Friday, January 06, 2006

If You Can't Stand the Heat...: Sandra Lee Reviewed

A few weeks ago, when I had a hankering for mac and cheese, I scoped out all the five star mac and cheese recipes at Based on the user reviews and ratings, I decided to make Giada's delicious Macaroni and Cheese. The user reviews were a godsend, as they alerted me to a mistake in the recipe. "Wow," I thought. "These users are a helpful bunch." My thoughts then turned to the dark side: "I wonder if things ever turn ugly around these parts?" Naturally, I searched the recipes for "Sandra Lee" and that, my friends, is how I spent 3 hours reading the user reviews of Sandra Lee's dishes.

Like any other Internet forum, you have your share of incoherent idiots and trolls*, which stand out more on the recipes that actually sound decent. Many of the comments are boring, uninspired and downright lazy. Still, every now and then there's a zinger that makes it all worthwhile - much like Sandra Lee herself.

Now let's get started.

Chive Roasted Potatoes with Horseradish-Sour Cream and Caviar

Sandra, I love you so much, but you should recall this recipe. It really stinks.


Everyone knows you should never serve caviar with bold flavors. The bold flavor is all you can taste when you combine them with caviar. You don't want to pay that much money and then not taste the caviar. Looks like Shamdra's BEER ATTITUDE is showing through her SHAMPAYNE FACADE.
Hey, Sandra doesn't have a "shampayne facade"! Oh, wait...

Apple Pie Napoleon

This really wasn't very good, and some of the steps made no sense. Why waste a perfectly good apple pie when all you need is the filling? Just use a can of apple pie filling, or cook some apples.


In the middle of making ths my little son asked me what I was doing to the pie and we both just dissolved in laughter.
Not only does Sandra waste food, she scares the little children!

Pear Butter

The worst thing since world war two!
I tried this recipe and it is horrible. My children wouldn't eat it, and my husband didn't like it either! And the truth of it is.. I hated it to!! It was a waste of my money and time. My advise, don't even bother with this recipe, you put in the effort, and it doesn't give anything back.
I will stay away from any recipe that inspires that kind of hyperbole.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Cornish Game Hens:

First of all, it needs alot more seasoning. The amount of jerk paste called for barely can be tasted. Also needs salt. It's surprisingly tasteless as made per the recipe. But LOOK OUT, if you make it per the recipe the birds will be disgustingly underdone. Plan on adding at least 15 minutes to the cooking time but you really need to keep checking on them which makes cooking them a pain. But nothing is worse than bloody poultry.



? I've only heard this word used to describe seedy nightclubs and the middle aged men who frequent said clubs. If this dish compares to either, I'm definitely staying away.

Don't believe me? This is one of the first photos that shows up when you search Google Images for "skeevy":

Beer Ball Buffet

Even better than syrup of ipecac!
There's a ringing endorsement.


This is the worst lasagna I ever had.. don't know what to do with the rest...


I found the tomato soup to be a very poor idea in lasagna. This tasted terrible.


I had such hope for this recipe, because I almost always have cottage cheese and tomato soup in my pantry. But it just didn't work. I'm ashamed to say I've never been able to make good lasagna and for once even Sandra Lee's recipe let me down. Ah, well, it's back to the frozen foods department for me!


Sorry Sandra Lee, but this was the most disgusting lasagna I have ever had the displeasure of preparing or eating. There was nothing to redeem this recipe..the sauce was not good, the cottage cheese made the texture funky and nothing seemed to jive. And the more I thought about tomato soup in my lasagna, the worse it seemed. Definitely skip this one.


The vinegar in this recipe came through to the point where it overwhelmed the rest of the flavors. I had to toss the entire thing and order a pizza instead, what a waste of time and money. How did such an obviously inept "cook" make it onto the Food Network?


You have to be kidding with this recipe! Tomato soup?? Vinegar??? Cottage cheese?????? If you must stay true to the "semi-homemade" concept, why not just send your viewers out to get a jar of tomato sauce, some ground beef, some no-cook lasagne noodles, and some mozzarella? At least then it will taste remotely like lasagne.

I admire the courage of anyone willing to bake a lasagna that contains tomato soup, apple cider vinegar and cottage cheese.

Hmm, I wonder what kind of ratings Rachael Ray's recipes are getting....

*I want to give a shout out to the person from Portland, Maine who has left a negative review on nearly every one Sandra Lee's 417 recipes - that is dedication.


Cori said...


I always, well, no...

I was going to say I always watch her show and wonder where the hell she comes up with a lot of her ideas. And where her boobs are heading off to.

But I don't watch her show anymore really, it's more of background noise if anything. Or a reason to make fun of someone more successful than me...I'm not jealous though.

But yeah, I've spent a lot of time before reading through recipe reviews and I think Alton has some of the best ones, while Emeril has okay ones but not as many people attempt his 5389205 ingredient recipes.

Your posts make me laugh.

parismom said...

Sandra Lee is a terrible "cook". Every recipe I have ever tried of hers was terrible. I think she is on the Food Network b/c she had connections and/or slept her way there. If she has a show of her own then I am wastingmy time b/c I should be able to walk into food network studios, open a can of tuna and throw in some crackers and call it gourmet seafood. I thought Food Network was about 'cooking' and not being lazy looking for shortcuts. I'm not saying churn your own butter but GOD can she not make ANYTHING that requires even a little effort?
This should be called Half-Assed Cooking.

parismom said...

Oh yeah, and another thing that irritates me...

Is there even ONE occassion that this lush doesn't require alcohol? She'll prepare a cocktail for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks, dinner and a midnight snack.

Alcoholism has got to be in her future. I see a problem here.

JordanBaker said...

A friend of mine was unconvinced by my repeated anti-Sandra rants, and decided to try and make her dumplings for a NYEve party. The idea was that when I ate and loved them, she would say "ha ha, you love Sandra Lee!"

At the party, she told me this story and admitted that the dumplings had been completely inedible, and had gone out with the trash earlier in the day.

Wednesday said...

I have watched her show alot...and the only reason I have is because it's in the way of the REAL shows. Anyway, she has NEVER made anything that has looked remotely good to me. I have never tried any of her recipes nor do I intend to. I look at cooking for my family as a sort of "gift" to them. In the same way that you put some thought and consideration and care into the gift that you buy for someone you love, so it should be with the meals that you prepare. I want to make the meals I prepare as near-scratch as I can get. It's not only tastier, but it's better for you as well. You just don't get that with Sandra Lee's recipes, I'm sorry. I'm sure she is a fine woman, but she is just not my taste.

The Muse said...

The only decent thing to have ever come out of any her recipes that I've tried is her mint candy cane cookies. But it took a lot of modifying until they were decent enough for my standards...

Armchair Cook said...

cori: Thanks for stopping by! You're so right about Emeril's recipes requiring a zillion obscure ingredients. His food looks good, but I can't find many of the ingredients in my neck of the woods.

jordanbaker: Ha! I bet there are thousands of people with similar stories. I have come close to trying her recipes (some of her baked goods sound decent), but so far have not taken the plunge. Maybe I'll do it someday as an experiment.

wednesday: I agree that it would be cruel to have your family eat some of Sandra Lee's concoctions. I'm pretty sensitive to sodium and just seeing all the canned goods on her show makes my ankles swell!

books said...

When are you gonna tackle mr. calorie commando and weighing in, Juan Carlos Cruz. That guy is goooooofy! :-))

courtney said...

I can not stand Sandra Lee's show, everything seems so frivolous. I have never tried her recipes nothing ever appeals to me.

vjchang said...

*Possible Sandra Lee Sighting!*

Okay, so really I don't know if it was her. I didn't have the cajones that night to saunter up to a skinny blonde with a weird lookin' boob job because she didn't wear quiet enough black eye makeup like our beloved

But I figured the lack of makeup might because she's on vacation in Park City. Some friends and I were having dinner at Deer Valley resort and my Food Network addicted friend kept on staring off into the distance. I turned around to see what he was gawking at. "Is that...sandra lee?"

He said he couldn't tell. I thought it totally was. But, as I said. Minus the BLACK EYE MAKE UP. Her hair was up. She was impossibly skinny. She was sitting with an older fellow and a younger lady.

My friend it couldn't be her. "Her face isn't long enough." I pointed out how bad her tits looked. He nodded. He countered with, "But she's such a lush on the show." At which point a bottle of red wine arrived at the table and was placed in front of hte mystery blonde. The guy had like A GLASS. And for the rest of dinner I saw her DOWN THE REST BY HERSELF. Only a salad to go with it.

As she got louder and louder with more wine and my friend could catch her voice he turned around and said, "Oh my god, I think it is her."

None of us were cool enough of course to have phones with cameras. So we just STARED. I am convinced it was...

okay, thanks for listening...needed to tell folks who would appreciate it.

kitchenmage said...

Another noteworthy recipe: Eggs Benedict.

First, she has 4 (6 oz) croissants for six servings. Do they not have editors? I know I just asked this about the TV side, but no copy editors either?

Second, croissants? Please.

I'm giving her half a point because she calls for fresh herbs (tarragon and chives).

But then, the fatal flaw -- and you knew there had to be one -- after actually poaching the eggs and chopping the fresh herbs, she uses a package of dry hollandaise mix!

I suppose I should be happy the eggs weren't poached in champagne, but seriously, how tough is it to whip up some hollandaise? It's one of those things that takes you a certain number of times (varies) to get down and then you can do it half-alseep and hungover. (oh! perhaps I've said too much...)

So, what do you think of "Ham"? I caught a little bit of the cook an ostrich egg show and it was just odd

Bay said...

Sandra Lee is my mortal enemy. I wrote a scathing e-mail to her via the Food Network website, but didn't get a response. Not that I was expecting one. :) Who on earth is so lazy that they need to buy pre-cut onions? And why does she have to redecorate her kitchen to match every meal that she makes? How 'bout she uses the time that goes into decorating her kitchen and arranging her "tablescapes" (I cringe at the mention of that word), to perhaps put a little effort into cooking something that isn't dependant on heavily-processed, pre-packaged "food." I'm so bitter!

stefanie said...

I have never made any of the meals that Sandra Lee has made on her show. Not because they don't appear to be tasty but because they appear to me to be so ridiculously expensive. Who can afford to make all that stuff when it takes only a few more moments and a lot less "bones" to make the real thing! Those cookie recipe's that she makes with pre-packaged cookie mix are so frivilous! How difficult is it to mix up a sugar cookie dough from scratch? Most cookie dough recipes make several dozen cookies for about a total of two bucks. If you buy a mix you spend about three bucks and get about eight cookies. Oh I know that the packages say yields 12-18 cookies but personally I like my cookies bigger than the size of a half dollar. I would rather save money and spend the time making a meal from scratch for my family and friends. There is one thing that bothers me and is current through all the cooking shows. Why is it that these "professional" cooks never have the proper Mixing, scooping, and turning utensils. Would it kill any of the cooks to use a rubber spatula to scrape a bowl rather than to use a metal spoon and waste a ridiculous amount of product? It frustrates me to no end!!!!

cali said...

Wow! I have not tried any of Sandra Lee's recipes. I'm still trying to get past the kitchen matching the outfit she's wearing for the day! Glad I got the head's up here. I think she really believes that her semi-homemade concept helps a lot of busy women,and perhaps it does. Me,personally,though,I'm too busy for cocktails,tablescapes, and a different decor in the kitchen every day!