, and cheese, and baked in the oven in a casserole dish.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 35 MINStotal time: 45 mins


  • 16 oz Barilla® Penne
  • 24 oz RAGÚ® Old World Style Traditional Sauce
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, torn
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Cook penne in a large stockpot until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.
  2. Spray a 4 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Spread half of cooked pasta into dish. Sprinkle half of black beans, then half of the spinach leaves, half of the jar of sauce, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and casserole is warmed through. Serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I honestly cannot believe how quickly this casserole was eaten in this house! I paired this dinner with a side salad, which was just the perfect touch. Next time, I plan on having some cheesy garlic bread to enjoy with it as well. The boys go crazy for garlic bread, too!

Spinach and Black Bean Pasta

I was able to find both @BarillaUS pasta and @ragusauce on my last trip through Family Dollar. I love that they carry all the household essentials on my list, including ingredients to make this delicious dinner. One stop shopping is a necessity in this busy mom's life! Right now at Family Dollar, get a free 16oz Barilla Pasta when you buy two RAGÚ 16-24oz - such a great deal! RAGÚ is made with no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup so you can feel good about feeding it to your family. What do you plan on making with your Barilla pasta and RAGÚ sauce? Leave your recipe ideas in the comment section below, I'd love to hear from you! #WeeknightTradition

Spinach and Black Bean Pasta Recipe

Shoepeg Corn Salad

April 25, 2017
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

This Shoepeg Corn Salad uses shoepeg corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers tossed in a tangy dressing. This salad recipe is perfect for spring and summer BBQs!

Shoepeg Corn Salad

A little while ago, I came across a recipe in a cookbook for a salad with shoepeg corn and various other vegetables. I've heard of shoepeg corn, but I honestly didn't know what the difference was between that and regular corn. I knew I probably have had it before and didn't realize it.

Needless to say I wasn't surprised when doing a little bit of research that it's very popular in the southern part of the US, not so much in the northern part. So that explains why I didn't remember ever tasting shoepeg corn, since I was born and raised here in PA! I put it on my shopping list, not to be surprised if I couldn't find it in my local grocery store.

Shoepeg Corn Salad Recipe

English Muffin French Toast Sticks

April 21, 2017

This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by Bays English Muffins to review this product.

These English Muffin French Toast Sticks are super easy and so fun for busy mornings! These are perfect for freezing ahead of time and packing into lunchboxes, too!

English Muffin French Toast Sticks

I know that when you typically think of English muffins, you think of breakfast. I will readily admit, we are English muffin fanatics in the morning. Especially busy mornings! Even when I was a kid, I have very fond memories of crazy school mornings spent eating toasted English muffins with warm melted butter before we were off to school for the day. Of course my kids share the love that I have of them, too! Especially with our favorite Bays English Muffins - seriously, the BEST you can find in the grocery store!

I will say, though, in our family - we honestly enjoy English muffins in all sorts of ways for lunch and dinner as well. There's the classic English muffin pizza of course, but I've been so inspired by Bays chefs' versatile recipe ideas - sandwiches, melts, paninis, and sides. I specifically can't wait to try their Bacon, Beer & Cheddar Muffin Wedges, doesn't that sound delicious? And I'm TOTALLY planning on making some English muffin garlic bread for our next spaghetti night, what a great idea!

French Toast Sticks made with English Muffins

Banana Coconut Coffee Cake

April 18, 2017
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareTheFlavor #CollectiveBias

This delicious Banana Coconut Coffee Cake is perfect for company! Sweet banana cake topped with a banana coconut streusel - serve with a pot of hot coffee!

Banana Coconut Coffee Cake

I firmly believe you can never have enough coffee cake recipes, wouldn't you agree? Traditionally, coffee cake is sweet, but not nearly as sweet as dessert cake. Just enough sweetness to accompany a cup of tea or, of course, coffee. Because of the dialed-down sweetness, they are great for breakfast, brunch, dessert, even snacks. Most have a crumb topping, instead of traditional cake frosting, so they can easily be packed into a lunch box as well. What's not to love?

Tuna Melt Zucchini Skins

April 17, 2017
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bumble Bee Seafoods.

These yummy Tuna Melt Zucchini Skins are ready in under 15 minutes! Hollowed out zucchini slices stuffed with albacore tuna and melted cheddar cheese - these are perfect for lunch!

Tuna Melt Zucchini Skins

Albacore tuna is one item that is an absolute pantry staple in our house. I don't even add it to our grocery list each week because it's just a given that I pick up a few cans every time I do my shopping. I usually enjoy tuna in a pita pocket with some lettuce and tomato, as does Paul. And of course I pretty regularly make tuna sandwiches for the boys to pack in their lunch box.

One of my ALL TIME favorite sandwiches is the tuna melt. Whenever we find ourselves out to each at lunch time, I'm always tempted to order the tuna melt on the menu - and that is usually what I wind up ordering! There's just something about tuna and melty cheese together - the flavors just pair together so nicely.

Tuna Melt Zucchini Skins recipe

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

April 14, 2017
This Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake uses a lemon cake mix, lemon pudding mix, and only one bowl needed! Such a bright color and lemon flavor, perfect for spring brunch and parties!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Easter is this weekend and our two older boys are home from school on Spring Break. We actually don't have a long extended spring break here in Central PA, at least not for our public school kiddos. They would have had Thursday, Friday, and Easter Monday off, but Thursday was knocked off that list as a make-up snow day. 

I love having them all home with me for a few days, but it does give me a bit of a preview of what the summer months will be like. As a person who is most productive when I keep to a routine, let's just say I'm going to have my work cut out for me this summer!

Something I discovered earlier this morning that works when the kids are getting really rambunctious is to have them pick a book and read it to Reuben. At 18 months I'm so excited to say that he already loves reading! His favorite book character right now is Pete the Cat, which is perfect because we have loads of those books on our bookshelf. Double bonus, both Silas and Wesley can read those books fully. Without a doubt, reading to Reuben will be on the daily summer schedule for sure!

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Instant Pot Potato Salad

April 13, 2017
This post may contain affiliate links (I earn a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you). Please read our disclosure policy here.

This Instant Pot Potato Salad is ready in under 30 minutes from start to finish! Perfect for spring and summer BBQs!

Instant Pot Potato Salad

So, I've been seeing post after post from some of my favorite fellow food bloggers with their Instant Pot recipes popping up on my Pinterest feed. I pretty much ignored it through Thanksgiving and Christmas, but then the craziness of life started back when the kids went back to school. My menu planning started slipping and we started eating out again on a weekly basis.

instant pot pressure cooker potato salad

Sweet-and-Sour Pork Chop Casserole

April 10, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AllNaturalPork #CollectiveBias

This recipe for Sweet-and-sour Pork Chop Casserole uses simple ingredients! Boneless pork chops, pineapple, green pepper, and brown rice in a sweet sauce. Dinner the entire family will LOVE!

sweet-and-sour pork chop casserole

As our boys get older, I'm very quickly realizing that my normal recipes are going to need to be doubled. In some cases, tripled. These kids drive me nuts, though, because they'll go through days where I can barely get them to eat a sandwich, and then other days where they literally eat the entire cabinet and are still hungry after! I'm happy to report they absolutely loved this recipe for sweet-and-sour pork! One casserole dish made plenty for all of us, which is somewhat of a challenge with these growing boys.

Another challenge I've been having recently with dinners is timing. I either underestimate how much time it takes to prepare dinner and we're all cranky and starving and eating snacks until it's ready. Or I overestimate how long it takes and it's ready hours before dinner time (some slow cooker recipes can be this way). 

sweet and sour pork chops

Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Cake

April 5, 2017
This Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Cake is SO EASY! Frozen pound cake slices, softened raspberry, lime, and orange sherbet, and whipped topping - this is perfect for spring!

Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Cake

I'm going to be completely honest with you here, and if you haven't figured this out so far as a Mostly Homemade Mom fan you'll know it now - I'm OBSESSED with desserts that are super easy, but look super impressive. I don't know about your situation right now, but I have 3 little boys, a husband, a house to take care of, and full time at home job to keep and I just don't have time to mess with things that are going to take a while in the kitchen. Can I hear an AMEN?!

I will often find something at my local grocery outlet that I immediately pick up because I just know there's something creative I can use with it. I've used frozen Sara Lee pound cake in quite a few recipes around here, so I snagged it on a good deal just waiting for inspiration.

Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Lollipop Flower Cupcakes

April 3, 2017
These Lollipop Flower Cupcakes are absolutely adorable and perfect birthday parties! Crushed Oreo cookies, Dum Dum lollipops, gummy worms and paper cupcake liners make these DIY cupcakes so easy!!

Lollipop Flower Cupcakes

I made these sweet little Lollipop Flower Cupcakes for my adorable nephew, Elliott's, 5th birthday. We weren't able to fully celebrate with him the week before on his actual birthday, so I think these put a smile on his face. They definitely put a smile on my face, especially after the weekend we had just had.

It was a rough one for the Miller household, friends.

We took the kids to a local children's museum and playground to celebrate Elliott's birthday. Of course it was a beautiful day, so after a while inside, they were climbing all over the outside playground. Silas and Wesley were climbing and jumping from a very high platform, down to another platform, something that I was encouraging them to do. After all, the previous summer at our old house they spend hours every day climbing and swinging on the monkey bars.

The first jump from platform to platform, both of them did just fine. On Silas' second attempt, unfortunately, that was not the case. His foot slipped from the high platform and he landed, hard, on his right elbow. I could tell immediately it was broken.