Cooking with Valerie Bertinelli

Where are my foodies? Who else loves to browse the cookbook aisles? There’s not much I love more than a new cookbook. Flipping the pages and checking out all the yummy recipes and making a list of all the new ones I want to try.

So when some folks reached out to me about Valerie Bertinelli’s (yes that Valerie! Most recently known from the Food Network but I can’t not mention “One Day at A Time” loved that show)  Valerie’s Home Cooking: More than 100 Recipes to Share with Friends and Family cookbook I was thrilled. Not only do I watch her on the Food Network but she’s an Italian girl. Like me! Ok maybe I’m not Italian but my hubby is so that counts, right? And I learned everything I know about Italian cooking from my mother in law and Valerie’s book is inspired by her family’s recipes so I knew this was gonna be a match made in Italian foodie heaven.

I chose 2 dishes I was going to make and review. The Spicy Arrabiata Penne and the Chicken with Lemon Wine Sauce.

The first one I tested out was the Spicy Arrabiata Penne. You can’t go wrong with a dish like this. It’s super easy to make and super flavorful. Both my hubby and I loved it. He agreed we need to def make it again. I feel like it came out looking just like the picture (minus the fact that I didn’t use shaved parm we ended up just using regular grated parm cheese but the shaved gives it that extra touch and makes it extra fancy.) My only suggestion would be for this dish is to adjust the red pepper flakes if you don’t love spice. It’s definitely got a kick so if you have kids I would maybe omit it in theirs. Also, I would not have reserved any of the pasta water. I typically don’t occasionally I will if I’m making a ton of gravy/sauce but not always. I felt that adding the 1 cup of pasta water really watered it down so I would just not add that and your sauce will be nice and thick and chunkier.

Photographer Leslie Grow, Food Styling Cat Steele, Prop Styling Lindsey Lower,
Spicy Arrabiate Penne

Wanna try this recipe yourself? If you try it let me know what you think.

“One of my all-time favorite meals centers around tomatoes. I have several photos on my phone illustrating this point. One shows a fresh harvest of tomatoes from our garden; they’re literally spilling out of bowls onto the kitchen counter. I think this was a message from our wonderful gardener, Carlos. The first year I planted tomato plants, the majority of them died. I went to Carlos, asking for help. I think he felt bad for me, and not only did he bring those plants back to life, he added more and somehow has them producing fruit well into the winter. Another photo shows my arrabiata sauce simmering on the stove, tomatoes quartered and afloat on a sea of luscious sauce full of spices. I swear I can smell the red pepper and garlic through my phone. Fresh tomatoes are a bonus, but obviously canned tomatoes provide the same classic taste. This is an easy dinner when I’m in a hurry, and with a green salad and a creamy dressing to balance the spice, along with fresh bread, you can rely on this as a Monday through Friday staple, as I do, or serve it for a casual Saturday night with friends.” – taken from Valerie’s cookbook.

Serves 6

Spicy Arrabiata Penne

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 (1-pound) package uncooked penne rigate
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (26.46-ounce) package chopped tomatoes (such as Pomì)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • Shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish


  1. 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the 1/4 cup chopped basil.
  3. 3. Stir the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water into the tomato mixture. Garnish with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and additional basil, if desired, and serve warm.
  4. Cooking Tip
  5. It’s important to generously salt your water. It adds flavor to your pasta. Don’t rinse your pasta after cooking, and don’t drain all the water; save some to flavor your sauce.

Up next I wanted to try the Chicken with Lemon Wine Sauce. We always love a piccata so I figured we would love this. I make chicken cutlets often and usually just cook them the whole time in oil on the stove so I liked the idea of just browning them first then popping them in the oven while the sauce is being made. Plus a lot of times I find when making recipes your meal is getting cold while the sauce is being made and we hate that. So this kept everything nice and hot.

Here’s my pic and here’s my pic with the book image. Clearly, they aren’t close. In the cookbook pic the sauce has a more yellow tinge to it and looks thicker. Mine came out clearer and more watery. The flavor was definitely good and I probably should have made some sort of side to go along with it as my plate looks pretty boring lol. We both agreed we liked this dish as well but next time I think I may add a touch of flour into the sauce to thicken it up just a smidge.

All in all we really liked both recipes and are looking forward to trying out more of them “One Day at A Time” (had to).

Did you try any of the recipes from this book? If so, share your faves with me. I wanna know what you think.

Credit: Excerpted from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

*The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. I was provided this book for review.
**Recipe provided to me to use in post.

Keep Warm and Carry On – The Republic of Tea

tea logo


I’ve been a huge of The Republic of Tea for at least 10 years now. The moment I tried the Ginger Peach tea it was love at first sip. I’ve always been a fan of flavored teas and coffees, and I especially love peach.

So when I heard The Republic of Tea had a Pumpkin Spice tea I knew I had to try it. What a perfect tea for fall/winter (or anytime really). I love a pumpkin spice latte from my go to coffee joint so I figured a pumpkin tea would be lovely too.



The folks at The Republic of Tea were kind enough to send me a sample of the Pumpkin Spice Black tea bags plus they sent me some Ginger Peach since they know I’m such a huge fan.

pumpkin tea


Pumpkin Spice Black Tea Bags
Keep Warm and Carry On – Cozy up and sip this warm blend of fine black tea and autumnal spices –cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Energizing black tea wards off the chill of the crisp, fall season, and a splash of warm milk transforms this tea to pumpkin pie in a cup.

We offered this tea at our Thanksgiving dinner and everyone loved it paired with their pumpkin pie!

peach tea


Ginger Peach Black Tea Bags
Longevity Tea (and my personal fave) – This best-selling tea offers the sweet lushness of a fancy peach seasoned with the tingle of spicy ginger. Exceptional over ice.

Voted Outstanding Beverage by the National Association of Specialty Food Trade.

Candied Ginger Peach Punch
• ¼ cup water
• 2 Ginger Peach Black Tea Bags
• 1 Tbs. Agave Nectar
• ¼ cup peach nectar (may substitute with apple juice, if needed)
• 2 Tbs. lemon juice
• ½ cup ginger ale
• Peach Slices, for garnish (optional)

Heat fresh, filtered water to a rolling boil. Place tea bags into a heat-resistant container, add the water and steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool a bit. Stir in agave nectar, peach nectar, lemon juice and ginger ale. Fill a large cup with ice, pour in tea. Garnish with fresh peach slices. Serves 1.
Black Tea has less than half the amount of caffeine per cup than in a similar-sized cup of coffee. More about caffeine.
Steeping black tea is easy. Simply heat fresh, filtered water to a rolling boil. Then pour water over tea and steep for 3-5 minutes if using a tea bag or full-leaf.


For more info on The Republic of Tea please visit


*I was not required to write this post and thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.



Voli Vodka – Product Review

Recently I had the opportunity to try Voli Vodka. We tend to make the majority of drinks in our house with vodka. Including margaritas. Which my hubby is the master of.


The Voli Lyte is perfect for making mixed drinks or if you prefer to drink it straight (something I can’t do) and is super smooth. The Espresso smelled divine. Exactly like espresso. If you like espresso and vodka you will love this flavor. I wasn’t a huge fan of the orange vanilla, but I tend to not usually love flavored vodkas so much. Just personal preference. I prefer a regular vodka and like to use it for mixed drinks.


Voli Light Vodka is the world’s first low-calorie fruit and fusion flavored vodka. Voli Light Vodkas are on average 25% to 40% lower in calories than leading brands, include natural electrolytes, and while they are flavored, they are sugar-free!


Voli Light Vodkas’ natural ingredients achieve the perfect balance of natural fruit flavors and vodka distilled from superior French wheat and pure spring water. Voli’s fusion flavors are multiple fruit flavors masterfully blended together in perfect proportion to create tastes and aromas unlike any other.


Flavors Include:

  • · Voli Lyte- an impeccably smooth vodka with a light finish
  • · Voli Lemon- a strong, zesty citrus flavor paired with a mellow verbena taste
  • · Voli Espresso Vanilla- an awakening coffee aroma with vanilla and just a hint of sweet cocoa
  • · Voli Raspberry Cocoa- a heavenly blend of raspberry and cocoa that’s just sweet enough
  • · Voli Orange Vanilla- an orange and vanilla swirl that results in a delightful creamsicle flavor


Estimated retail price is $19.99 per bottle and is sold and served nationwide – Affordable and calorically conscious, what more could you ask for? In a world where things add up, it’s nice to subtract.



On Thursday, March 22, Grammy Award winning artist Fergie announced her partnership and part-ownership of Voli Light Vodkas. Recently Fergie created her own cocktails and mixed them herself on The Rachael Ray Show! Please find the recipes for these great cocktails below! Channel your inner pop star and re-create these Fergalicious cocktails!





Bar Tools Needed: Boston shaker, measuring cup, strainer, pressure juicer, martini glass



-Voli Lyte Vodka

-Cut Green Pepper

-Lime Juice

-Handful of Basil

-Organic stevia/no-calorie sweetener

-Salt and pepper for martini rim



-Step 1: Take a handful of the green pepper and put into the shaker. Muddle the green pepper. Add in a handful of basil to the muddled green pepper. (Tearing the bunch of basil in half. No need to further muddle)

-Step 2: Add 2 oz of Voli Lyte

-Step 3: Add 1 oz Lime Juice

-Step 4: Add 1 package of organic stevia or no-calorie sweetener

-Step 5: Rim the martini glass with black pepper and salt mix

-Step 6: Mix, shake and strain into the martini glass

-Step 7: Pull a piece of basil from the bundle, smack the basil in your hand to release the oils and natural flavors and garnish the cocktail with the basil on top.




Bar tools needed: Boston Shaker, measuring cup, strainer, rocks glass



-Voli Espresso Vanilla

-1 shot of Espresso

-Coffee Beans

-Organic stevia/no-calorie sweetener



-Step 1: Pour 1.5 oz of Voli Espresso Vanilla into the tin

-Step 2: Add 1 Shot of Espresso

-Step 3: Add 1 Packet of organic stevia or no-calorie sweetener

-Step 4: Add ice to a rocks glass

-Step 5: Mix, shake and strain into the rocks glass



Please drink responsibly.


*I was not required to write this post. The products were provided to me. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

POM Wonderful recipes

Drink to Your Health

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. A little sweet, a little tart, and a whole lot of healthy. Powered by pomegranate antioxidants, it’s authentic, delicious and 100% pure. There is no added sugar, colorants or cheap filler juices. We have provided over $35M in funding to support scientific research on POM products worldwide, so raise a glass to life and to the pursuit of healthiness.


  • no added sugars, preservatives or colorants
  • good source of potassium
  • gluten-free
  • flash pasteurized to retain both flavor and nutrients
  • certified kosher


Not only is POM delish to just drink right from your fridge but you can incorporate it into some super yummy recipes. Here are some great POM recipes to try. Perfect for game nights, parties and more!


POM Spinach Dip

1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
1 8-oz. package cream cheese or 1 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

POM Salsa
1 cup mayonnaise
1 6.5-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
fresh vegetables for dipping


Score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.).
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Mix together cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, Swiss cheese, chopped spinach, mayonnaise, artichokes and arils.
Spread into a 1-quart baking dish or 9-inch glass pie pan. Bake until bubbly around the edges and cheese has melted, about 15 minutes.
Serve with fresh vegetables to dip.




Pomegranate, Gouda and Pear Quesadilla with POM Salsa

1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
6 8-inch flour tortillas
4 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
2 large firm pears, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

POM Salsa
Juice from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate*, or 1/4 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
2 cups arils from 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
3-4 teaspoons chopped jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
4 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar


Score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
Place 2 strips of cheese on each tortilla
Using fingers, press 1 teaspoon of arils into cheese.
Add 2 slices of pear, sprinkle with sugar. Fold tortilla in half.
Add 1/2 teaspoon oil to a nonstick skillet and heat.
Place folded tortillas in the pan and brown lightly; turn over and cook until crisp. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oil if needed.
Cut each tortilla into halves and serve with POM Salsa

POM Salsa:
Score 2-3 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 2 cups of the arils from the fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*
Thoroughly mix to combine all ingredients. (Salsa will keep covered, in the refrigerator, for 2 to 3 days.)





1 oz. POM Cherry 100% juice
1 1/2 oz. light rum
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and cold water dissolved together)
4 mint leaves
Mint sprig for garnish


In the bottom of a double old-fashioned glass bruise the 4 mint leaves with the fresh lime juice and simple syrup.
Add crushed ice then the POM Cherry and rum.
Top with a splash of soda and stir. Garnish with the mint sprig.





POM Velvet Cupcakes with POM Cream Cheese Frosting

Time to Table: 35 Minutes Prep, 20 – 25 Minutes Baking and 20 Minutes Cooling

Servings: 30 regular cupcakes

POM Cream Cheese Frosting
Juice from 3-4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates*, or 1-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 cup arils from 1-2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
4 oz. soft unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
14 oz. powdered sugar

POM Velvet Cupcakes
Juice from 6-9 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates*, or 2-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
16 oz. granulated sugar
12 oz. soft unsalted butter (3 sticks
4 ea large eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
15 oz. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 oz. cocoa powder
3/4 oz. baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 cup heavy cream


POM Cream Cheese Frosting:
Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water, break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs), the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top, sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside, (refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use), reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes, turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined, remove icing from the mixer and place into a piping bag with a round or star tip.

POM Velvet Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350ºF, reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 1/2 cup, place sugar and soft butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream on medium-high speed, until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, turn the speed down to low and add the eggs in one at a time, in a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pomegranate juice reduction, white vinegar and vanilla extract, and then slowly add half of this to the mixer, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and then sift at least two times until well mixed, add half of this to the mixer, add the remaining half of the liquids to the mixer, and then the remaining dry ingredients, finish off with the heavy cream, beat just until combined, place cupcake liners into cupcake pan, and using a spoon, fill with cake batter until it is just about 3/4 full, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, allow the pan to cool slightly, and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool fully, once the cupcakes are cooled completely, they can be iced with the pomegranate cream cheese frosting and topped with fresh pomegranate arils.


Disclaimer – I was not required to write this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

$2.00 off one 48 oz bottle POM Wonderful

My huge shopping spree – Kmart Sears Land’s End Review

I love that I can buy items from Kmart, Sears and Land’s End with any of their gift cards. Recently I won a Kmart gift card from the #kmartchat Twitter party hosted by @crissy, @mommyinsider, @jollymom, @kmart and @stacieinatlanta. As you can imagine I was thrilled because that meant…. Shopping spree for me! I was in need of a few items and this great win was going to allow me to purchase a few items I’ve been needing. Ok and maybe not really needing.


First stop…. Kmart of course. I was hoping to find a tablet case but wasn’t successful. That’s ok, I got the mousepad I needed. It has a memory foam wrist spot to eliminate wrist pain from using the mouse. I also picked up a few household items too.


Next up Sears…. I’ve been dying for a dutch oven. Not quite sure why I didn’t own one previously but was realizing a lot of recipes I wanted to try called for one. It’s on! Dutch oven here I come. I bought the cutest red dutch oven as well as a food chopper. One of the main reasons I wanted a dutch oven was to finally make Julia Child’s famous Beef Bourgionne. (See my previous post HERE.)


I still have money to spare, now what? Besides Sears wide variety and great prices, they also have an entire Land’s End department. Again… it’s on. I bought the cutest black velvet blazer. Perfect to dress up jeans in the fall and winter. I also bought another cardigan set, I’m addicted to theirs. Plus 3 draped open cardigan sweaters. All the same, but in brown, black and grey. Oh and another grey sweater. Everything I purchase was on sale which was awesome plus I used my Sears Rewards so I could rack up points towards my next purchase.


All this for under $250. You heard me right! Kitchen goods, a new wardrobe and I still have some money to spare.


Thank you #KmartChat for a great party and all my new goodies. You rock!


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