Cat Cora helps Robin break her family free from a frozen food rut.
Feeling the pinch at the grocery store? Tired of frozen foods and takeout? Imagine what you could do with free lessons from the chefs you love to watch on television.

Robin, a mother of two, is desperate to free her family from their frozen food rut. "We've kind of turned into a microwave family," she says. "I find that I go to the store and I've spent $75 to $100 and I don't even have any meat."

Iron Chef's Cat Cora—also the mother of two—is ready to break Robin's mealtime blues. For 48 hours, Cat will be Robin's right hand in reestablishing her kitchen.

Robin's often-repeated chicken dish
When Robin does cook, she rotates between the same three dishes—chicken, rice and spaghetti.

"Honestly, I wouldn't go ooh-ahh over this," Robin says. "I want something that looks nice but also is affordable and nutritious."

Robin—not to mention her family—is ready for a little variety. "Imagine if you made something that was even better, even healthier, even fresher," Cat says. "That's why I'm here."
Robin shows Cat Cora how she shops for groceries.
Robin spends a lot of time at the grocery store—a trip to the store every other day!

The bulk of Robin's money is spent in the frozen food aisle—and not all the dinners get eaten. "I would get [a steak dinner] because Jalen likes green beans and mashed potatoes," she says. "He probably wouldn't eat the Salisbury steak, [so] I'd probably just throw that away."

With food being wasted, why doesn't Robin just cook fresh? "[Frozen is] easy, and I know how it's going to taste," she says.

At the end of Robin's shopping trip, she's spendt $122.78. Now, Cat's ready to show her how to really shop!
Cat Cora shows Robin the right way to shop.
Cooking healthy meals for your family doesn't have to cost a fortune. Cat teaches Robin how to make a plan, buy fresh and save. "First of all, I always have my list," Cat says. "The statistic is literally that people spend 50 percent more than they need to if they don't have a list."

Get all Cat's money-saving grocery shopping tips.

Cat also spends some time reacquainting Robin with some forgotten sections of the store—the produce and the meat departments.

After a turn around the store, it's time to total Cat's trip. She spends only $49.98—a savings of $80! "You had about total, I think, in your basket enough food for three meals and a lot of stuff that you may not use," Cat says. "I had enough food in there for three meals plus your lunch and some snacks."

Robin is amazed. "I'm going to preplan," she says. "It's a whole new world."
Cat Cora shows Robin how to prepare healthy family meals.
Now that they have the necessary ingredients, Cat's going to teach Robin how to use them. Cat's first mission? To create a quick and healthy replacement for breakfast out of a box. In just 10 minutes, she turns egg whites, turkey bacon and low-fat cheese into a delicious tortilla wrap.

Robin says this is a recipe she can definitely handle. "Cat's tortilla just looked like it was made with love and like it was hearty, healthy and just something that you would want to put in your mouth."

Try Cat's breakfast tortillas at home!

Once the kids are off to school, Cat shows Robin how to combine leftovers into a super quick lunchtime stir-fry.

Get the recipe for Cat's spicy chicken and mango stir-fry.

Its dinnertime, and guess what the family isn't eating—chicken and rice! "We're going to do some jerk pork chops," Cat says. "I'm also going to do sweet potato french fries."

Make it tonight: This meal saves time and money. Completed in less than 30 minutes, the entire thing only cost $9 to make!

Watch Cat prepare another entrée on Oprah's stage! Watch
Robin's family says Cat's visit was life-changing.
Robin says Cat's visit was a truly life-changing experience. "Honestly, I didn't realize that I was going to actually learn and be taught things that I can use for the rest of my life," she says.

Now, Robin says she cooks for her family every single day—and saves money in the process.

"Every morning they get up and they want to know, 'Are you gonna make that food that Cat taught you how to make?'" she says. "She set the bar really high."

Until Robin changed her family's eating habits, she says she didn't realize her son, Jalen, went to school hungry every day. "Cat made that nice hearty wrap and then one day she made the pancakes, and he just ate and ate and ate," Robin says. "He came home from school in a better mood. I think he had a better day academically. I did not realize that little tiny thing wasn't enough for my growing boy here."

Get Cat's seven-day, mix-and-match menu.
Cat Cora says cooking doesn't have to be difficult.
The biggest takeaway from Cat and Robin's crash cooking course? Preparing fresh, healthy meals for your family doesn't have to be hard.

"It's just a matter of getting in there, having the desire to cook for your family, cooking with love and just have fun with it," Robin says.

And don't be afraid to use your leftovers! "If you don't use them, you might as well take a $20 bill out of your pocket and put it right in the trash," Cat says.

In fact, Cat says you can feed a family of four for a week on only $150.

Ready to get started? Download her shopping list! PDF

9 ways to save at supermarket

More family-friendly recipes from celebrity chefs

Tyler Florence's healthy and cheap meals  

Keep Reading

Get All the Celebrity Chef Recipes
Try more than 50 recipes from Cat, Tyler and Curtis! From apple juice oatmeal to cinnamon chicken, foods your family will love.
Tyler Florence's Healthy Meals
Making low-fat meals doesn't have to cost a fortune. Tyler teaches a mom his family's favorite recipes.

More on this Topic


Next Story