This book came into my life at a good time. Amist all of the red velvet making and testing and tasting, I needed something good for me. And easy. (All of that red velvet can wear a girl out, don’t you know?) Enter in Robin Takes 5: 500 recipes, 5 ingredients or less, 500 calories or less. From the host of Quick-Fix Meals on Food Network, Robin Miller’s newest cookbook is a must have if you like fast recipes that are also good for you. Over the past few years, I have discovered that I really am a simple girl when it comes to cooking. Give me a recipe that has very few ingredients and one that can be on the table quickly – that is my kind of recipe. Sure, there are times when I want something more complex, more time consuming, but 90% of the time I am rushing to get dinner done, so simplicity is the name of the game. And yes, I do like grocery shopping sometimes, but I don’t like paying for those groceries. (Especially with the cost of food these days – yikes!) But fewer ingredients per recipe equals fewer groceries!
I actually really liked all 3 recipes that I chose to make from this book. They really were simple, and a lot of the ingredients I have on hand regularly. I can actually see myself turning to this book often for lunch ideas. There are so many more recipes that I want to try from this book, and I’m looking forward to trying them!
In the book:
Soups, Stews & Chowders: includes recipes like Caramelized Onion Soup with Melted Swiss Croutons, Corn Chowder with Shrimp, Southwest Chicken Soup (featured below)
Pizzas, Flatbreads, Calzones & Strudels: includes recipes like Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella, Rosemary & Cheddar Focaccia, French Dip Calzone with Wild Mushroom Sauce
Pasta, Risotto & Rice: Includes recipes like Chinese Noodles with Snap Peas adn Wasabi Butter Sauce (featured below), Butternut Squash Risotto with Smoked Mozzarella, Creole Rice with Andouille and Chicken
Chicken & Turkey: Includes recipes like Chicken en Croute with Brie and Raspberry Jam, Thai Chicken Salad with Peanuts and Lime, Chipotle Turkey Burgers with Avocado and Jack Cheese
Beef & Pork: Includes recipes like Steak with Thyme-Roasted Mushrooms, Balsamic-Glazed Burgers with Sauteed Onions and Peppers, Pork Street Tacos
Seafood & Shellfish: Includes recipes like Smoked Salmon “BLT” on Pumpernickel, Potato-Wrapped Tilapia with Basil Pesto, Ponzu-Glazed Scallops
Side Dishes: Includes recipes like Curried Potato Chips, Barbecued White Beans, Ricotta-Stuffed Tomatoes
Dessert: Includes recipes like Chocolate-Raspberry Sorbet, Chocolate Mousse (featured below), Mini Phyllo Tarts with Sweet Cream Cheese and Cherries
Number of Photos: some
There are 64 full-color photos in the book. 500 recipes, so obviously not one for every recipe. But the photos that are in the book are gorgeous.
Difficulty Level of Recipes: Easy
Easy, easy, easy. I’m going to say that the majority of these recipes can be done in less than half an hour – with exception to the slow cooker recipes and some of the dessert recipes. I didn’t see any recipes that were difficult at all.
Availability of Ingredient: Easy to Medium
The only reason I’m even taking this up to the medium level is that there are some recipes that call for shellfish, like clams, that are hard for me to find. But really, most of the ingredients should be easy to find.
Here is what I made:
I made this one simply because I had everything on hand, and I was hungry. Flipping through the book, I saw this recipe and just went with it. I have to say – at first I had doubts about it. And before adding the cilantro and seasoning with salt and pepper, I was really doubtful that it was going to be good. But with a healthy dose of cilantro, and a bit of salt, this soup was transformed and I absolutely loved it. If you are a cilantro hater, I would advise you not to make this, because the cilantro really was the star for me.
I’m calling this one my favorite of the recipes that I tried. (Recipe is below!) I couldn’t find Chinese noodles, so I just used linguine, which probably changed the calories in the dish, but it worked. And the recipe calls for wasabi paste – which we always have in the fridge. It says to use 2 teaspoons, or more if you like it spicier. I made half a recipe, and used at least 3 teaspoons and still could have used quite a bit more. So if you like wasabi, I would suggest using quite a bit more than the recipe calls for. But I loved the freshness of the meal, and I loved that even though it was pasta, it didn’t feel heavy at all. Also, an additional 6th ingredient – cilantro – is listed as optional. Again, I’m a cilantro lover, so it was a no-brainer for me to add it to the finished dish!
I’ll be honest – when I chose to make this, I had just read through the ingredients, not the method. So imagine my surprise when the instructions has me using a spingform pan, and turning on the oven! But I went with it, and I’m glad I did. This was definitely more cake than mousse to me, but it was delicious. Deep chocolate flavor. A light, airy texture on the outside, and fudgy and rich in the center. Yum!
- 12 ounces Chinese egg noodles
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen snap peas
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons wasabi paste, or more to taste
- cilantro, optional
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Add the snap peas the last minute of cooking. Drain and keep warm.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, butter and wasabi paste to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the wasabi. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the noodles and peas and cook for 1 minute to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.
- Recipe from Robin Takes 5
I have another Robin Miller cookbook that I use often, and I can tell that I will be using this one often as well. I love that the recipes are low in calories, but flavor isn’t compromised!
Title: Robin Takes 5
Author: Robin Miller
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Release Date: November 1, 2011
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review, but all opinions are my own. This post does contain Amazon affilate links.**