Have you ever watched Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking show? The premise of it is great... she's going to show you how to combine store-bought ingredients to make it seem like a homemade meal. I love that idea... that's how I tend to cook. But to me her show just doesn't quite deliver. I mean, I don't deny that she makes some delicious-looking food. I'd love to try it! But when you're making your own sauces from scratch (those come in bottles you know) and your cooking instructions include the use of instruments such as duck snippers (I have no idea what those might be), it's missing the mark for me.
My own definition of semi-homemade is to take something from a box or a can and doctor it up until it tastes homemade.
Like my arancini... based on Rice-a-Roni instead of risotto.
And my homemade mac and cheese... which starts with boxed Kraft mac and cheese. (Prepare two boxes of mac and cheese as usual, add a can of cream of mushroom soup, a splash of milk, and a cup of shredded cheese - even better if you have a couple of varieties of cheese - put in a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs and some shredded Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. You'd never believe it started as a box mix.)
My award winning white chicken chili (okay, so it was just a work pot-luck, but it was an award nonetheless) - canned beans, canned chicken broth, canned peppers... thrown together in a crockpot for a few hours.
The homemade pot pies my kids love... which are really just a bunch of storebought ingredients thrown together because the kids were begging for pot pies and I didn't want to go to the store and buy any. (Half a piece of refrigerated biscuit dough in the bottom of a cupcake tin, topped with a spoonful of cream of chicken soup and a scoop of frozen veggies, topped with the other half of the biscuit dough.)
I'm so much more semi-homemade than Sandra. Now if I can just convince Food Network to give me my own show...