Valerie Bertinelli, award-winning actress, best-selling author, and popular Food Network personality, has made a name for herself in households across America. As her friends, family, and fans alike know, Valerie loves nothing more than to cook delicious meals bursting with flavor and share them with those she loves. To really know Valerie is to spend time in her kitchen. And she does just that with her new cookbook, Valerie’s Home Cooking – More than 100 Recipes to Share with Friends and Family. Inspired by her family’s cooking legacy, Valerie specializes in showing fans how to make dishes their own families will love. As she often says, there’s a story behind every recipe, and she shares them in this gorgeous cookbook with a cornucopia of meals that are easy to make and innovative, including Bacon-Caramel Scuffins with Caramel Clotted Cream, Lobster BLTs, Spicy Arrabiata Penne, Lemon Raspberry Panna Cotta and much more.
Step into her kitchen, sample her favorite dishes, pick up a few of her culinary tips and tricks, and stay for her entertaining anecdotes over dessert and coffee.
Hamburger Helpa Recipe from Valerie’s Home Cooking
I have been looking for a way to make a family favorite dish from scratch with real ingredients for a while now. When I found this Hamburger Helpa recipe in Valerie’s Home Cooking I knew it had to be the first recipe we tried.
Don’t laugh. This dish might give you more insight into my culinary history than almost anything else. It’s a throwback to my childhood and it speaks directly to my more-than-occasional desire for quickness and efficiency, in that I love a good casserole or one-skillet dish. No fuss, no muss, easy cleanup, and get-right-to-it dinner. I made this for Wolfie and his friends when they came home after soccer or Little League practice. I can still picture everyone at the kitchen table, doing homework, while I simmered the beef in the mélange of spices and added macaroni, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and then announced to a sea of smiling faces, “Dinner’s ready.” Years later, I whipped out this dish when Tom’s kids entered the picture and everyone came home from college during breaks. We all know the store-bought mix; this homemade version is even better than the classic, I promise.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound ground 90% lean beef
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1¼ cups warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 11/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- ½ cup chopped American cheese
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
- 1/4 cup panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs
- 1 scallion green part sliced
- Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add the beef, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring to crumble, until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Preheat the broiler with the oven rack 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Reduce the stovetop heat to medium, and stir in the macaroni. Add the milk, warm water, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a low simmer; cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender, about 12 minutes. Add the cheeses, and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheeses melt. Stir in the chives. Sprinkle the panko over the macaroni mixture. Broil until the panko is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with the scallion, and serve immediately.
- Variation: Add some slices of jalapeño for extra kick.
We all loved this dish and it will be entering our regular meal plan rotation. I will never buy another box mix again. The leftovers reheated well in the microwave, just add a splash of milk and a little more shredded cheddar. Make sure you pick up your copy of Valerie’s Home Cooking!.
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