Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Take 5 with Robin Miller

Looking for cookbooks that make life easier?
Robin Miller, host of “Quick Fix Meals” on the Food Netwood has published a cookbook chock full of ideas. “Robin Takes 5: 500 Recipes, 5 ingredients or less, 500 calories or less, 5 nights a week at 5 p.m.” features 500 easy to make recipes that keep your life simple and won’t pile on the calories. Everything you can imagine is contained within this fat cookbook, from flatbread and calzones to a variety of entrees. Side dishes include stuffed artichokes within 20 minutes, a 10-minute chickpea salad with shrimp and scallions and interesting vegetable dishes such as roasted cauliflower with Granny Smiths and Parmesan. Desserts ran the gamut as well, and still stay within the 500 calorie threshold.
Another great book for those who don’t want to spend time in the kitchen is “50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker” by Lynn Alley. There’s a black bean soup with tomato, cumin and coconut milk, a new potato and parsley soup with olive tapenade and Swedish rhubarb raspberry soup, to name a few. It’s a handy little hardback that opens easily, as simple to use as its recipes.
Here’s a recipe from Robin Miller that’s perfect for the holidays when cooks are strapped for time and want to watch their calorie intake:

Nicoise Pizza with Olives, Red Peppers and Gruyère
1 pound fresh or frozen bread or pizza dough, thawed according to package directions
2 cups thinly sliced roasted red peppers
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Direction: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough out into a large circle or rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a pizza pan or baking sheet. Top with peppers, olives, cheese, and oregano. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Nutrients per serving: 322 calories, 12g fat, 4g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 39g carbohydrates, 12g protein, 1g fiber and 826mg sodium.

UL Press Holiday Book Sale
The UL Press Annual Holiday Book Sale will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the UL Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd. on the UL campus, and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bourque’s Social Club, 1109 St. Mary St. in Scott. There will be new releases, clearance titles, signed copies and complimentary refreshments, tote bag and giftwrapping. Every title will be discounted by at least 20% off of the regular retail price.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.