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Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking Paperback – Print, September 6, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0696226855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0696226854
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #900,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Does the thought of cooking from scratch make you panic? Do you stand in front of your supermarket's canned vegetables display frozen with indecision? Is your fridge filled with takeout containers, and your oven used for storage? If you answered these questions with an emphatic "Yes," Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking might be the cookbook for you.

There are plenty of excellent quick-and-easy cookbooks out there, but this book feels like a cross between a giant advertisement and one of those free recipe books you get with mail-in proofs of purchase. Every ingredient that can possibly be branded is labeled as such. Lee's Salad Chinois is made with Swanson premium chunk chicken breast, Kikkoman soy sauce, McCormick ground ginger, Hellman's or Best Foods mayonnaise, La Choy chow mein noodles, Fresh Express prepared green salad, Chun King chow mein vegetables, and Dole mandarin orange segments. Gnocchi Dippers are whipped up with Alessi gnocchi, Bertolli olive oil, and, believe it or not, Kraft Velveeta cheese. The Malibu Rum Cake includes Malibu Rum, Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe yellow cake mix, and Jell-O vanilla instant pudding. And not only does Lee dictate brand names, she chimes in with advice on music and wine selections, as well. One can only hope that Wolfgang Puck wrote the introduction to this book without ever seeing it. --Leora Y. Bloom --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sandra Lee has a passion for simple solutions that create dramatic results in all areas of home life. She is editor-in-chief of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine, the host of two highly rated television shows (the multi-Emmy-nominated Semi-Homemade Cooking and Sandra's Money Saving Meals), as well as a New York Times bestselling author of seventeen books. An internationally-acclaimed home and food expert, Sandra has revolutionized the way people think about traditional, time-consuming, "from-scratch" methods. With her trademark 70/30 philosophy, which combines 70% ready-made products with 30% fresh touches, Sandra creates aspirational meals and breathtaking living environments that are affordable and attainable, making her the foremost recognized advocate to every over-extended person.
Sandra's philosophy was born out of necessity and the challenges she faced throughout her childhood. The oldest of five children, Sandra was responsible for caring for her four younger siblings and managing the household. Forced to live on welfare and food stamps, Sandra quickly learned how to turn budget-friendly foods into delicious and special meals for her family while stretching every dollar and every minute.
In 1989, after attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Sandra was faced with her own home decorating dilemma: How to decorate her home with style and flair on a limited budget. She invented a quick, easy way to re-create her home and realized that others could use the same solutions. She invented her own line of patented home, garden and craft products and launched her company in 1993. Sandra quickly became the retailers "go-to-girl" for innovative, smart consumer products, working with Walmart, Target and QVC-USA. The product lines were so successful that she was asked to anchor the on-air launch of the home, garden and craft categories for QVC-United Kingdom and QVC-Germany. This success motivated Sandra to produce one of the first Do-It-Yourself home improvement video series, which sold over a million copies. Her product lines garnered numerous industry awards, including Wallcoverings, Windows & Interior Fashion's "Achiever of the Year" and Profitable Craft Merchandising's "Home Decorating Product of the Year."

Sandra then attended the world's leading culinary art institute, Le Cordon Bleu. She learned how to apply her Semi-Homemade(R) philosophy and savvy shortcuts towards gourmet recipes so that anyone could create and savor delicious dishes at home in less time and at a fraction of the cost. Since then, Sandra has become a New York Times bestselling author and has written sixteen cooking and entertaining books. She has sold more than 3 million books since the fall of 2005 and has been awarded the prestigious, International French Gourmand Award for "Best Easy Cookbook". In fall 2009, Sandra will release three new books: Easy Weeknight Wonders, Money Saving Slow Cooking and Cocktail Time.

Semi-Homemade(R) moved seamlessly from books to television, radio and the Internet. In 2003, her Food Network TV series, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, debuted as one of the highest-rated show launches in the network's history and celebrated its 200th episode in 2008. Nominated for numerous Daytime Emmy's, Semi-Homemade Cooking remains a top performing program. Sandra has also hosted ten one-hour primetime specials. Her personal story was documented by Food Network's Chefography to rave reviews and high ratings, and her memoir, Made From Scratch, was a Barnes & Noble bestseller. In May 2009, Sandra launched a second Food Network series, Sandra's Money Saving Meals, which will save viewers an average of 39% - 50% on every grocery store bill. In fall 2009, Sandra will become the first cross-over talent on the Scripps Network, with HGTV's Sandra Lee Celebrates.

Sandra was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award for her involvement with many charitable and philanthropic organizations, as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2009 by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate for contributions made to society. Sandra is the national spokesperson for Share our Strength's Great American Bake Sale and Operation Frontline, two groundbreaking programs focused on ending childhood hunger in America. She is a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and has served on the board of directors of Children's Hospital. Sandra is a generous supporter of God's Love We Deliver, Project Angel Food and the Central Park Conservancy. She was the celebrity chef for DineOut LA in 2008 and GoEat LA in 2009, raising funds for Aid for Aids International (AFAI). She participates in Harvard Business School's annual Woman's Entrepreneurial Conference and is a lecturer at Yale University's School of Management.

Sandra's passion and enthusiasm is contagious. Her attainable, couture-styled, approach allows her the privilege of being a frequent guest expert for many national TV shows including Good Morning America, Today, Weekend Today, Fox News Channel, Ellen, and Tyra, among others. She is a bankable personality having appeared as the cover celebrity on many national magazines including Ladies Home Journal, Redbook and TV Guide.

Customer Reviews

It gives you quick, easy to make meals when you are short on time but want something better than fast food or TV dinners.
marian goldberg
I am having a great time trying one recipe after another from this cookbook because none of them have taken a lot of time, and every single one has been delicious!
I won't waste any more time travelling around town looking for the exact brand names needed to make the recipes in this book.
Marcy Kopec

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Claire on January 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to take issue with those reviewers who have attacked this book so passionately! True, there are "gourmet" cooks who wouldn't dream of adding any prepared foods to their recipes; they obviously have the time and energy to spend hours in the kitchen every day. However, I don't understand why a "gourmet" cook would even consider buying a book entitled "Semi-Homemade" anything!

This book was obviously written for people like me, who no longer have the time or energy to spend all day in the kitchen, and "Semi-Homemade Cooking" has been the answer to my prayers! I probably own a hundred cookbooks, most of them gathering dust on a bookshelf in the living room. I've been cooking for forty years, and only a few cookbooks have stood the test of time well enough to remain on my kitchen counter; this is the newest one to make the grade.

No, I do not consider myself a "gourmet" cook. I used to make complicated, time-consuming dishes that took hours and hours, but, frankly, many of them weren't any better than my favorite quick & easy recipes! And at 63, I want recipes that I can put together quickly and that everyone will enjoy. I am having a great time trying one recipe after another from this cookbook because none of them have taken a lot of time, and every single one has been delicious! Try Country Biscuits and Gravy, for example; my husband asks for it every Sunday. And Salad Chinois (Chinese Chicken Salad) is superb!

Bottom line: This is not a book for food snobs! This is a book for people who want delicious meals they can prepare themselves with a minimum of fuss. Try it, you'll love it! Many thanks to Sandra Lee -- I'm ordering "Semi-Homemade II".
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76 of 90 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Very disappointing The recipes are filled with unhealthy ingredients .The concept is great but the nutritional benefits are not there-- so it isnt a quick fix for me.
Hard to imagine Wolfgang endorsing such a book
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108 of 137 people found the following review helpful By Eugene J. Gemperline on November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This woman cannot cook. It's a travesty that she has her own show on the Food Network with the likes of Mario Batalli and Alton Brown. Okay, here's one of her brilliant ideas.

1) Pumpkin Pie Petit-fours: Bake your own crust in these small tins, then buy a WHOLE PUMPKIN PIE, scoop out the filling, and pipe it into the new crusts. Why not eat the damn pumpkin pie that you just bought!? She did the same thing with a cheesecake. She ruined a perfectly good cheescake just so she could pipe the filling onto her petit-fours crusts.

Doesn't that seem a little backwards to you? If you were to make a "semi-homemade" petit-fours tray, don't you think you'd want to just make the filling yourself, and then use storebought crusts?

Here's another great idea of hers.

A vanilla wafer, topped with a slice of banana, with a dollop of store-bought banana pudding on top. Voila, instant crap! She really has mad skillz, doesn't she? Mad culinary skillz. I could've done this when I was four.

I swear, the lady can't even make hamburger helper.

Semi-homemade my butt. More like barely-homemade. More like "I bought everything pre-made and then ARRANGED it to look nice." That's not cooking, that's lying.

And her "table-scapes" are horrible.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By lovestoread on December 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
just because the recipe says to use pre-made ingredients doesn't mean you can't take the extra time to make as many of them from scratch that you can, like shredding your own cheese, cutting up a onion, or making your own mashed potatoes, etc. I sub as many fresh ingredients as I can for the pre-packaged and I still have a good meal made in no time. That may defeat the purpose of the cookbook, BUT, the recipes are what stand out, and any can me made with fresh or pre-packaged items.

They are good, everyday family meals. The photos and lay out are outstanding, and the books are well priced for the quality we get from them. Worth the money.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Knute Jaab on January 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am all for shortcuts in the kitchen and I am not a health nut or a food snob, but I was hard-pressed to find more than a handful of recipes in this book that were edible. Most of them were seriously lacking in the flavor department. The fact that most of them are very poor, nutrition-wise, also concerned me a lot. She seems beholden to too many ingredients that are high in fat and sodium, as well as chemicals and preservatives. I mean, why use artificial coffee creamer in an eggnog recipe? I received this book as a gift, from a well-meaning friend. I would have much rather gotten one of rachel Ray's books, as she really knows how to make fast and simple meals from fresh ingredients.
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229 of 306 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
Read more ›
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