Quick & Easy Meals with Robin Miller

  1. Photo by Courtesy of Robin to the Rescue
    In her latest cookbook Robin to the Rescue: Quick & Simple Recipes for Delicious Home Cooking, Robin Miller shares some of her savviest meal-prep strategies. We're not talking about telling you to plan ahead of time or make extras and eat it all week. This Food Network host has got some great ideas for cutting down your time in the kitchen without sacrificing taste and nutrition.

    Get more delicious ideas with our recipe finder!
  2. Sweet Potato Soup with Parmesan and Basil

    Total Time: 29 minutes
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Active Cooking Time: 11 minutes
    Walk-Away Time: 8 minutes
    Serves 4

    Ingredients
    1 1⁄4 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
    2 tsp. olive oil
    2 leeks (white part only), rinsed well and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 Tbl. sugar
    4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
    1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1⁄2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1⁄4 cup minced fresh basil

    Directions
    1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Set pan over high heat, bring to a boil, and let boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks soften, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

    3. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth (or use a regular blender, work in batches, and return soup to pan). Add evaporated milk and simmer for 1 minute to heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a sprinkling of Parmesan and basil.

    Time-Saving Strategies

    Make It a Meal Kit
    Cut the potatoes and store them in the saucepan covered with cool water at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. Chop the leeks and garlic and store in a sealable container or plastic bag for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. When ready to finish the dish, place the saucepan over the heat and cook as directed. Also, the finished soup will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

    Bank a Batch
    Make a double batch and store the extra in a sealable container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave for 4 to 6 minutes on LOW. Reheat in a large saucepan or in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes on HIGH.

    Have It Your Way
    Instead of Parmesan and basil, try Cheddar cheese and chives or Havarti and parsley.


    Get more soup recipes here!
  3. Parmesan-Sage Pork Loin

    Total Time: 70 minutes
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Walk-Away Time: 45 minutes
    Resting Time: 10 minutes
    Serves 4

    Ingredients
    2 cups diced red potatoes, unpeeled
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped celery
    1 cup chopped carrots
    1 1⁄2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
    1⁄2 cup dry sherry
    1 (2-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed of silverskin
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    2 Tbl. dried sage
    1 Tbl. salt-free garlic-and-herb seasoning
    1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

    2. Arrange potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots in a large roasting pan. Pour broth and sherry over them. Season pork all over with salt and pepper and sprinkle with sage and garlic-and-herb seasoning. Place pork on top of vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan (press cheese into the meat). Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 160°F, about 45 minutes.

    3. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes; then cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices and serve with the vegetables and brothy sauce.

    Time-Saving Strategies

    Morph It
    Leftover pork? Morph the extra into Grilled Pork over Toasted Polenta; skip the grilling of the pork step and toast the polenta. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the polenta rounds on the sheet; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Top the polenta with the leftover pork and roasted red peppers, capers, and basil just before serving.

    Have It Your Way
    If you don’t want to add sherry, substitute an equal amount of orange or pineapple juice, or use 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract when you add the broth; any of these ingredients will offer the sweetness you’d get from the sherry.

    Slow-Cook It
    Follow the directions above, except arrange the ingredients in a large slow-cooker instead of a roasting pan. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

    Save time with these slow-cooker recipe ideas.
  4. Grilled Pork Loin with Polenta

    Total Time: 20-25 minutes
    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
    Active Cooking Time: 10 minutes
    Serves 4

    Ingredients
    Cooking spray
    1 (24-oz.) log prepared corn polenta, plain or flavored, cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or more as needed
    1 (1 1⁄4-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed of silverskin and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds
    1 cup chopped roasted red peppers (from a water-packed jar)
    1⁄4 cup drained capers
    1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil

    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

    2. Arrange polenta rounds on the sheet; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until cheese is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, coat a stove-top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Season pork on both sides with salt and pepper. Add pork to hot pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through (still slightly pink in the center), 2 to 3 minutes per side.

    4. Arrange warm polenta rounds on a platter and top with the pork. Top with roasted red peppers, capers, and basil just before serving.

    Time-Saving Strategies

    Make It a Meal Kit
    Prepare the polenta. Slice and season the pork. Store each separately in sealable containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (don't freeze it). When ready to finish the meal, reheat the polenta slices on a baking sheet (in a single layer) in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes or in the microwave for 2 minutes on HIGH. Finish the pork as directed.

    Have It Your Way
    If you don’t have polenta handy, serve the pork over toasted cornbread or thin slices of any toasted bread or baguette.

    See more recipes for pork and everything else with our recipe finder!
  5. Frozen Key Lime Pie

    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Walk-Away Time: 30 minutes
    Makes 1 (9-inch) pie; serves 6

    Ingredients
    1 (8-oz.) container nondairy whipped topping, thawed slightly
    1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
    1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
    1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker pie crust
    Finely grated lime zest for sprinkling

    Directions
    1. In a medium bowl, whisk together whipped topping, condensed milk, and lime juice until smooth. Spoon mixture into graham cracker crust and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

    2. Set in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle lime zest over the top before serving.

    Time-Saving Strategies

    Bank a Batch
    Once the pie is frozen, cover it with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Sprinkle the top with lime zest just before serving.

    Have It Your Way
    For variety, use fresh lemon or orange juice instead of lime juice.

    More dessert recipes!
  6. About Robin Miller

    Robin Miller is the host of the Food Network cooking show Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller. As a nutritionist and food writer, her work has appeared in multiple magazines and publications.

    As a newlywed, Miller "received all of this cooking gear from our registry and had no clue what to do with any of it," as many Nesties do. So she took a year off and starting exploring in the kitchen while going to school at night working toward a master's degree in food and nutrition from New York University. From this experience, her first book, The Newlywed Cookbook, was created. The book was "inspired by necessity."

    Her latest book, Robin to the Rescue, is full of easy, time-saving ideas for your kitchen. Check out her book.


    All recipes courtesy of Robin to the Rescue by Robin Miller (The Tauton Press, 2008); photography by Judd Pilossof