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Actress Valerie Bertinelli, who America watched grow up on the hit show One Day at a Time, is now a fixture in the food world.  The Golden Globe award-winning actress with her own Food Network show, sits down with Fox News's Lilian Huang Woo to talk about recipes from her new book Valerie's Home Cooking.

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp w/ Cherry Cola Sauce

Back when we had a house in Park City, Utah, we frequented an Italian restaurant so often they put a sign above our regular table that said, "Wolfie's Booth." The reason we were at the restaurant so often? Their bacon-wrapped jalapeño shrimp. (Hold on a moment while I savor the memory of them. Seriously, my mouth is watering.) Sadly, the restaurant closed before I was able to get their recipe, so I developed this particular one on my own and have tinkered with it over the years to the point where I look for excuses to make it. A party, Sunday night football, a birthday, Tuesday night . . . I'm in, and so is my entire family, along with a few of my neighbors. The sauce is sweet with a hint of Cherry Coke, and once it connects with the jalapeño, it sits on the tongue with an exciting contrast of hot and sweet and savory. It goes well with a cold cocktail or even a light beer. These will disappear quickly.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Shrimp with Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

Serves 16 Hands-on 35 minutes Total 45 minutes

CHERRY COLA BBQ SAUCE

1½ tablespoons bacon drippings

1/2 large red onion, chopped (about  1 cup)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

2 cups cherry cola soft drink

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 cup ketchup

SHRIMP

16 extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed (about 12 ounces)

1 jalapeño chile, stem removed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 16 thin strips

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

8 bacon slices, halved crosswise

Make the BBQ Sauce: Heat the bacon drippings in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Stir in the salt, garlic powder, and dry mustard, and cook, stirring often, until the spices are toasted and fragrant and the onions are a deep maroon color, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cherry cola and vinegar, and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ketchup. Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 2 cups and the mixture coats the back of a spoon, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Shrimp: Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium. Cut a long 1/4-inch-deep slit in the inner curve of each shrimp; insert 1 jalapeño strip. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Wrap each shrimp tightly with 1 bacon piece. Set on a plate, seam sides down.

Place the bacon-wrapped shrimp, seam sides down, in the hot skillet, and cook, turning occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the shrimp are just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Serve the shrimp with the BBQ sauce.

Make Ahead: The BBQ sauce will hold up to 2 weeks in the fridge. If you're prepping for a party, the shrimp can be wrapped ahead of time and cooked later.

Trick Technique: If you're someone who loves their bacon in the morning, start saving the drippings in a jar for uses like this one!

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.

Hamburger Helpa
from Valerie's Home Cooking

Hamburger Helpa

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.

Serves 4 Hands-on 10 minutes Total 35 minutes

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 3. 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. 

Follow Lilian Woo on Twitter: @LilianNY

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