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Semi-Homemade Cooking: Quick, Marvelous Meals and Nothing is Made from scratch


The new way to cook — quick, marvelous meals and nothing is made from scratch.

Sandra Lee has been making everyday lives a little bit easier for over ten years with her Semi-Homemade techniques. Now, she brings her inspiring, practical ideas into the kitchen in her very first cookbook, with recipes that are quick, easy, and most of all delicious.

Semi-Homemade Cooking combines fresh ingredients with carefully chosen prepackaged foods — ...

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New York, NY 2002 Trade paperback New. AS New-stored Softcover Book from private collection D2313TUP1 Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 208 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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The new way to cook — quick, marvelous meals and nothing is made from scratch.

Sandra Lee has been making everyday lives a little bit easier for over ten years with her Semi-Homemade techniques. Now, she brings her inspiring, practical ideas into the kitchen in her very first cookbook, with recipes that are quick, easy, and most of all delicious.

Semi-Homemade Cooking combines fresh ingredients with carefully chosen prepackaged foods — everything from ready-made pastry to premade soups — to create a worry-free, timesaving new approach to home cooking.

Nothing is made from scratch — but everything tastes completely homemade. Semi-Homemade Cooking is packed with over one hundred inspiring recipes — from classic dishes like Southwestern Turkey Chili and Corn Bread, Six-Cheese Tortellini, and French Apple Raisin Sandwiches, to more sophisticated fare, such as Spicy Crab Salad and Roasted Pepper Soup to mouth-watering desserts like Cream Cheese Flan, and Raspberry Trifle with Rum Cream Sauce.

It's all here: appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, snacks, even treats for your pet — beautifully presented, artfully selected, and most can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.

Sandra also includes recommendations for her favorite product brands, grocery store shopping lists, helpful leftover hints, storage suggestions, and music and wine suggestions to accompany the meals.

Semi-Homemade Cooking is perfect for anyone who wants homemade meals without spending hours in the kitchen.

The new way to cook-quick, marvelous meals combining several prepackaged foods, a few fresh ingredients, and a "pinch of this with a hint of that" to make new, easy, gourmet-tasting, inexpensive meals in minutes."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In the kitchen, we don't have to pretend that we're pioneers. That's the reassuring (and time-saving) message of domesticity doyenne Sara Lee. In her first cookbook, she offers 101 recipes that utilize several prepackaged foods and a few fresh ingredients. Lee's main offering, though, is her imagination, the "pinch of this with a hint of that" that transforms ordinary components into extraordinary meals. In brisk chapters, she covers breakfast; lunch; dinner; desserts; appetizers and cocktails; soups and salads; snacks; gravies and sauces; and, lest we forget Fido, pet foods!
Dallas Morning News
Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking is totally delicious! It cuts corners without sacrificing style or flavor. Chances are, at least one recipe will become part of your weekly repertoire.
Boston Globe
Firmly in the quick-and-easy camp, Semi-Homemade Cooking does wonders with prepared foods...
The New York Daily News
This liberally illustrated book outlines more than 100 artfully presented, homemade-tasting snacks.
The Today Show
Everett Herald
Recipes are easy to follow and come with beautifully simple photographs.
Dick Clark
Sandra Lee showed me an amazing new way to cook that everyone can enjoy . . . delicious and quick.
Karen Grant
Sandra Lee's philosophy makes sense and her delivery is entertaining.
Wolfgang Puck
Sandra puts the entire American food industry to work for you. Her Semi-Homemade approach will help bring you, your family and friends back into the kitchen and to the dinner table, no matter how busy you may be.
Ellen Rose
Semi-Homemade Cooking definitely will appeal to so many people . . . it thinks for them.
Phil Paleologos
Sandra is an absolute delight. Informative and helpful. On a scale of 1 to 10, she is a 14!
Publishers Weekly
Replete with high-gloss, high-glam food photography, Lee's debut looks like a sophisticated cookbook, but closer inspection reveals that most recipes offer little a neophyte couldn't figure out for himself. A professional "lifestylist," Lee includes recipes such as a Golden Mushroom Soup that's simply a gussied-up can of Campbell's, and a Kahlua Tiramisu that demands three containers of refrigerated pudding. Harried home cooks might appreciate her shortcuts on the nights that authentically homemade meals are strategically impossible, but some will take issue with her use of brand names for virtually everything but the cooking water-a decision that, unfortunately, makes the book read as though it were underwritten by Nabisco, Kraft and Swanson. Pumpkin Cinnamon Pancakes, for example, call for Aunt Jemima pancake mix, and the Tropical Salmon necessitates French's mustard and Sunsweet Fruitlings. Lee even extends to animals the prospect of semi-homemade dishes: the chapter on pet foods includes a recipe for Kitty Tuna Cakes, wherein the intrepid cat-lover is instructed to fry Purina Pet Chow and StarKist tuna into patties. With a eye towards crafting the whole dining experience, Lee also suggests wine and music for some of her creations: pork kabobs, for instance, call for Hugel Gentil (an Alsatian white) and Celine Dion. Television appearances and Lee's sunny persona will help sales, but purists should look elsewhere for quick recipes. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401359232
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 10/23/2002
  • Edition description: First Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Lee is an Emmy-nominated and internationally-acclaimed expert in all things kitchen and home, She has predicted and changed the trajectory of American lifestyle with her signature "smart and simple" philosophy. She is the host of Food Network's Sandra's Money Saving Meals, and Semi-Homemade Cooking, a veteran program on the network in its' fifteenth season, as well as the host of HGTV's Sandra Lee Celebrates, a series of holiday primetime specials. She is also the editor-in-chief of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine.
Sandra has launched several lines of home, garden, and craft products and produced a successful DIY home improvement series. Her new home products line, entitled Sandra by Sandra Lee, will be available at Sears and Kmart in spring 2012. With a commitment to service and charity, Sandra works with numerous philanthropic organizations including UNICEF , Share Our Strength and Feeding America . Since 2002, Sandra has written 23 cookbooks as well as a memoir "Made From Scratch", which all together have sold over four million copies.

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Read an Excerpt

Letter From Sandra

Semi-Homemade Cooking will make your life much easier than it's ever been before! I've spent the past ten years creating a Semi-Homemade lifestyle for myself—and now for you—busy people on a budget and on the go. Our days are filled with too much to do, too little time to do it in, and not enough money to make it all happen. Life today requires us all to be super-human. "To-do" lists have gone from one-page handwritten sheets to entire chapters in hardbound book. And after getting all your "to-dos" done, you're expected to plan, shop for, and whip up new, fresh, mouth-watering homemade meals from scratch?

What is Semi-Homemade cooking? It's a new way of cooking where nothing is made from scratch. The Semi-Homemade cooking approach is easily done by combining several prepackaged foods, a few fresh ingredients, and a "pinch of this with a hint of that" to make new, easy, gourmet-tasting, inexpensive meals in minutes. It's fast, fabulous food.

How will Semi-Homemade Cooking make your life easier? Each recipe comes complete with time estimates for planning, cost guidelines for budgeting, and a suggested brand-name list of ingredients to ease your shopping load. So whether you are cooking for two or twenty, there will always be something easy, quick, and affordable to prepare. You'll be the "Julia Child" of your own kitchen without the time, energy, and expense it normally requires.

What will you get here that you can't get anywhere else? You'll get an entirely new way of cooking. You'll get recipes complete with actual brand names of products to use so you can be sure the recipe you create tastes exactly like itshould, every time. You'll get the benefit of quality and taste without the stress traditional cooking creates.

Welcome to the new Semi-Homemade world!



Serves 4 to 6

1 2/3 cups canned beef broth, Swanson®
3/4 cup ready-to-use julienne sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), Frieda's®
1/4 cup butter, Land O'Lakes®
1 package (6.6-ounce) stuffing mix, Stove Top® (flavor optional)
1-1 1/4-pound skirt steak
Salt and pepper

2 packages (11 ounces each) refrigerated prepared mashed potatoes, Simply Potatoes®
6 tablespoons butter, Land O'Lakes®
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Prep time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

Steak Preparation:
Bring broth, sun-dried tomatoes, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in contents of stuffing mix pouch. Cover saucepan and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff stuffing with fork. Cool stuffing. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay steak flat on clean work surface. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Cover steak evenly with stuffing. Roll up steak lengthwise to create a pinwheel effect, enclosing stuffing completely. Skewer seam with toothpicks. Place the steak roll, seam side down, on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle roll with salt and pepper. Roast until steak is golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes Preparation:
Meanwhile, peel back corners of potato packages. Warm potatoes in microwave according to package instructions. Mix in butter, milk, and rosemary. Season potatoes to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: May be served with my More-Than-Meatloaf Gravy (recipe found in Gravies and Sauces chapter).


Wine: Kendall-Jackson® Cabernet Sauvignon
Music: Hi Fidelity Lounge, Various Artists, "Volume 1: Subterranean Soundtracks"



Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds refrigerated boneless turkey cutlets, The Turkey Store®
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, Pillsbury®
1 egg, beaten to blend
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or ReaLemon®
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs, Progresso®
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/3 cup vegetable oil, Wesson®

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Rinse cutlets with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle cutlets with salt and pepper. Place flour in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, combine egg and lemon juice.
In a third medium bowl, combine bread crumbs and onion.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Working in batches, dip cutlets into flour, then egg, and then bread crumbs. Place cutlets in hot oil and cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Note May be served with my Creamy Mustard Sauce (recipe found in Gravies and Sauces chapter).


Wine: Chateau St Michelle® Chardonnoy
Music: Various Artists, "Soul Food"



My husband loves pasta as much as I love Mexican food. So I've learned some simple, sumptuous ways to be creative. This mushroom cream sauce is extraordinary and the ground turkey adds a new tasty twist. I've learned to love pasta almost as much as my husband does. Maybe my next book should be 50 percent Mexican food, 50 percent Italian food. Should I call it "Tortillas to Pasta" or "Pasta to Tortillas"? Let me know your thoughts (see page 204).

Serves 4

1 package (25-ounce) refrigerated cheese ravioli, Rosetto®
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, Wesson®
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning: Classic Herbs, McCormick®
1 can (10 3/4-ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup, Campbell's®
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sour cream

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Prepare ravioli according to package instructions; drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat oil over high heat.
Add turkey and seasoning,
Sauté until turkey is brown, breaking it into 1-inch pieces with a spatula, about 6 minutes.
Stir in soup and milk.
Bring to a simmer.
Remove from heat.
Stir in sour cream.
Gently toss ravioli in sauce to coat.
Transfer to plates and serve.


Wine: 1999 Lindeman Bin® Pinot Nior
Music: Maxwell, "Embryo"



I created this cake in college and it was always a big hit. I wonder if having the word "rum" in its title added to its success?

Makes 1 large bundt cake, about 12 servings

Nonstick vegetable cooking spray, PAM®
1 package (18.25-ounce) classic yellow cake mix, Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe®
1 cup Malibu® Rum
1/2 cup vegetable oil, Wesson®
1 package (3.4-ounce) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix, Jell-O®
4 eggs

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, C&H®
1/4 cup water
1 stick butter, Land O'Lakes®
1/4 cup Malibu® Rum

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Cooling time: 45 minutes

Cake Preparation:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
Spray a 10-inch (12-cup) bundt pan with nonstick spray.
Using an electric mixer, beat all ingredients in a large bowl for 2 minutes.
Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes.
Invert cake onto platter, then carefully remove pan.
Allow cake to cool completely.

Rum Glaze Preparation:
Meanwhile, stir sugar and water in a heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat until sugar dissolves.
Add butter.
Simmer until mixture thickens and is syrupy, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in rum.
Cool glaze completely.
Drizzle glaze evenly over cooled cake and serve.

Storage and Leftovers: Cover tightly and store rum cake at room temperature for up to 3 days. Cover tightly and store rum glaze in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Best served at room temperature.



Serves 4

Nonstick vegetable cooking spray, PAM®
1 large onion
1 1/4 cups Italian style bread crumbs, Progresso®
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic, McCormick®
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup all-purpose flour, Pillsbury®
3 large egg whites, beaten slightly

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 large cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Cut onion into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Separate slices into rings. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and garlic. Set aside. Place milk, flour, and egg whites into three separate small bowls. Dip each onion ring into milk, flour, egg white, and bread crumbs (in that order). Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Turn onion rings over and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes longer.

Source: Semi-Homemade Cooking

Copyright © 2002 Sandra Lee

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2005

    Everyone is not a chef!

    I have been teaching home cooking for five years. If you want recipes for food made completely from scratch, there are plenty of cookbooks on the shelf for you. This book is for all those people who would really like to cook dinners for their family or guests, but just don't have the time. Sandra Lee's recipes are not necessarily unhealthy (you should see what so many families eat for dinner every night). If you want to substitute a healthy alternative for an unhealthy ingredient, go ahead. I don't like every one of her recipes, but many of them are surprisingly good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2004


    Anyone who could possible say that this cookbook is anything but wonderful must be crazy. The recipes are delicious, easy, and fast. My family and friends all love the recipes especially the fondues. It makes family dinners and entertaining for friends much less stressful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2004

    Don't waste your money

    All this book contains is a bunch serving suggestions. Take this already made product, and put it with this other already made product, and fool your friends and family into thinking you spent hours in the kitchen. However, don't care about their health or what they are actually ingesting because it only took you 5 minutes to make. Once in a while, yes, everyone needs to take short cuts. This is not the way to go about it. I can't understand why so many people are duped into believing that cooking is hard and boring. Get a beginner's book to obtain a solid knowledge of basic cooking, and you too can make healthy meals that cost less, are easier, and quicker to prepare than most anything in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2004


    I use this all the time! Great for busy Moms who need to get dinner together in a flash--but still have great taste!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2004

    Wolfgang Puck must cringe every time he thinks about this

    If you like expensive, non-nourishing food filled with additives, fat and sodium, this is the book for you. It's a shame that her approach shows so little respect for good cooking and for a household budget. For eample, you can use premade mashed potatoes, which are expensive, or make your own for much less and both learn a little about cooking and save some money. Also, this is about the only cookbook I've read recently with NO nutritional information for the recipes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    Great for any cook!

    This book makes a great gift for any cook. I made the Gooey Mud Pie for a dinner party. It was very good! It was easy to make and everyone loved it. It was really nice to be able to make a dessert that tasted like something you could get in a restaurant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2003

    The Pictures are wonderful!

    At first, I didn't realize how many brand name ingredients she actually names, but when I looked at the pictures and saw what it could look like..I think I can fool anyone into thinking I spend hours in the kitchen. I like her down to earth philosophy about grocery shopping, wine, music and food! She says what everyone else doesn't. She does not include nutritional breakdowns which would be helpful.

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