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
Sandra Lee is a member of the International Association of
Culinary Professionals She also studied at the acclaimed Cordon
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
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
My husband absolutely loved the Trifle and the gravy for the
Steak Pinwheels. I was queen of the kitchen!
White Chocolate Fondue, pg. 128
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
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
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,
Pet Foods – Bone-Nanza Bones, Healthy Hound Stew, Kitty
Sandra starts each chapter with a note about the recipes to
follow. There is a full index, but each chapter also has its own
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
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
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."
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
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
~ The Rebecca Review
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
~The Rebecca Review, enjoying Banana Crème Pie