Valerie Bertinelli

Slow-Cooker Pasta Bake
Rating: Unrated
1
I don’t mean to turn this into a confessional, but this dish came together because I saw a jar of marinara sauce sitting on the kitchen counter. Hey, inspiration comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. But this is a traditional baked ziti with creamy ricotta and mozzarella, salty parm, and tender pasta, all just so yummy together, plus the carrots and zucchini. On occasion when I’m really busy, I’ll go to the grocery store and get vegetables already chopped, and throw everything into the slow cooker for a nice dinner later on. It’s a shortcut on top of a shortcut. I’m gentle when folding in the spinach, as the pasta could start to fall apart if you do this with hurried, crushing blows. Tom and I both like this with a fresh Caesar salad, but any crisp, cold, and simple green salad will go well with this dish.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. Slideshow: More Baked Pasta Recipes 
Advertisement
Hamburger Helpa
Rating: Unrated
3
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.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. Slideshow: More Ground Beef Recipes