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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Robin Takes 5 by Robin Miller + Southwest Chicken Soup {cookbook review}

Author: Robin Miller
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
soft cover: 401 pages
photos: yes

Chapters/Sections:  Soups, Stews, & Chowders - Pizzas, Flatbreads, Calzones & Strudels - Pasta, Risotto & Rice - Chicken & Turkey - Beef & Pork - Seafood & Shellfish - Side Dishes - Desserts

Fantastic Features:  Each recipe has a little box beside it with the nutrients per serving listed.  It included calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and sodium.  But you have to remember, this will change if you go beyond the basic 5 ingredients called for in the recipes.  There are also icons to mark the recipes the author finds "suitable for entertaining" (clinking champagne flutes) and ones with "sensible amounts of sodium" (salt shaker).  "Sensible" in main dishes is listed as 500 milligrams or less and in desserts it's 250 milligrams or less.

(a few of the) Recipes Destined for my Kitchen:  Ratatouille Pizza, Brown Ale-Battered Chicken, White Chocolate-Dipped Dried Mango with Pistachios, Sesame Miso Soup with Tofu and Scallions, Steak and Pepper Calzone with Smoked Mozzarella, Pulled Smoky Chicken Sandwiches with Cheddar, Frozen Yogurt with Anise-Honey Drizzle

Additional Thoughts:  Miller's aim is to share meals that "can enrich your day", are healthy and satisfying, are made with 5 ingredients, contain 500 calories or less, and can be on the table in an average of 20 minutes.  While this often includes using canned products or frozen products or ready-made doughs, I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing.  These products are things like veggies, beans, curry pastes, wonton wrappers, pre-made doughs, frozen fruits and the like.  While the majority of the things I make are entirely from scratch, I do like having some quick options...and I almost always have canned tomatoes and beans (or dried) in the pantry, frozen fruits and veggies in the freezer, and ready-made curry pastes in the door of my fridge.  Because seriously, I'm not SuperWoman.  I think many of her recipes are very kid and family friendly.  A lot I look at as skeletons...or starting points.  Great flavors, but bare bones; ready to be built-on, if you will.  A good choice for those who may be intimidated by lengthy, seemingly-complicated, "cheffy" recipes.  I know there are a lot of people out there who would like to cook, but don't know where to begin.  They should own this book.

Recipe(s) I have already tried:  Southwest Chicken Soup 
This basic soup has great bones.  I decided to add some corn, because I love those sweet little kernels bursting between my teeth.  I also added garlic and some chicken broth (and used half the amount of tomatoes called for).  You could also add some cooked beans with great success.  With a few splashes of Tabasco and served alongside a grilled cheddar sandwich, this made a delicious...and quick...meal.
 Southwest Chicken Soup
adapted from Robin Takes 5
serves ~4

1 Tbs. olive oil
½ c. chopped scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatos
chicken broth (enough to fill that 28 oz. can)
~2 c. corn
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.Add scallions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring.  Add cumin and cook for another minute or so.  Pour in the tomatoes with their juices.  Fill the can with chicken broth and pour that in, as well.  Add corn and chicken, then bring to a simmer.  Let cook for ~10 minutes or so.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir cilantro in after you remove it from the heat, or just sprinkle it on before serving.

about the author: Robin has been a food writer and nutritionist since 1990, and is the author of the bestselling cookbook "Quick Fix Meals." Her popular show, Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller currently airs on Food Network.

Robin has been on hundreds of local and national television and radio programs. She has hosted home videos (for Jane Fonda), cable television vignettes (for Food Network and a variety of food companies), dozens of satellite and radio media tours, and appeared in media events in various markets nationwide. Currently, she appears regularly on local, network and cable television. Programs of particular interest include: The Early Show on CBS, Regis & Kelly, The View, The Today Show on NBC, Good Morning America on ABC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Health Network, and Joan Lunden's Women's Supermarket Network.
She has written eight other books: Robin to the Rescue, Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller, Picnics, Verdure, The Newlywed Cookbook, The Daily Soup, Jane Fonda, Cooking for Healthy Living, The Newlywed Cookbook.

Robin's recipes and nutrition features can be seen regularly in a variety of magazines. She also provides recipes to the American Heart Association, The American Institute for Cancer Research, and Weight Watchers.  Robin has a Master's Degree in Food and Nutrition from New York University, 1998.

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

foodiesreadingchallenge weekend cooking Souper_Sundays2

Would you like to comment?

  1. I think I will be amking this soup for lunch; we are freexzing in this little corner.

  2. Thank you for sharing this fabulous info
    Delicious looking soup perfect for this season

  3. I'm all about making things easier in cooking and it sounds like this book does that :)

  4. With five ingredients, 500 calories or less, and meals ready in 20 minutes, this sounds like a winner to me!

  5. Que sopa tan estupenda, para chuparse los dedos.


  6. I agree about the convenience of canned beans etc - why make yourself into a drudge when there’s no need? The soup looks delicious - and simple to make.

  7. Although I make my own beans (using the pressure cooker, it's fast and easy and cheap) most of the time, I do keep several cans on hand. I also keep diced canned tomatoes and frozen veggies in the house. These are decent convenience foods that save time on busy weeknights.

    The soup looks yummy.

  8. you are right..this has good basic bones and you can go from there, adding things you like like the corn.
    I love cilantro....

  9. Love your reviews and this look delicious! gloria

  10. I've watched Robin's show a few times...I agree her recipes would make good starting points. Your soup looks wonderful with the large chunks of chicken and tomato.

  11. What a clever idea for a cookbook!

  12. What a great looking bowl of soup. Love the sandwich with it.

    The short ingredient list cookbooks seems to be popular. Cooking Light has several 5-15 cookbooks/magazines, but often they use things that I like to make myself, such as vinaigrettes, which I refuse to buy.

    I also have a Rosanne Gold 5 ingredient cookbook and it too needs some additions (many of which she suggests) to make it more my style.

    Hey, if they get people to cook that otherwise would not, good on 'em. Have a great weekend Heather.

  13. There are definitely certain canned products that I avoid like the plague but there are other ones that I use all the time and, I think, are still just as healthy as the homemade stuff. Kudos to Miller! That soup looks fabulous! Definitely curl-up-with-a-bowl comfort food.

  14. Will definitely be trying the soup, looks delicious. I love that it's easy.

  15. I like this kind of basic recipe where I can add some of my own personal touches. I definitely agree on the corn.

    I like the new header.

  16. I always figure if it makes it easy enough to get people in the kitchen it's a good thing. ;-) Thanks for sharing your soup with Souper Sundays--it looks delicious.

  17. I like the concept of her book, nothing wrong with using canned/frozen/or pre-made items. Makes the whole process a lot faster sometimes, and as someone who doesn't have a whole lot of time to spend cooking I like that. That soup with the cheese sandwich picture is making me incredibly hungry.

  18. Do you know what makes this southwest? Use of cumin? It looks yummy but just curious what the Southwest factor is.

    <3 Kayla