Sunday, November 6, 2011

Review: Robin Takes 5

Summary: It's 5:00 PM. Everyone's hungry. It's takeout or fakeout, meaning nuking a processed meal from the freezer. But there's a third option that doesn't include processed food or an unhealthy heap of calories and fat—Robin Takes 5.

Imagine quickly preparing delicious meals for yourself, your friends, and your family with just 5 fabulous ingredients. Does it get any better? Absolutely, with Robin Takes 5. The book features 500 recipes and each dish is a mouthwatering 500 calories or less. Two-color recipe text complements full-color photography inserts. In addition, helpful icons note ideal recipes for holidays and entertaining as well as recipes with less than 500 mg of sodium. That's not all—nutritional information is given for each recipe.

In Robin Takes 5 500 recipes highlight at least 10 different ethnic cuisines, and dishes range from soups, pizzas, and pastas, to chicken, beef, pork, seafood, side dishes, and desserts. Consider 70 recipes just for chicken, such as Cashew Crusted Chicken with Roasted Jalapeno-Mango Chutney, and 50 dessert recipes, such as Orange Marmalade Tart with Chocolate Covered Almonds. Consider yourself armed for mealtime. The next time the clock strikes 5:00 PM and you want both noshing and nourishment, check out Robin Takes 5. -- Andrews McMeel

I absolutely love the new cookbook ROBIN TAKES 5 by Robin Miller! In fact, I love it so much that I pinned it to my Pinterest page as one of the "Things I Love!" Check this out:

  • 500 Recipes
  • 5 Ingredients or Less
  • 500 Calories or Less
  • 5 Nights a Week at
  • 5:00 PM

What more do I really need to say? I swear Ms. Miller designed this cookbook concept with me in mind! Like many of you, I'm one of those moms who spend about two to three hours a night running the kids around to their activities after school. Our current lifestyle doesn't make it easy for me to prepare healthy meals!

ROBIN TAKES 5 is a huge cookbook with realistic recipes that most definitely appeal to me. They are quick and easy (which is so very important!) but they also are healthy because they don't use a lot of pre-packaged ingredients. If I'm being entirely honest, many of the recipes are just common sense, but I'm not good with creating meals without specific ingredients. My husband, who likes to just throw meals together, said that a lot of the recipes in ROBIN TAKES 5 aren't "real" recipes -- they are just obvious ways to cook foods. However, for someone like me, who isn't overly confident in my cooking abilities, this cookbook is perfect!

When I first started looking through ROBIN TAKES 5, my reaction was sheer excitement. I found so many things that my family would eat -- even given my son's food allergies. But then, I became a little bit intimidated because I was marking so many recipes that I wanted to try. How would I ever narrow down my list? Now, that's not a bad situation to have, but then I discovered how I could best use this cookbook... by looking in the index!

One night I had some hot Italian sausage in the refrigerator and I had about 15 minutes to cook a meal for us. I went to the index and looked up "sausage" and found two recipes which used Italian sausage -- Italian Sausage and Rice Stew and Spicy Linguine with Italian Sausage and Chunky Tomato Sauce. The recipes were both extremely easy and could be adapted for my son's allergies. And even better, I had the ingredients on hand for both recipes (which I have since discovered is not unusual for this cookbook -- another big benefit.) I decided on the Spicy Linguine one and it was quick and delicious! We will make this recipe over and over again!

ROBIN TAKES 5 is divided into some fairly typical chapters. There are chapters for Soups, Stews & Chowders; Pizzas, Flatbreads, Calzones & Strudels; Pasta, Risotto & Rice; Chicken & Turkey; Beef & Pork; Seafood & Shellfish; Side Dishes; and Desserts. I probably found the most recipes in the Chicken & Turkey chapter, but that's just because we eat chicken about 4-5 times a week. Maybe this cookbook will help me to expand my dinner options to include more beef and seafood.

One slight drawback of ROBIN TAKES 5 is that it doesn't have a picture for every recipe. Of course, that's not feasible when the cookbook contains 500 recipes; and it's not altogether necessary when most of the meals aren't gourmet. The cookbook does include a some gorgeous color photos, though, so there is something to look at besides text.

With the holidays quickly approaching, time is going to be an even more valuable resource; and I think ROBIN TAKES 5 is a perfect solution. Ever so highly recommended!!!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this cookbook.

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Beth F said...

I'm so glad you added the comment from your husband -- I think that's how I often feel about about cookbooks with limited ingredients. BUT I totally appreciate that not everyone can throw a meal together without a recipe AND everyone needs help with fast healthful recipes at least sometimes. This looks like a book I should check out of the library.

TheBookGirl said...

With over 500 recipes I'm sure there are things in here that would come in handy for those times when I'm standing in the kitchen at 5:00 wondering what to make :)

bermudaonion said...

I can't create meals by throwing things together either, so I love this cookbook too! I've used it several times already.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've seen so many good things already about this cookbook. I love spicy linguine too - I'll have to see how this cookbook does it!

Serena said...

This cookbook sounds great for us mothers with very little time for cooking. Thanks for heads up!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I love cookbooks that have everyday recipes. This cookbook sounds like a great tool to keep on hand in the kitchen. I love that you found not one but two recipes that you could make with items on hand in your kitchen! That is my kind of cookbook!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I liked this cookbook too! There are so many easy, quick recipes to try. I think this is a wonderful cookbook for my college-aged sons who live on their own and always looking for quick meals with not a lot of ingredients.