October 21, 2008

To Semi or not to Semi

Sandra Lee takes a lot of heat for not necessarily being a "real" cook. Her Semi-Homemade method encompasses a majority of store-bought items paired with some fresh ingredients to create a full meal. I think she has definitely struck a cord with many a busy moms who are just working hard to get something on the table for their hungry families. But she is still under intense scrutiny from many people who think her methods are cheating a bit, or not necessarily what cooking is all about. 

Considering that Kraft dinner is A-OK in my book, I am certainly not one to judge. I will admit that there is something nice about spending time in the kitchen and really putting effort into creating a meal for people you love, but this kind of time is not a luxury for most. In fact, most of the recipes that I have gotten from friends and family that have become some of my favorites, really embrace the whole Semi-Homemade concept.

This all being said, I still had yet to make one of Sandra's recipes until now. First off, it's very hard to find some of the ingredients she uses in our oh-so-small NYC grocery stores. They barely have enough room for tomatoes let alone Jiffy mix. Oh, and ps for all you southerners, no, there are absolutely no grits up here (or breakfast gravy mix! gasp!) - they all have to be lovingly sent up here from Mom. :) Secondly, sometimes her flavor combinations sound totally unappealing. Like a quesadilla with strawberry jam and applesauce. No thanks.

Now that I've gone on my little rant, let's move on to what did sound appealing to me, and how it somehow went terribly wrong. These bars are loaded up with lots of raisins, chocolate chips, peanut butter and oats. And with the help of Bisquick, they easily bake up into a cakey texture. It's this cakey texture that absolutely killed this one for me. I mean, have you ever heard of a peanut butter cake? I haven't, and I beginning to think there is a reason for that. The peanut butter leaves this sticky after taste in your mouth, similar to eating a big spoonful of PB, but then you have a dry cake to go along with it instead of something gooey and yummy. Totally not good. I tried many times to eat them (they had lots of chocolate!), and they just never got any better.

So much for my first one of Sandra's recipes. It might be a while before I try one of these again!

Please visit the link below for the recipe:


Emiline said...

I like watching Sandra, because she puts on a show, but I will never make her recipes.

No grits up there?!

Bitten Sweets said...

i've never been able to get into Sandra's show, and not for lack of trying. i certainly understand why 'real cooks' get on her case, but many times paula deen does the same, using a bisquick mix or boxed cake mix then adding fresh ingredients to it. do they harp on paula too? (love paula, btw!)

and as for grits--they are everywhere in NC! the weirdest i've seen is grits on scrambled eggs. not being from the south, i was a bit surprised.

Culinarywannabe said...

Hi Emiline - I agree that she is very entertaining. I would REALLY like to meet her set designer though - that's the real star of the show! And the only grits I've been able to find so far was the oldest, dustiest, nastiest looking container you've ever seen!

Hi Bitten Sweets - Ahh, they could never harp on Paula...it would be like giving your own grandma a hard time! I love her too. The weirdest grit thing I've seen is when one of my friends moms used to mix them up with avocado! She was from Miami and apparently they do that down there. Yuk!

Maria said...

Sandra bugs me. I am not the biggest fan. Sorry these didn't turn out!!

Aimée said...

I've never heard of Sandra and it sounds like I'm all the better for it. Too bad about the bars.

Maria said...

There is an award for you at our blog!!

Culinarywannabe said...

Thanks Maria - me too! Such a let down to bake something chocolatey and it not turn out!! And thank-you so much for the award!!

Hi Aimée - Yea, you probably aren't missing too much. She's kinda a Martha type who does all kinds of tablescapes and decorations. For each episode they totally redecorate her set to go with the theme. She even wears matching outfits!!