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Spice Up Healthy Cooking (Fast!) with Food Network’s Robin Miller

Written on October 15, 2013 at 10:47 am , by

Don’t have enough time to make quick fix meals? “Just try one thing and see how it goes,” Robin says. Are you up to the challenge? You got it!

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Healthy cooking becomes a chore when it involves extensive ingredient lists, advanced preparation and lengthy cooking times. Lucky for us, Food Network’s Robin Miller has made it her mission to help us simplify the process so we can spend more time enjoying our food with the people we love most. Her latest book, Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families, offers a wide variety of 5-ingredient recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks and gluten-free dishes that taste gourmet with little work required on your end. During a recent visit to New York City, Robin dished how she keeps every meal quick, healthy and delicious so pull up a seat and dig into this!

What inspired your career in educating others on how to make quick and healthy meals for themselves and their families?

My kids, to put it simply. Before kids, I had all morning or all afternoon to deglaze, caramelize, test recipes and play in the kitchen. After kids, I didn’t have that amount of time, but I still wanted those flavors. It was my goal to create delicious meals that I can enjoy with my family in minimal time with minimal ingredients. I didn’t want to sacrifice flavor, but I wanted to get to the table faster and then spend more time there.

What do you find to be the greatest challenge with quick and healthy cooking?

I can’t start making dinner at 6 o’clock at night, chopping the onions and the mushrooms and the carrots, or deciding what to cook. So I like to plan ahead. I don’t do a week’s worth of meals on Saturday, but I’ll say in the morning, “What can I do today that’s going to make tonight easier?” And I find that that’s other people’s struggle, too, finding time in their head to prep ahead so that they can make meal time easier during the week. I like meal time to almost be assemble and serve, not start from scratch and wait.

Now that summer is over, how do you cope with the more limited selection of fresh fall and winter produce in your cooking?

I still feel like there are plenty of delicious produce items that are available throughout the fall and winter. We’re getting into grapefruits and oranges and other really nutritious fruits. The acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash are phenomenal. They’re loaded with nutrients and just scream fall. Also, frozen vegetables and fruits that don’t have any sugar or butter added and they are quickly frozen at the peak of their ripeness, which is at the peak of their nutrient value. So you should never feel guilty about going down the frozen vegetable and fruit aisle and loading up on that stuff too. I have plenty in my freezer, because I like to add them to soups and stews. They have all the nutrients I would hope to get from a farmer’s market or something I just got at the grocery store. They’re so convenient—always there in your freezer and ready to go.

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Fit Blogger We Love: This Mama Cooks

Written on January 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm , by

Anne-Marie also reviews cookbooks and foodie movies on her site.

Some people start a blog to document a wedding, a baby’s growth or a weight-loss journey, then fall off the writing wagon soon after the big event passes or after they reach their goal. Not Anne-Marie Nichols! She has been blogging about her favorite food trends, kitchen tips and recipes on This Mama Cooks! since 2004. In 2007, she added a nutrition focus and tacked on a few extra words to her blogs title (“on a diet”). Now the mom of two hopes to inspire her readers—and their families—to take small steps to live healthier, happier lives.

Here’s what keeps Anne-Marie feeling great, inside and out:

My favorite way to work out: Reformer Pilates. I’ve fallen in love with it thanks to my wonderful instructor, Alisa at Axis of Movement. She’s helped me eliminate my lower back and sciatica pain and improve my core strength. I go twice a week and take a Pilates mat class from her, too.

I’m happiest when I’m: Meeting my health goals for the day—drinking my water, taking my vitamins, exercising, brushing and flossing, and getting eight hours of sleep.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: Anything by Duran Duran. I’m stuck in the ‘80s.

My fave fit snack: Larabars. They’re the only snack bar that I can eat since they’re gluten- and sugar-free.

My biggest indulgence: Cheese. Since it’s an indulgence, I splurge on local artisanal and fancy imported cheeses and try not to worry about the price per pound cost.

Speaking of indulging, Anne-Marie shared one of her favorite sweet treat recipes with us, a sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate mousse! Click below for the 411.

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Fit Blogger We Love: Skinny Taste

Written on December 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm , by

Gina can help you whip up a tasty, celebration-worthy meal.

All year long, Gina from SkinnyTaste creates and shares low-fat recipes for the whole family. But we really turn to her blog for inspiration as the holidays approach, since she is a pro at designing festive dishes that make us wish we could reach through the screen and set them on our party tables (skinny eggnog or vanilla snowman cupcakes, anyone?).

Here are some quick facts about this kitchen all-star and one of her favorite recipes for any holiday table!

My favorite way to work out: With a friend.

My fave fit snack: Fresh fruit and nuts.

5 things I can’t live without: Friends, family, coffee, camera and my laptop.

My biggest indulgence: Coffee!

I’m happiest when I’m: Enjoying a home cooked meal with family and friends.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Serves 9

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 ounces fat-free cottage cheese (Gina prefers Polly-O)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 32 ounces tomato sauce
  • 9 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12-inch baking dish.
  2. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  3. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.
  4. To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.

Nutrition information per serving: 225 calories, 5 g fat

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com