Robby Melvin

Robby Melvin is professional chef and Test Kitchen director for Southern Living Magazine.

Highlights:
* Honed his skills as a chef under Frank Sitt and Chris Hastings
* Former chef de cuisine at Hot and Hot Fish Club
* Work has been featured in Food & Wine, Real Simple, Coastal Living, and more
Berry-Oat Crumble
Rating: Unrated
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Great desserts don’t have to be fussy to hit the spot. Case in point: this simple blueberry crumble, which allows the fruit to shine under a blanket of delicious oat-walnut topping. Even though this dessert is fit for special diets, this dish doesn’t scream “healthy,” far from it. Not only is this recipe naturally gluten-free, it’s also easy to make dairy-free, too, if you substitute the butter on top with coconut oil, or skip it entirely. P.S. You’ll need a food processor to turn steel-cut oats into oat flour.
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Cheesy One-Pot Pasta
Rating: Unrated
15
This crowd-pleasing, vegetarian pasta recipe is begging to be in your weekly roster. I mean, what convincing do you need other than “cheesy” and “pasta”? It’s essentially a stovetop mac and cheese, without the fussy step of making a bechamel to thicken the sauce. Quick-roasted tomatoes add welcome acidity and pops of juicy flavor to contrast the rich cheeses, and a topping of Parmesan-infused panko breadcrumbs take the whole thing to the next level. It’s comforting, easy, and delicious, just what weeknight dinners should be.
Potato-Crusted Arctic Char
Rating: Unrated
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Balanced dinners don’t have to be boring. Case in point: this quick recipe, which pairs fish and green beans with hash brown potatoes. The hash browns in question create a crispy crust that coats each filet of fish, adding a delightful layer of decadence. A slick of butter on the green beans helps fend off feelings of restraint, as well. Pro tip: This crust will work on a variety of fish, if you can’t find arctic char. Choose an equal weight for the filets to keep cooking time similar.
This extremely fast recipe gets dinner on the table in just 15 minutes, and manages to pack in a ton of flavor, too. That’s thanks to the Indian-inspired spice mix—a fragrant combination of cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and fresh ginger—which coats the quick-roasted shrimp. You’ll serve this alongside a lightly sweetened, vinegar-spiked cucumber mixture and white basmati rice to soak up all the delicious flavors. P.S. The smashing of the cucumbers might seem like an unnecessary step, but it coaxes out extra juices from the cucumbers, which marry with the other sauce ingredients.
Spring Pasta Salad
Rating: Unrated
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This flavorful and quick pasta recipe features the best of spring’s bounty. Peppery radishes and crisp sugar snap peas nestle up to casarecce, a twisted type of pasta that allows the delicious sauce to cling to its folds. (If you can’t find it, another short, textured shape such as penne or gemelli will work well.) A honey-mustard vinaigrette—spiked with shallot and lemon zest, thank you very much—coats each bite, while a shower of mint and salty ricotta salata at the end adds a bit of decadence. Serve with rosé or white wine and enjoy the quick prep time and minimal dish clean up.
If you’re looking for a quick dinner and a fresh take on burger night, look no further. These simple lamb burgers come together quickly with just a few ingredients. A salt-and-pepper patty gets quickly grilled, then topped with a gooey slice of Havarti cheese. All that’s left to do is stir onion-y chives and peppery basil into some mayo and you’ve got dinner. To bulk it up, serve with roasted sweet potato wedges, which play well with the juicy lamb and salty cheese, or throw together a quick tomato-cucumber salad. Pair with a tart white wine that can cut through the dish’s richness.
Summer Squash Farro Bowl
Rating: Unrated
1
Look no further for your next satisfying, delicious, vegetarian dinner. This healthful recipe balances building blocks to create a healthful meal–including beans, vegetables, whole grains, and avocado—and does it all in just 35 minutes. It’s amazing what properly roasting vegetables and chickpeas will do: the beans become crispy and chewy, the zucchini and yellow squash delectably caramelized, and the onion redolent with umami. For a gluten-free version, substitute short-grain brown rice or quinoa for the farro. Pairing tip: This dish goes well with a light, earthy red like pinot noir or a nearly effervescent white like vinho verde.
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Salmon Patties
Rating: Unrated
New!
If you’re a fan of crab cakes, then here’s a new recipe to tempt you: Simple salmon patties that make use of two pantry staples: steel-cut oats and canned salmon, which are flavored with scallions, Dijon, and parsley.
It’s hard to beat fried rice when it comes to tasty comfort foods and this recipe makes good on the dish’s reputation. The rice is packed with all-stars—we’re talking crispy shiitake mushrooms, salty soy sauce, and spicy ginger, among other things. You’ll top it off with frizzled eggs, aka eggs that are fried until the edges are crispy. It’s an easy vegetarian dinner that goes long on flavor while staying short on time and dishes. Seriously, the whole thing can be on the table in under 30 minutes. Pro-tip: Great fried rice relies on cooked and then cooled grains of white rice, which allows them to get crispy in the pan. To make this an easy every week meal, freeze pre-cooked portions of white rice so that you can defrost overnight and be ready to go.
Summer Squash Farro Bowl
Rating: Unrated
1
Look no further for your next satisfying, delicious, vegetarian dinner. This healthful recipe balances building blocks to create a healthful meal–including beans, vegetables, whole grains, and avocado—and does it all in just 35 minutes. It’s amazing what properly roasting vegetables and chickpeas will do: the beans become crispy and chewy, the zucchini and yellow squash delectably caramelized, and the onion redolent with umami. For a gluten-free version, substitute short-grain brown rice or quinoa for the farro. Pairing tip: This dish goes well with a light, earthy red like pinot noir or a nearly effervescent white like vinho verde.
Salmon Patties
Rating: Unrated
New!
If you’re a fan of crab cakes, then here’s a new recipe to tempt you: Simple salmon patties that make use of two pantry staples: steel-cut oats and canned salmon, which are flavored with scallions, Dijon, and parsley.
It’s hard to beat fried rice when it comes to tasty comfort foods and this recipe makes good on the dish’s reputation. The rice is packed with all-stars—we’re talking crispy shiitake mushrooms, salty soy sauce, and spicy ginger, among other things. You’ll top it off with frizzled eggs, aka eggs that are fried until the edges are crispy. It’s an easy vegetarian dinner that goes long on flavor while staying short on time and dishes. Seriously, the whole thing can be on the table in under 30 minutes. Pro-tip: Great fried rice relies on cooked and then cooled grains of white rice, which allows them to get crispy in the pan. To make this an easy every week meal, freeze pre-cooked portions of white rice so that you can defrost overnight and be ready to go.
A new recipe for a chicken dinner is always welcome, and this one hits all the marks. It comes together in just over a half hour in one pot with a short and simple recipe list. Can you say “Winner winner chicken dinner?” You’ll start the chicken thighs out on the stove top to make sure the skin gets perfectly crispy, and then nestle them with onions, garlic, and radishes for a quick roast in the oven. Finally, a knob of butter, a glug of lemon juice, and a shower of chives finishes the dish off, and you’ll serve with ample slices of toasted baguette for sopping up the juices.
These hearty sandwiches are bursting at the seam with classic Banh Mi elements, like pickled vegetables, fragrant cilantro, and spicy Sriracha mayo, and tender roast pork. The key to making the meat extra flavorful is a quick glaze of sesame oil, lime juice, honey, and rice vinegar that soaks into the tenderloin as it roasts. Best of all: the recipe comes together from everyday pantry ingredients and vegetables. These are generous portions so there’s no side required, but you might want to get extra napkins ready, since the messiness is in direct proportion to the sandwiches’ deliciousness.
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Sheet Pan Cod and Potatoes
Rating: Unrated
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Bright, light, and easy is the name of the game with this simple one-pan fish dinner. It all comes together on a single sheet pan thanks to strategic timing. You’ll start with creamy Yukon gold potatoes, add the cod next, and finally stir in chard leaves that wilt and char without turning limp. It all gets dressed up with a quick olive salsa that adds richness, acidity, and a little kick, too. The result is healthy but full of flavor, and perhaps best of all, takes only 15 minutes of hands-on time. Serve with a tart white wine or a medium-bodied rosé and enjoy the easy clean up.
Few meals are better than fresh grilled vegetables and nice salt and pepper grilled steak. Bright summer vegetable flavor takes on deep charred richness that complements the tender juicy meat. If you can’t find skirt steak, it’s okay to use sirloin, hanger, or strip steaks. We recommend using a large grill pan that covers 2 burners; if you have a smaller one, slice the steak in half so it cooks in the same amount of time. We think a side of buttery herbed rice or classic mashed potatoes would be the perfect finishing touch—as would a glass of slightly chilled red wine.
Olive Oil-Infused Vodka
Rating: Unrated
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The kitchen staple is used for sautéing, frying, drizzling, dipping, and baking, so why not add a bit of that sultry flavor to a cocktail? It’ll add a ton of smooth flavor and cut through the “bite” of the alcohol. Many recipes for olive oil cocktails ask you to incorporate a healthy dose of it into the drink through emulsification, making for viscous results. With this olive oil-infused vodka, there’s no need. You’re whisking olive oil and vodka over very low heat, freezing the mixture until the oil solidifies, and skimming it off. The olive oil subtly lingers in flavor but not consistency. Bottoms up.
It’s a new way of eating an old favorite: soft, sweet, no-cook oats served straight from the fridge.
Spice-Braised Short Ribs
Rating: Unrated
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They’re rich and smoky, lightly sweet, and tender through and through. One of the best parts? Most of the cooking time is hands off. Unlike many ribs that get seasoned right before browning, this rack gets salted at least 12 hours ahead of time. That’s because the salt is mixed right in with the marinade, giving it ample time to tenderize the meat. Then it gets gently cooked for about 3 hours, making for even more tender goodness. The dish is crowd-pleasing and easy to transport, meaning you can (and should!) take it to your next dinner party. Carry the ribs and sauce right in their pot then gently reheat them on the stove when you arrive. Pack the parsley mixture separately and sprinkle it on at the last minute.