Robin’s Healthy Take: Fast, Fiery and Under $5

by in Robin's Healthy Take, February 17, 2011
Robin Miller Spicy Recipes Today Show Make this whole quick, spicy meal for less than $15.

Robin cooked up these healthy, budget-friendly recipes this morning on the Today Show!

When I was deciding what recipes to cook for my Today Show appearance, the producer suggested something “fast and fiery.” Since fast dishes are my mantra (Quick Fix Meals, anyone?) and making spicy dishes is simple, I challenged myself by making each dish for $5 or less. Not $5 per person, but five smackers each for a fabulous, four-serving main dish, side dish and dessert.

Even better, the ingredient lists are super-short and each dish comes together in a flash.  Here’s how you make this meal for dinner tonight.

Spicy Fettuccine Alfredo
Serves 4

1 pound fettuccine
2 cups low-fat or fat-free milk
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons extra-spicy seasoning blend
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, egg yolk and seasoning blend in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir in drained fettuccine and Parmesan cheese. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts.  Season to taste with salt and freshly-ground pepper.

Garlic Parmesan Broiled Tomatoes
Serves 4

4 beefsteak or other vine-ripened tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat broiler. Halve tomatoes crosswise (through the equator) and place flesh-side up on a baking sheet. Brush tops with olive oil and season with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Combine Parmesan cheese and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each tomato half.  Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the tomatoes soften. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.

Coconut Macaroons
Makes 24 cookies

2/3 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 14-ounce bag shredded sweetened coconut (about 3 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt. Fold in the coconut until well-incorporated.  Drop by tablespoonful onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

TELL US: What are your favorite quick, spicy meals?

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at

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Comments (648)

  1. passport82 says:

    The recipe for the alfredo is awful. I tried it last night. The milk sauce added nothing–just tasted like hot milk. I highly recommend further saving money and calories by just having some whole wheat pasta with the cheese sprinkled on top. You'll taste more of the cheese.

  2. Don says:

    What is "extra-spicy seasoning blend"?

  3. […] the original Healthy Eats – Food post here: . There was a neat looking noodle recipe too. And some sort of coconut cookie recipe, if you like […]

  4. Ron says:

    That fettucine healthy? Please. It's mainly just carbs and cheese. If you're about to cook something like that, do yourself a favour and use real cream and cut back on the cheese. The result tastes better, is easier to make and is at least as (un)healthy as this.

  5. April says:

    These dishes are fast, but hardly appetizing or healthy.

    • Ronald says:

      Go for healthy meals. Our body needs healthy nutrients to function normally for our daily tasks. Talking about meals, I always search for new recipes that I can enjoy cooking at the same time taste good.
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  6. Robin says:

    Wow, thanks for responding and putting so much effort into your answer. Of course, I completely agree. :-)

  7. TheStumbleUponChef says:

    I made the tomatoes! They were awesome. I am going to post the recipe for them on my blog :D
    Look for it on my site with what I thought about it:

  8. text donate says:

    Yes, they are all cheap and easy to prepare. Perhaps not the healthiest, but remember you are splitting it across several people. Most likely you would need to make some other dish to go along, but this is a cheap start and pretty tasty. Im trying the spicy fettuccini tonight with chicken breast. mmmmMMM! If you want to give back and help victims of the tsunami in Japan or tornadoes in Alabama, send a text. Its simple and takes seconds. There are numbers for several hundred causes at text donate.

  9. you have a greatf blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  10. kysunflower says:

    Looks yummy, will try the pasta and tomatoes, but I don't eat sugar

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