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

Serve a meal full of dishes that cost $5 or less to make. Not $5 per person, but five smackers each for a fabulous main dish, side dish and dessert that serves 4.

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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

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

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:

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 www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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