On Monday, Oct. 20, Sandra Lee will hostess a “Sweet and Simple Cocktail Hour” from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Chester County Book & Music Co. in West Goshen, demonstrating how we can cut corners and love doing it. The author and Food TV star’s visit will introduce the release of three new “Semi-Homemade” cookbooks that aim to help liberate homemakers from over-extended budgets and schedules.
Saving time and money starts with a decision to do so, according to Lee. Back the decision to rein in with strategies to make it happen — where the semi-homemade teachings come in — and, according to Lee, the result can be very fulfilling. The trademark 70/30 semi-homemade philosophy: mixing 70 percent ready-made foods with 30 percent fresh ingredients, teaches that anyone can take full credit for creating satisfying, delicious meals, even on a shoestring budget. Lee shows consumers how to eye a bargain and
use the grocery store with 70/30 strategies for stocking a ready pantry for simple, economic, and delicious meals at a moment’s notice.
“Learning to keep powdered milk or canned evaporated milk on hand to cook with is one example of a way to save food dollars,” offered Lee. One of her three new books, “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade: Money Saving Solutions for Meals in Minutes” offers distinctive ways to save time and dollars with more than 150 recipes. Dishes like Raspberry Mustard-Crusted Chicken dispel any notion that budget cooking is boring. Maximize both time and money in the kitchen with the “Cook Once, Eat Thrice” chapter where one main recipe kicks off three full entrees. “Lavish Leftovers” is a chapter showcasing ways to enhance the status of leftovers. Singapore Noodles, for example, with its kicked up Asian flair, removes the ho-hum from leftover chicken.
With the holiday seasons rapidly approaching, solutions for cash-strapped shoppers will be demonstrated during the home and food expert’s visit to Chester County on Oct. 20. She will share how to embellish foods and beautify holiday gatherings so recipients and guests feel cared for.
“This holiday giving season is about baking from the heart,” said Lee, citing her attachment to the new cookbook release, “Desserts 2,” the sequel to “Deliciously Delectable Desserts.” Lee is fond of “Desserts 2” because it is “on target” in proving how to create small, thoughtful foods that are perfect to give as gifts. She plans to use her local visit as an opportunity to demonstrate in person how to increase holiday cheer by dressing up offerings with a snip of ribbon, parchment or pinking shears. “Thoughtful creativity transforms cute little additions into smart gift-giving,” added Lee, who hopes to get the creative juices flowing in those who come to the class.
Being smart this holiday season includes cutting costs and time by sharing the cook-load at holiday gatherings. In this climate, Lee insists that everyone should pitch in for celebrations. The person hosting the affair should take responsibility for the main course. Then, she believes, the host should be adamant that everyone bring a dish they love, making the event about “communal credit.” And Lee is certain that even the least experienced cooks in the family will be able to find a dish they can prepare in one of her new releases, “Fast-fix Family Favorites,” “Desserts 2” and “Money-Saving Meals.”
“Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Sweet & Simple Cocktail Hour” is 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20 at Chester County Book & Music Co., 975 Paoli Pike, West Goshen.
Tickets are required to attend. Information is available at www.ccbmc.com and 610-696-1661.
Both recipes are from “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade: Money Saving Solutions for Meals in Minutes.”
Raspberry Mustard-Crusted Chicken
Prep 15 minutes
Bake 20 minutes (after thawing)
Makes 4 servings
p 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
p ¼ cup Dijon mustard
p ¼ cup frozen raspberries, thawed
p 2 tbs. raspberry preserves, Smucker’s
p ½ cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs
p ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
p 1 tbs. dried parsley
p ½ tsp. salt
p ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
p Nonstick cooking spray
p Fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together mustard, thawed raspberries and preserves. Pour into bag with chicken. Massage bag gently to coat chicken. Squeeze air from bag and seal. Set aside.
In a small zip-top plastic bag, combine bread crumbs, finely chopped pecans, parsley, salt, and pepper. Shake to combine. Squeeze air from bag and seal. Place sealed bag with chicken and sealed bag with bread crumbs in another large freezer bag. Seal bag, label, and freeze.
Thawing and cooking: Thaw chicken completely in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Empty bread crumb mixture onto a plate. Press chicken breasts into bread crumbs to coat. Place chicken on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of chicken breast registers 170 degrees F. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional).
Start to finish 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings
p 2 tbs. canola oil
p 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
p 1 can (6-ounce) tiny shrimp
p 1 cup chopped yellow onion
p 1 tbs. minced ginger
p 2 tsp. crushed garlic
p 4 cups water
p 2 packages (3 ounces each) chicken-flavor ramen noodles
p 2 tsp. red curry powder
p 1½ cups finely shredded leftover chicken, turkey or pork
p 4 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
p ¼ cup dry sherry
p Fresh chives (optional)
In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon, shrimp, onion, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil; add ramen noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add curry powder and seasoning packets from ramen noodles to bacon mixture; stir to combine. Turn heat to high and add leftover chicken and noodles. Using a pair of large forks, toss to combine. Add scallions and sherry and toss until sherry is absorbed. Garnish with chives (optional).