Any of you 90s kids ever watch Food Network growing up? Do you remember Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade? Even as a non-adult I thought she was funny to watch. The concept was sprucing up pre-made convenience items. I recall it adding extra vanilla extract to already vanilla flavored things a lot of the time. I imagine it probably just made it taste too much like vanilla, but who knows? I never quite got why it was a show. I feel like that’s already how people cooked. I’m sure a lot of us had a parent who would throw real cheese into boxed mac. I don’t have any hate towards her; I am not a food snob and don’t believe anyone has to cook from scratch to be healthy or worthy. She did make a couple of major missteps with her Kwanzaa and Hanukkah cakes. They were both similar, involving grocery store angel food cakes with canned icing. The Kwanzaa one was adorned with CORN NUTS, chocolate icing, filled with apple pie filling and involved oversized candles. The Hanukkah one had vanilla icing with blue food coloring and was filled with non-kosher marshmallows. I’m not sure how you could really cut into or eat either of these cakes. LMAO. Why not just bring your store-bought angel food cake to whatever celebration as is? Something like fresh fruit in syrup and maybe whipped cream on the side to make it tastier? But then we couldn’t watch old YouTube clips of it. It’s a yearly thing for me during the winter festivities, like people might watch Rudolph and The Grinch. She also always had an alcoholic cocktail and a “tablescape.” That’s what I really don’t understand. I don’t remember any of the cocktails and can’t comment on how good or bad they were. The tablescapes were some dollar store dishes and decor that took up all the table. To me, the show was confusing. The meals were something one might cook any old day (besides those aforementioned cakes) but most people don’t want to go spend $75 at the Dollar Tree and drink a sugary cocktail every night. I guess that’s why she was so fun to watch!
So I bring this all this up, not only to reminisce, but to show my “semi-homemade” dinner plans. Sorry, no tablescapes or enamel-eating ethanol concoctions involved! The homemade are the whole wheat dinner rolls and the potatoes and vidalia green onion I’m adding to these soups I’m combining. I got the Manischewitz borscht at the kosher section of Kroger. I got it planning to have it with a sandwich or something but haven’t got around to that. I found the Manischewitz lentil soup mix at the bodega-type place in my neighborhood. It’s like a bodega meets a Grocery Outlet. Borscht is one of my favorites but this jar kind is just beets with nothing protein added to it. When I make homemade borscht I add potatoes and carrots and either beans or a mock meat. I think combining the two soups will be a great way to have something that tastes borscht-like (my fave soup probably) but also will be filling and nutritious. And since I’m already making bread, it will simplify dinner, and bread and soup go together so well.
Oh, and I forgot because it’s chopped up and in the fridge, I’m also roasting some veggies: carrots, zucchini, ‘shrooms, brussels sprouts, and broccoli to go with it. I need to clean out the produce because my new produce box arrives today.
The story about this person who had a show on the Food Network reminds me of my favorite “cake mix doctor” cookbook, which I used to use in the early 2000s. It’s all about how to spruce up cake mix recipes and make them extra fancy. I still have the cookbook. When I have more time on my hands, I would like to try some of her recipes, Veganized.