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Sandra Lee 


Semi-Homemade Cooking

Semi-Homemade Cooking: Quick, Marvelous...


What a Breeze and Meals that Please

Sandra Lee is known to audiences nationwide from her appearances on the QVC shopping channel and numerous network and cable television programs. Her Semi-Homemade solutions have also been featured in People, Redbook, Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Country Home and Victoria. She has also appeared on NBC’s Today. FOX’s Good Day LA and Good Day New York.

Sandra Lee is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals She also studied at the acclaimed Cordon Bleu.

When selecting a cookbook, normally I will buy cookbooks that promote “cooking from scratch.” This is the first cookbook that claims that “Nothing is Made from Scratch.” What Sandra means is, you will still be cooking, just parts of the recipe are “convenience/prepackaged foods” or packet mixes. This slices time off making cakes for sure!

Firstly, these recipes looked far too easy and so I was a bit skeptical. Secondly, I don’t normally buy anything not in its raw state. Buying “pancake mix” was new to me. Heading home from the grocery store, I almost felt a little sinful.

This cookbook contains 101 recipes such as Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes, Southwestern Turkey Chili, roasted Pepper Soup, Kahlua Tiramisu and Berry Cookie Cobbler. You will find recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, snacks and even treats you can make for your pets.

The beauty of this cookbook is almost more in the “Semi-Homemade” techniques than in the actual recipes. Technically, you can adapt these recipes for your own use in many ways.

Tonight I made the “Steak Pinwheels with Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffing and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes.” In the recipe, it calls for sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil, but I just used the ones I had in oil and reduced the amount to 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil.

The Stove top stuffing mix I found was only 6 ounces, but the recipe called for a 6.6 ounce box. It still worked fine. Instead of just salt and pepper on the skirt steak, I used garlic salt and freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns. Ok, so I cheated and made the potatoes from scratch because I had potatoes I needed to use up.

Then, for desert, no lies! I waited to make the desert until “after” dinner. This was new. I didn’t feel stressed at all. I took the pound cake out of the freezer, cut it into cubes and drizzled the rum-butter sauce all over the cake. Yum! Then, for an added touch, you can mix in some frozen raspberries with the jam. I also used frozen raspberries on top and added whipped cream. The “Raspberry Trifle with Rum Sauce” is absolutely delish! She doesn’t say to use whipped cream, but Trifle without whipped cream just isn’t the same.

So, to explain how much time I saved, I made the recipe in about 10 minutes. Since the vanilla pudding was already cold and the frozen raspberries cooled down the entire desert very fast, I could have served this almost immediately. Not having to make the pound cake was a real treat and hey, I didn’t even have to make custard.

My husband absolutely loved the Trifle and the gravy for the Steak Pinwheels. I was queen of the kitchen!


White Chocolate Fondue, pg. 128
See Recipe at this Site

The full-color, full-page photographs are really tempting. Unlike other cookbooks, the food I made actually did look exactly like the pictures. Each recipe has time estimates and suggested brand-name ingredients. If you are looking for a cookbook for entertaining, this one has some excellent time saving ideas.

I noticed that Sandra also suggests you plan your entire week’s menu in advance. This is a great time-saving idea and has worked for me for years! Keeping “staples” on hand is always useful.

Contents Include:

Grocery Shopping – Hints and Tips to get you in and out of the store fast.

Brand Names, Prepping, Cooking, and cooling Times, Budget, Leftovers, Storage, Music

Some Examples of the Recipes:

Breakfast – Muffins, Crepes and Country Biscuits and Gravy

Lunch – Curried bowtie Salad, Beefy Stew or Gnocchi Dippers

Dinner – Dijon Chicken and Mushrooms, Meaty Microwave Lasagna, Tropical Salmon

Desserts – Vanilla Cream Pie, Bananas Foster Pie, Rum Cake

Appetizers – Sesame Chicken Drumettes, Italian Fondue, Smoked Salmon and Olive Blini or Oriental Pork Wrappers

Soups & Salads – Roasted Pepper Soup, Cheddar Potato Soup, Bay Shrimp and Avocado Salad, Spicy Crab Salad.

Snacks – Caramel Popcorn, Hummus Pitas, Bagel Chip Dip

Gravies & Sauces – Sherry Mushroom Gravy, Pesto, Hollandaise Sauce

Pet Foods – Bone-Nanza Bones, Healthy Hound Stew, Kitty Katafornia Rolls

Sandra starts each chapter with a note about the recipes to follow. There is a full index, but each chapter also has its own contents page.

Semi-Homemade is for any cook who is looking for “shortcut” strategies. You really can make delicious meals in “minutes.” If you are looking for more leisure time, but want to still enjoy home-made meals, this might be for you.

If you are looking for low-salt, low-fat cooking, I think you could adapt many of the recipes by purchasing low-salt beef stock or mixes that say low salt. With prepackaged foods, that has to be a consideration. Although many of the recipes are healthier because she uses techniques that make them low-fat. Like her “Healthy Onion Rings” that are made in the oven.

I can’t wait to make the Tropical Salmon and Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes.

A cookbook to make your life easier! Really inspired me to get back in the kitchen and have some fun. 

It was like a cooking holiday!


Sandra Lee 


Semi-Homemade Desserts

5 out of 5 stars The Most Delicious Chocolate Biscotti Ever, January 13, 2004

"Sandra teaches us to have fun with dessert, to try something new, to pair the familiar with the unexpected. She shows us that it's not the grand gestures that impress, but the little touches-a sprinkle of sugared rose petals, a drizzle of warm honey, the cool elegance of fresh mint with lime." ~Mary Hart

I love reading cookbooks, so it took me a few months to try any of the recipes in this amazing book. My problem was that I simply could not decide which recipe to make first. But once I started trying the recipes, I could not stop. First, I tried the "Sherry Tea Cakes" which are the most delicate and dreamy cupcakes I've ever made. I loved the addition of nutmeg and how quickly you can make the icing. I did learn that you can't make this recipe in foil baking cups. There is a reason Sandra Lee uses the "paper" liners.

Anyway, I was bored last night and had the most sinful desire for chocolate anything. I turned to page 73 and started to make "Eric McCormack's Amazing Chocolate Almond Biscotti." Of course I had purchased the ingredients a week or so earlier, but that is beside the point. The chocolate craving hit and here I was searching for the easiest recipe I could find. I soon realized this was the recipe I should have made "first."

I made a few variations in the recipe, which just included substituting vanilla extract for the almond extract and I added 1/3 cup chocolate chips instead of the almonds. This recipe is actually faster than the instructions would lead you to believe. Once you have mixed up the cake mix and about 5 other ingredients, you press the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes. Now, they say to cool for 35 minutes. They actually slice pretty well in their warm state. Then, I put the biscotti back into the oven for the 40 minutes to dry. So, I saved myself 35 minutes. I could go on and on about "just" this one recipe. Guess what I'm making for friends this next Christmas! I think the biscotti will be amazing drizzled with melted white chocolate.

If I can find some strawberry nectar and fresh strawberries in February, I'm making the Strawberry Cake with Real Strawberry Frosting for Valentine's Day.

The beauty of this particular book is the stylish presentations for Holidays. Not only can you find recipes for all the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Easter, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa), you can find wedding cakes, birthday cakes, baby shower ideas, garden party host ideas and there is even a Exotic Arabian Buffet.

~ The Rebecca Review 


Linda's Lollies


Delicious Creative Flavors, January 10, 2007

As a fan of the "After Dinner Linda's Lollies" I thought I'd start a new adventure and try 47 exciting flavors. These are perfect for every occasion and especially if you crave a wide range of flavors, but don't have time to always make Coconut Crème Pie or run to the store for Root Beer.

Some of the flavors in this delicious 48-count box (mine arrived in a plastic bag) include: Watermelon, Buttered Popcorn, Green Apple, Caramel, Spearmint, Fruit Punch, Cotton Candy, English Toffee, Apple Cinnamon, Root Beer, Red Hot Cinnamon, Pink Lemonade, Pineapple, Peppermint, Blueberry, Wild Cherry (2), Milk Chocolate, Strawberry, Raspberry, Pink Grapefruit, Vanilla (so creamy), Limeade, Root Beer Float, Lemon Meringue Pie, Orangeade, Banana, Lemon Lime, Cherry Cheesecake, Butterscotch, German Chocolate Cake, Licorice, Chocolate Covered Banana, Concord Grape, Chocolate Marshmallow Sundae, Tutti-Fruity, Peanut Butter, Bubble Gum, Cinnamon, Pina Colada and Peach.

Sound delicious? They are all dreamy sweet and smooth and taste delicious. A lollipop for every mood and occasion. Also try the Dessert and After Dinner varieties to get the full range of flavors.

~The Rebecca Review, enjoying Banana Crème Pie