Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving with Sandra Lee and Joshua Bell plus A Giveaway

The perfect Thanksgiving is about food, the atmosphere, the drinks and especially the company. You already have the perfect company-Food Network Star Sandra Lee and Grammy Award Winning Violinist Joshua Bell have partnered up to help you with the rest.

Sandra Lee has created the perfect Thanksgiving meal and a drink inspired by Joshua Bell's new album At Home With Friends, that features some great duets with Josh Groban, Sting, Reg
ina Spektor, Kristin Chenoweth,and many others. For the ambiance, Joshua Bell is making available to you his full album to stream throughout your Thanksgiving dinner party.

"Thanksgiving is the perfect time to bring everyone together to celebrate a year of blessings. Simple time-saving shortcut
s to create a meaningful feast can be found in my new book Sandra Lee Semi Homemade-Cocktail Time. Give your gracious gathering a heartwarming start with my personal favorite, Joshua Bell's ,and greet your guests at the door with a vibrant cocktail, such as a Cinema Paradiso. The main attraction is food so try turning your main dish into a colorful centerpiece. For a quick and easy dessert, try Semi-Homemade Brownie Bottom Cheesecake, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family and friends."-Sandra Lee

Below are some great tips from Sandra Lee on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner and party a success.



*Tip from Sandra: “Re-name your cocktails for a signature touch and serve them in an array of glasses in different shapes and sizes for a glamorous effect. If you have a special album playing, review your song list and allow the song titles to inspire your cocktails, ie. Peach Cider can be turned into “Cinema Paradiso” to match the beautiful duet of the same name on Joshua Bell’s new album At Home With Friends. Brilliant!”


*Tip from Sandra: “If you’re facing a time crunch—pick party foods that are delicious and impressive, without being fussy. I recommend, Savory Bread Pudding and Fig and Port Tartlets—both of these tasty treats can be prepared before your guests arrive and served at room temperature.”


*Tip from Sandra: “Sometimes you need the culinary equivalent of a big warm hug. Praline Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic, comfort food creation that is baked to perfection.”


“Thanksgiving is the perfect time to bring everyone together to celebrate a year of blessings. Serve savory and decadent dishes such as Savory Bread Pudding and Praline Sweet Potato Casserole on an inviting table, filled with rich colors and seasonal textures. Simple, time-saving shortcuts to create a meaningful feast can be found in my new book Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time. Give your gracious gathering a heartwarming start with my personal favorite, Joshua Bell’s album, At Home With Friends and greet guests at your door with a vibrant cocktail, such as a Peach and Apricot Cider or Pumpkin Pie Martini . The main attraction is food, so try turning your Turkey or Pork Roast into a colorful centerpiece, served with a side of cornbread stuffing or cranberry sauce. For a quick and easy dessert try Semi-Homemade Glazed Spice Donuts with Pecans or a Sweet Potato Cake with Citrus Glaze, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating with your family and friends.”

Special thanks to Sandra Lee for providing you with these great Thanksgiving recipes, perfect for your dinner party and after.

Prep 25 minutes Bake 35 minutes Makes 12 mini bread puddings
o-stick cooking spray, Pam®
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, Johnsonville®
1 package (8-ounce) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon canola oil, Wesson®
1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, McCormick®
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat twleve 21⁄2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, breaking up lumps. Remove sausage from skillet. Add mushrooms, oil, and garlic to skillet. Cook and stir until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in sausage. Let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add cubed bread and sausage mixture to egg mixture; press bread with back of a large spoon to submerge into milk mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes or until bread absorbs milk mixture. Ladle bread pudding mixture into prepared muffin cups and place in a large rimmed baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and bread pudding puffs. Serve warm.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Prep 15 minutes Cook 6 minutes Makes 15 tartlets
1 jar (12-ounce) royal fig preserves, St. Dalfour®
1⁄4 cup port
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, Domino®/C&H®
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon extract, McCormick®
1 package (2.1-ounce) baked miniature phyllo dough shells, Athens®
round cinnamon, McCormick®
Powdered sugar, Domino®/C&H®
In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat preserves and port, about 6 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; set aside.
In a chilled mixing bowl, beat whipping cream, sugar, and cinnamon extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Snip 1⁄2 inch off one corner of the bag. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of fig mixture. Pipe whipped cream on top. Garnish with a dusting of ground cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Prep 10 minutes Cook 2 hours (Low) Makes 10 drinks
2 cans (11.5 ounces each) peach nectar
2 cans (11.5 ounces each) apricot nectar
1 bag (12-ounce) frozen peach slices
3 cups water
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup bourbon, Bulleit®
1⁄2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
Cinnamon stick

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine peach nectar, apricot nectar, peach slices, the water, brown sugar, bourbon, lemon juice, allspice, and 2 cinnamon sticks. Cover and heat on Low heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Discard cinnamon sticks. Turn slow cooker to Warm heat setting. Serve in mugs with additional cinnamon sticks.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.


Prep 15 minutes Bake 45 minutes Makes 6 servings

No-stick cooking spray, Pam®
3 cans (15 ounces each) cut sweet potatoes, drained, Princella®
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 can (5-ounce) evaporated milk, Carnation®, or 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice, Minute Maid®
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, McCormick®
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, McCormick®
1 cup packed light brown sugar, Domino®/C&H®
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces
2 cups finely chopped pecans, Diamond®
Pecan halves (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set side.
To make the casserole, in a large mixing bowl, mash the drained sweet potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in the eggs. Add the butter, evaporated milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice; mix until well combined. Spread into the prepared baking pan.
To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans. Sprinkle topping over the casserole. Garnish with pecan halves (optional). Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.


Prep 15 minutes Cook 5 to 6 hours (Low) Stand 15 minutes Makes 6 servings
1 1⁄2 cups frozen chopped onions
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning
1 can (16-ounce) whole cranberry sauce
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1⁄4 cup butter
1 box (6-ounce) pork stuffing mix
3⁄4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine onions and celery. Sprinkle roast with steak seasoning; place on vegetables in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and wine until combined. Spoon over roast in slow cooker.
Cover and cook on Low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.
Transfer roast to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring vegetable broth and butter to a boil. Stir pork stuffing mix and dried cranberries into pan. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
To serve, mound some stuffing on center of plate. Spoon a portion of celery, onions, cranberries, and accumulated juices from slow cooker over stuffing. Top with sliced roast.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Prep 30 minutes Cook 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours (High) + 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours (Low) Chill 4 hours Makes 8 servings
Canola oil cooking spray
1 box (18.3-ounce) fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
2⁄3 cup canola oil
1⁄4 cup espresso-and-cream coffee drink
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cake flour
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coat an 8 1⁄2-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap foil around the bottom of cake pan. Crumple additional aluminum foil to create a “ring base” about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together brownie mix, two of the eggs, the oil, and coffee drink until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Place foil ring in bottom of slow cooker; pour 1⁄2 inch of hot water into bottom of slow cooker. Using 2 long strips of foil, make an “X” over foil ring and bring it up along the sides of slow cooker to assist removing pan from slow cooker. Place springform pan on top of ring and the “X” in slow cooker. Stack 6 paper towels; place over top of slow cooker bowl. Secure with lid.
Cook on High heat setting for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. (Do not lift lid for the first 1 hour of cooking.)
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add sugar, flour, and salt; beat until smooth. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cream and vanilla; beat until combined. Pour over brownie mixture in slow cooker.
Cover and cook for 1 1⁄2 hours more. Turn slow cooker to Low heat setting. Cook for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until cheesecake is set with a wet-looking center. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes.
Use foil strips to lift springform pan from slow cooker. Place pan on wire rack; let cool to room temperature. Chill in pan for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, remove cake from pan.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

To check out Joshua Bell's album on Amazon head Here:

For more information on Sandra Lee including bios, book information and more, head over here:

For more information on Joshua Bell including bios and album information please head over to


I will be adding the streaming music player of Joshua Bell's At Home With Friends on my site so that you may come back and play it for your Thanksgiving dinner party. It truly is a beautiful album. With the generosity of Sony, one of my lucky readers will be receiving their very own copy of the Joshua Bell At Home With Friends CD.


This giveaway is easy to enter. Just tell me what your favorite party of Thanksgiving is whether it be something you have for dinner, a special recipe, whatever you would like to share.

For extra entries, you may

Follow my blog

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Grab my Button and add it to your sidebar or blogroll.

This giveaway will end Thursday 12/10 at 7 pm EST. Winner will be chosen by and emailed as well as posted here. CD provided by Sony Music. Open to US residents ONLY! Thanks and GOOD LUCK!

Disclaimer-I received NO monetary compensation for this review. Information and the CD for the winner was provided by Sony Music.


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