Oct 28

Semi-Homemade Halloween

in Book Reviews, News, Uncategorized

Early yesterday evening I made the drive out to Glendale to attend the Sandra Lee event. It had been a bit of a bummer day, but I was determined not to let things get to me and ruin my evening, and I’m so glad because I had a wonderful time! Before leaving I tried to get myself into the “Semi-Homemade” frame of mind, so I made a recipe in one of Sandra’s new books, (Semi-Homemade Money Saving Meals), Chicken Tikka Masala, for dinner. I truly put some of Sandra’s concepts to the test because when I finally got to making dinner I had about 30 minutes before I needed to jump in the car to drive to Glendale. I had dinner on the table just as I was walking out the door on-time. Not bad! What was even better was that it was yummy and everyone was happy.
Sandra arrived looking comfy and casual. TV Guide was there and started the event by doing a short interview with her and then the rest of the time was used by Sandra to promote her 3 new books, talk about what was coming in the future, and to answer questions from the audience. It was fun to learn a bit more about her and to hear some of the questions and answers. Sandra explained her 70/30 concept a bit more in depth. She said that if you think about it, 70% of our grocery stores are made up of aisles that contain boxed, canned, and other prepackaged foods. The other 30% is the perimeter of the store comprised of fresh produce, dairy, deli products, and bakery items. She explained that she designs her recipes around that concept. She talked about how her favorite shows are the holiday shows and that she’s known as the “holiday girl” at the Food Network. When asked about some of her favorite holiday traditions she said that she always makes cornbread stuffing and they always watch “It’s A Wonderful Life.” One of the kids in the audience asked her who her favorite chef was and Sandra responded that it was Ina Garten (another one of my faves!) because she is so mellow and sweet and always looks like she is having fun. she is the national spokesperson for Share Our Strength and its annual “Great American Bake Sale. She specifically works with Operation Frontline, a nutrition education program that teaches families how to prepare healthy, low-cost meals. Very cool. All in all I was very impressed with Sandra. She was just as cute and friendly as she seems on TV, and definitely passionate about what she does. One of my favorite moments of the night was while waiting in line at the end to have a book signed. There was a cute little blond boy who went behind the table to have his picture taken with Sandra. Sandra asked the boy if he wanted to sit on her lap for the picture, and he responded by vigorously shaking his head “no”. Everyone started cracking up because it was pretty cute.
With Halloween right around the corner I thought it appropriate to share a fun Halloween menu with you, courtesy of Sandra Lee. So, on today’s menu we have: Screamin’ Macaroni and Cheese, Oozing Potatoes, Spooky Punch, Scary Icee, and Crunchy Doughnut Eyeballs! All of these recipes come from the holiday chapter in Semi-Homemade Fast-Fix Family Favorites.

Screamin’ Macaroni and Cheese
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Makes: 4 servings of each variation
1 Tbsp. Mexican seasoning, McCormick®
3/4 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend, Kraft®

A couple of things that I learned about Sandra that I didn’t know about her before are that she is a fellow California girl (she was born in Santa Monica, CA) and that

1 pkg. (7 1/4-oz.) macaroni and cheese mix, Kraft

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Transfer to a medium baking dish or casserole dish.

2. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning over top of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle cheese blend over top to cover. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

1 pkg. (7 1/4-oz.) macaroni and cheese mix, Kraft

2 Tbsp. butter
1 c. Italian-style bread crumbs, Progresso

1 to 1 1/2 c. leftover broccoli florets
Oozing Potatoes
Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 18 minutes Makes: 4 servings

1 can (16-oz.) refried black beans, Rosarita®
1 c. Mexican cheese blend, Kraft
1/2 c. mild chunky salsa, Pace
1/2 c. dairy sour cream, Knudsen
1 can (2 1/4-oz.) sliced black olives, drained, Early California
®Scary Icee
Prep: 5 minutes Makes: 6 servings
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, C&H

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Transfer to a medium baking dish or casserole dish.

2. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter on low heat setting (25 percent lower) until melted. Add bread crumbs and toss to coat with butter. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top of macaroni and cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned on top.

1 pkg. (7 1/4-0z.) macaroni and cheese mix, Kraft

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Add broccoli and stir to combine. Transfer to a medium casserole dish. Bake about 10 minutes or until heated through.

1/2 bag (22-oz.) frozen waffle fries, Ore-Ida

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. Arrange waffle fries in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave black beans on high heat setting (100 percent power) for 4 to 6 minutes.

3. To assemble, evenly space waffle fries on a microwave-safe plate. Top each with 1 tablespoon beans and a sprinkle of cheese. Microwave on high heat setting (100 percent power) for 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Top each stack with 1 teaspoon salsa, 1 teaspoon sour cream, and an olive slice.

1 can (12-oz.) frozen lemonade mix concentrate
2 Tbsp. packaged lemon gelatin mix, Jell-O

1. In a blender, cover and pulse lemonade, gelatin, and sugar. Add ice to almost fill blender. Cover and continue to pulse until ice is crushed. Pour into glasses and serve.
Crunchy Doughnut Eyeballs
Prep: 30 minutes Chill: 10 minutes Makes: 20 treats
1 c. premier white morsels, Nestle®
2 Tbsp. solid vegetable shortening, Crisco®
20 Life Savers Gummies®
20 mini candy-coated milk chocolate candies, M&M’s Minis®
2 drops red food coloring

20 glazed doughnut holes, Entenmann’s

1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Cut 1/8-inch-thick slices from 2 opposite sides of each doughnut hole.

2. Melt white morsels and vegetable shortening in top of double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave.

3. Working with one doughnut hole at a time, use a fork to dip into melted morsels mixture to coat. Lift coated doughnut holes from coating, shaking excess melted morsels mixture back into bowl. Place coated doughnut holes, one cut side down, on prepared cookie sheet.

4. Place jellied candies on top of doughnuts. Dab chocolate candies with some of remaining melted morsels mixture and press onto jellied candies. Chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes or until coating is set.

5. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of remaining melted morsels mixture and 2 drops of food coloring. Using toothpick, paint colored morsels mixture on doughnut eyeballs to resemble veins. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Abigail October 29, 2008 at 12:43 am

Oooh, oooh, I get to be the first to leave a comment! Yeehaw! :) I guess being in Japan helps, with the time difference and all.

Do you have the recipe for the tikka masala? Sounds delish.

Looks like it was a fun evening in Glendale! Maybe she’ll come to Japan sometime…though the “70%” will be hard to come by here.


Bob October 29, 2008 at 9:32 am

All that stuff looks good. I love the 70/30 concept too.


Damaris October 29, 2008 at 9:49 am

you are one busy cook. Did you take those pictures or were they from the book?


The Carroll's October 29, 2008 at 11:35 am

K that chicken tikka masala looks great! there is an Indian restaurant in San Bernardino, by the county Records office that serves the best C.T.M.! And their Naan bread is great too!

You look fabulous! Do you know what you are having yet?


Jen October 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm

How fun was that!! These recipes look like fun too. Happy Halloween! You look adorable, btw.


Melanie Gray Augustin October 29, 2008 at 7:02 pm

I’m so glad you had a good night. Once I get back to Oz, I should try to get myself a copy of that one – I’m determined to start cooking again, but for now, I HATE our Japanese excuse for a kitchen.


Fahrenheit 350° October 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I love it all!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: