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  • Writer's pictureBritt N.

Cooking With My Mini Chefs + Easy Baked Penne Recipe

Cooking with my mini chefs has been a progression in motherhood for me! As someone who's slightly controlling and struggles to deal with a mess, I often found myself telling my kids "not this time" when they asked to help cook dinner. And then something struck me! If I NEVER allow them in the kitchen during the process how will they ever learn to cook? And since this revelation I've allowed these cuties to be part of the cooking process and it's been such a fun experience!

Today, my mini chefs and I whipped up a family favorite; Baked Penne! I LOVE this recipe because it's SOOO YUMMY and EASY! We used our favorite Barilla Marinara Pasta Sauce for this dish to make the process even quicker! I love Barilla Red Sauce because its packed full of flavor no added sugar and preservatives (refer to the nutrition labels for full details). This 3 ingredient baked penne dish with Barilla Red Sauce makes dinner prep a breeze getting us to the good part faster!

The good part for us was enjoying this meal on our back patio together! My mini chefs thought it would be fun to pretend that we opened our own little restaurant; while our penne baked, we transformed the back patio into the cutest eatery! Audri was the host/server and Kailand was the cook/server! Maddox and I were the customers at this cute local spot.

After being seated at a table in the cutest local eatery I've ever been to, I ordered my first course; an ever so cutely made Caesar salad. This happens to be Kailand's favorite kind of salad so we was overjoyed to make it himself AND serve it.

Once our baked penne was ready, it was time to enjoy the good part; EATING! Enjoying a family meal with my roommates is something this crazy year has taught me to appreciate. The good part for us is enjoying a delicious meal together, chatting about life and being together. It's crazy how the simplest meals ALWAYS turn out to be the best.

Huge shout out to Barilla Red Sauce for bringing us together to enjoy this epic meal! Sharing our baked penne recipe so YOU can enjoy it with your family!

Easy Baked Penne Recipe:


*1 24oz. jar of Barilla Red Sauce

*1lb of ground Italian Sausage (I used mild but spicy would be good too)

*1-2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese (depending on how cheesy you want your penne)

* 8oz. package of Barilla Penne

How To:

Cook your penne until al dente. Set aside.

Brown your Italian sausage over medium heat until cooked thru. Drain and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine, penne, Italian Sausage, 1 jar of Barilla Red Sauce and 1 cup of cheese. Mix until combined.

Pour into baking dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly. You know, when it smells ready and looks ready to devour.


*This blog post is in partnership with Barilla Red Sauce.

For every like, comment and share on my post, Barilla will donate $1 (the equivalent of 10 meals) to @FeedingAmerica (up to 200K) So be sure to show this post some love knowing you're helping a family in need with your comments and likes!

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B Gibson
B Gibson

The mini Chefs did it again. Italian Restaurant Night at home.


B Gibson
B Gibson

Looks tasty and easy.



This was the cutest post ever! They will always remember these special moments. Now you guys have given me this as an idea for my lunch next week 😍😄


Lisa Young
Lisa Young

Wow!! Looks delicious! What adorable chefs!



Think I’ll give this a try.

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