Cat Cora's Fresh and Frugal Meals
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.
"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."
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!
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."
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:
Watch Cat prepare another entrée on Oprah's stage!
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.
"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!
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