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.

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

Channeling Julia Child with Beef Bourguignonne

Ever since I saw the movie “Julie & Julia” I’ve been trying to make and try Beef Bourguignonne. I needed to get myself a dutch oven and a few more ounces of cooking confidence before I were to attempt this feat. Also, I was not able to purchase a dutch oven until I learned how to pronounce Beef Bourguignonne properly according to my husband.


I can say it! And I can cook it. It was not as hard as I had anticipated. Everyone really enjoyed the meal. It was super flavorful and I loved that salt was not part of the recipe. It didn’t need it. I wasn’t sure if I would like it as I’m not typically fond of French food but this was fantastic. I will definitely make it again.


Below please find the recipe I used from my “Bride & Groom First and Forever” cookbook. Below the recipe I have added a few notes from my experience on substitutes, etc. Enjoy!


4 bacon slices, roughly chopped

1 ½ pounds boneless beef stew meat, such as beef chick or bottom round, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 ounces cremini or shitake mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (if using shitakes, discard stems)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups good-quality red wine, such as burgundy

3 cups beef broth (not double strength)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

Fresh rosemary sprig (4 inches long)

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar

About 20 packaged peeled baby carrots

1 cup fresh pearl onions, peeled, or frozen petite whole onions, thawed

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnishing



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Fry the bacon in an ovenproof Dutch Oven over medium heat until lightly browned and slightly crisp about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.


Set the pot over high heat. Add the meat and cook until browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms, onion and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine, broth, tomato paste, rosemary, bay leaf, brown sugar and bacon. Stir, scrapping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and bring to a simmer.


Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and pearl onions. Bake uncovered, until the carrots and meat are tender, about 30 minutes more. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.


I used canned shitake mushrooms. It’s definitely more budget friendly and easier to do. I did not use fresh rosemary but I sprinkled a few pieces of dried rosemary instead. I learned that I hate fresh pearl onions. They are super time consuming and just a pain. Moving forward I will definitely opt for the frozen pearl onions and just simply defrost them. I also did not garnish with fresh parsley at the end.


Traditionally this dish is served over boiled potatoes since its very stew like. I cut up potatoes and boiled them and placed them in a dish and ladled my stew on top.


Enjoy and let me know what you think.


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Cheer Ya Up Cheddar & Beer Soup

Recently I cam across a killer recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network’s site. I of course had to make my own adjustments to the recipe. This is the perfect dish for a cold night during the holiday season. It’s also a great dish for only 2 people since no other food is needed, it’s sooo filling. Although, some nice sour dough bread would have been great with it. Next time I will def try it in a sour dough bread bowl.

Here’s the dish:

1/2 lb. kielbasa sausage, finely chopped and crumbled

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onion

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 bay leaves

3 tbsp. garlic, minced

8 tbsp. flour

6 cups chicken stock

2 cups lager beer (preferably amber)

Dash of thyme

4 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used 1 1/2 pkgs. of 8 oz. shredded cheddar)

Cook the kielbasa in olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until golden brown. Add the onions, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cook until onions are slightly carmelized (12-15 mins). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant about a minute. SPrinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock and beer. Add the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Add the cheese a little at a time, stirring until nearly completely melted after each addition. Remove from heat, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.


Perfect Penne Gorgonzola with Chicken

The hubs and I are a little partial to alfredo, especially my roasted garlic alfredo. However, we both love gorgonzola, so I thought let’s try something new. This dish is “off the hook” or ridiculously good.


Here’s the dish:


What’cha need:

1 pkg. penne pasta

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 large garlic clove minced

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chicken broth

5 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (optional)


Cook pasta according to package. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in the olive oil. Once browned a bit, add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the broth and loosen up any brown bits. Add cream. Cook til sauce is slightly thickened (it doesn’t get that thick) and chicken is fully cooked. Stir in the gorgonzola cheese, salt and pepper. Cook til cheese just melts.


Drain pasta. Put pasta in a dish, pour some tasty sauce over it. Add some parmigiano-reggiano if you want and dig in.


This dish is super easy and super tasty. It’s definitely a repeat meal.


ps. The hubs loved it too!