Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crowd-Pleasing Meals Can Be Easy To Prepare

(NAPSI)-If preparing tasty, home-cooked meals seems like one more thing to fit into your busy schedule, you're not alone.

A recent survey from ConAgra Foods revealed that 49 percent of Americans say they are often short on time and energy when it comes to preparing meals, let alone baking. According to Sandra Lee, bestselling author of the "Semi-Homemade" cookbook series, you can use a slow cooker to prepare not only dinner but dessert as well. Try her hassle-free Semi-Homemade Strawberries and Cream Cake.

Sandra Lee's Strawberries And Cream Cake

Prep 25 minutes

Cook 1½ to 2½ hours (High)

Makes 8 servings

PAM® cooking spray

1 box (18.25-ounce) strawberry cake mix

1¼ cups strawberry-banana nectar

¾ cup Egg Beaters®

½ cup sour cream

⅓ cup Wesson Canola Oil®

¼ cup cake flour

2 cans (12-ounces each) whipped cream cheese frosting

1 cup frozen (thawed) or fresh strawberries, sliced (plus more for garnish, optional)

1. Coat an 8x3-inch round cake pan with PAM. Wrap foil around the bottom of pan. Crumple aluminum foil to create a "ring base" about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, nectar, Egg Beaters, sour cream, Wesson oil and flour with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl; beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Place foil ring in bottom of slow cooker; pour ½ inch of hot water into bottom of slow cooker. Using 2 long strips of foil, make an X over foil ring and bring up sides of slow cooker to assist removing pan from slow cooker.

Place pan on top of ring and the X in slow cooker. Stack 6 paper towels; place on top of slow cooker. Secure with lid.

4. Cook on high heat setting for 1½ to 2½ hours or until a wooden tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. (Do not lift the lid for the first hour of cooking.)

5. Use foil strips to lift pan from slow cooker. Place pan on wire rack; cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of the cream cheese frosting with sliced strawberries until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

7. To assemble, remove cooled cake from pan and slice horizontally to make 2 layers. Place 1 layer on serving plate. Spread strawberry filling evenly over layer and top with second cake layer. Frost entire cake with remaining cream cheese frosting. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Recipe excerpted from "Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking" by Sandra Lee. Copyright © 2009 Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade, For easy entertaining tips, visit

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