There’s nothing like a house full of family and friends for the holidays. Whether you need to wake the family to a delicious breakfast or feed a hungry crowd after a busy day of shopping, keep things simple with some tasty shortcuts from Food Network star Sandra Lee.

“The holidays are too short for from-scratch recipes,” says Sandra Lee. “You want to be with your family and friends, instead of being stuck in the kitchen.” That’s easy to do with recipes from her books, “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders” and “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking.”

Sweet Italian Meatball Pasta

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Sweet Italian Meatball Pasta

Prep time: 25 minutes Cook time: 3 to 4 hours (Low)
Makes 8 servings
For meatballs
1/2 pound ground beef
8 ounces Johnsonville Italian All Natural Ground sausage (sweet variety)
1/4 cup frozen seasoning blend
1 egg
3 tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons hamburger seasoning
For pasta and sauce
Canola oil cooking spray
1 jar (24 ounces) Cabernet marinara sauce
2 cups beef broth
1-1/2 cups water
1 pound dried gemelli pasta

Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

For meatballs, preheat broiler. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil; set aside. In large bowl, mix together ground beef, sausage, seasoning blend, egg, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic and hamburger seasoning until well combined. Shape meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Place, evenly spaced, on prepared baking sheets. Broil meatballs 4 to 6 inches from heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned, turning once.

For pasta and sauce, coat a 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour marinara sauce, beef broth, and water into slow cooker. Add meatballs and gemelli pasta; carefully stir until combined. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional).

Recipe from “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking” by Sandra Lee.



Breakfast Pizza

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes 4 servings
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 (8-inch) pizza crusts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded Jack cheese blend
4 Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausage Patties, fully cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 medium tomato, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Oil grate when ready to start cooking.

In medium pan over medium heat, scramble eggs in butter; set aside. Lay out pizza crusts and brush each with oil. Top with eggs, cheese, crumbled sausage, Parmesan, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Slide onto hot oiled grill and cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and begins to bubble. Serve hot, cut into wedges.

INDOOR: Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare pizza as directed. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and begins to bubble.


Sausage-Stuffed Peppers and Cabbage

Prep time: 20 minutes Bake time: 1 hour
Makes 6 servings
8 large cabbage leaves
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium green bell pepper
1 package (16 ounces) Johnsonville Italian All Natural Ground sausage (mild variety)
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup converted rice
1 cup frozen chopped onions, thawed
1 packet (1.5 ounces) meat loaf seasoning
1 packet (0.5 ounce) pesto sauce mix
2 eggs
1 jar (26 ounces) pasta sauce
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with green peppers, celery and onion

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place cabbage leaves in large bowl and cover with boiling water; set aside to wilt. Cut red and green bell peppers into fourths through the stem ends. Remove seeds and membranes; set aside. In large bowl, stir together sausage, ground beef, uncooked rice, onions, meat loaf seasoning, pesto mix and eggs; set aside. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto bell peppers. Place peppers in a 9 x 13-inch pan, alternating colors and leaving a space for the cabbage rolls.

Remove cabbage leaves from water and cut off the thickest part. Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture onto center of each leaf. Fold over sides and roll up. Place cabbage rolls between the peppers (use an additional pan if necessary). In small bowl, stir together pasta sauce and diced tomatoes. Pour over peppers and cabbage. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Serve hot.

Recipe from “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders” by Sandra Lee.


Savory Sausage Cheese Grits

Prep time: 15 minutes Bake time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings
No-stick cooking spray
4 Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage Links (original variety)
2 cups milk
3/4 cup condensed cheddar cheese soup
4 packets (1 ounce each) instant grits
1/2 cup frozen chopped onions
1/2 cup crumbled bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar-Jack cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray four 4-inch ramekins with cooking spray; set aside.

In medium skillet, over medium heat, cook breakfast sausage, cutting into small pieces. Remove from heat and drain fat; set aside. In large bowl, whisk together milk and soup. Add grits and whisk until smooth. Stir in onions, bacon, cheese and sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into prepared ramekins and top each with 1 tablespoon of butter pieces. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until heated through.

Recipe from “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders” by Sandra Lee.



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