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Food Network Star Sandra Lee Helps Us Celebrate Hollywood's Big Night Out With a Big Night In

Vanilla-Ras Napoleon.jpg
The Vanilla-Ras Napolean waiting for its close-up. Copyright © 2011 Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade.
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The Queen of Semi-Homemade eating and entertaining knows that we’d all like to throw award-winning Oscar parties. Pulling up lawn chairs and ordering pizza just doesn’t cut it in a city where everyone knows someone who knows someone who actually gets to go to the show (at least as a seat filler).

So to help us celebrate in style, the Food Network star put together an Oscar party menu sure to dazzle guests while helping at-home hosts time things better than Billy Crystal in his inevitable War Horse costume. (Do you think he’ll be the head or the tail?)

Sandra suggests greeting guests with the Award Winning Marg-tini on a tray and the red carpet coverage playing in the background. I can’t say I’d turn that down. In a pretty champagne flute add some club soda to a pre-made light margarita mix with the tequila included, toss in a few fresh strawberries or chilled cranberries and you’ve got a festive drink that will get the party going without getting it too cranked up. For kids and designated drivers, the pre-made non-alcoholic mix will also work. Personally, I think it’s worth it to make limeade or lemonade from scratch, but I suppose it defeats the purpose of quick and easy. (I have a great hand juicer from Target though, and it’s easier and less sticky than a mix with fewer preservatives and sugar!)

Once your guests have settled, serve up the savory-sweet pear puffs which use puff pastry, a garlic-herb spreadable cheese, and diced pears.

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Follow this with the pepper steak skewers and the luscious sounding Vanilla-Ras Napoleans for desert as you watch the extended version of the show, and you’ve got yourself an elegant party that allows you to mingle with guests, sob at the memorials, and cheer at the sight of those modern day rat packers, Brad and George, while they continue their bromance accompanied by their talented, leggy ladies looking lovely.

When asked about her inspiration for the menu (all of which is available on her website), Sandra mentioned the laid-back, easy going stars in attendance. “This is an elegant, refreshing, easy menu. All the dishes can be served warm or cold, and allow people to mingle with their guests an enjoy the show,” she said. Fair enough.

As for the reigning monarch of pumped up pre-packaged products, Ms. Lee will be spending Oscar night co-hosting Elton John’s soiree, hopefully with her own margarita in hand.

Here are her recipes:
Pear Puffs
Pepper Steak Skewers
Vanilla-Ras Napolean
Award-Winning Marg-tini