Oprah & Chef Cora’s 7-Day Menu Challenge: Day 5

Bianca and I are DANCING into the kitchen this morning to see what day five of our 21 cheap, cheap, cheap meal menu courtesy of Chef Cat Cora and the all knowing Oprah has to offer…

Let’s start with breakfast!

Rizogalo (Creamy Breakfast Brown Rice Pudding)

We were glad that I had made a large batch of brown rice a few nights ago and put it in the fridge for later use.   That meant that our cooking time would be shorter this morning because we were so smart (and cute).

Rizogalo - Creamy Brown Breakfast Rice Pudding

We even ended up making about 3 videos to post with this process, but due to technical difficulties they were accidentally deleted on Bianca’s camera so you will have to just imagine me in my big fluffy robe standing by the stove stirring the RizagallawhateveritisIcannotpronounceitanywaysoprobablyagoodthingthevideothingdidnotworkout:

20 minutes into the recipe:

Holly:   What is happening here?   I can’t get this milk to boil.

30 minutes into the recipe:

Holly:   Whew!   Got the milk to boil and now I am being all fancy and tempering an egg by pouring 1/2 cup of boiling milk into the pre-mixed egg.   Now I am adding the tempered egg into the boiling milk along with our rice.   We will cook the rice mixture for another 20 minutes until it starts to thicken.

50 minutes into the recipe:

Holly:   I was supposed to be “continuously stirring” during the entire 20 minute thickening process, but I have three kids so that just isn’t feasible.   I spent the last 20 minutes feeding them since they couldn’t wait any longer.

60 minutes into the recipe:

Holly:   The kids are long gone from the breakfast table.   THIS IS NOT THICKENING!   I am going to go do my hair and get some clothes on.

75 minutes into the recipe:

Holly:   Seriously, this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.   I want that Chef Cat Cora over at my house ASAP to explain how to fit a 75 minute BREAKFAST recipe into my life.

90 minute into the recipe:

Holly:   It thickened!   Hurry Bianca!   Let’s eat it before it is lunch time.

The Verdict?

2/5 were patient enough to try and like it.

3/5 had toast and cold cereal at a normal time.

The post cooking reality report:

I can promise you without any uncertainty that I will never make this recipe again for breakfast.   It takes WAY too long (and we had pre-cooked rice!).   It is a sweet hot cereal rice pudding hybrid that was good, but again had very little substance to it.   It was too sweet for me for breakfast and not as filling as plain old oatmeal that I can whip up in less than 7 minutes.

We had a lot of it left over since only 2 of us ate it initially and it was portioned well for four.   We put it in the fridge and it is GONE…why? Because it makes a fabulous cold dessert or snack when you want something sweet.   YUM!   Despite being a super yummy   dessert it is unlikely I will make it again.

Crap…is it lunchtime already?

Farfalle and Herb Salad with Peas

So answer quickly without Googlingwhat shape is farfalle?

The shopping list only said farfalle and I searched the Wal-Mart pasta aisle high and low and nothing was labeled farfalle!   I finally just picked up something:

Pasta salad with peas and herbs

I guessed….wrong.

Farfalle is bowtie pasta for those of you playing at home.


The Verdict?

2/5 ate it.

3/5 looked at it and couldn’t find anything to pick out of it they wanted to eat.

The post cooking reality report:

I will not make this again.   No one really liked it.   It was very light.   I think it would be better with the addition of a protein and some nuts maybe…but the flavor was nothing spectacular.   The boys just said NO.   They are not big pasta eaters to begin with and this just had vegetables that they don’t like so they rebelled.

I have no idea if the portion size is appropriate.   I think this is a side dish instead of a main dish.

Let’s try a snack!

We decided to try this as a snack instead of a dinner accompaniment:

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Don’t be scared!   They tasted much better than they looked.

And the original photos fell prey to the previously mentioned accidental deletion – ugh!

The Verdict?

5/5 rave reviews.

The post cooking reality report:

I will make these again A LOT.   These were great as a snack and would be great as a side dish.   The kids loved them.   They took a little time to prepare, but the end product is worth it.

The portion size seems good.   We only had a few left over after snacktime.

What’s for dinner?

Southwestern Tuna Casserole

Southwestern Tuna Casserole

The Verdict?

5/6 LOVED this recipe (we had a 10 y/o guest for dinner)

1/6 didn’t like it.

The post cooking reality report:

I will not be making this recipe again.  

WHY?   5 people LOVED it!

Because I was the one who didn’t like it and there should be some sort of benefit to being the mom.

The recipe is straight-forward and the portion size is good.

That sums up day 5!   If you have missed anything here is a list of where to find days 1-4:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

And tomorrow is another day…


  1. I WILL be making the Southwestern Tuna Casserole again. It was YUMMY!

    And ditto on the Sweet Potato Fries! Though you gotta watch them because there is a very short time window between golden and black. However, they still tasted great – even the blackened ones 🙂

  2. Love you guys…so smart and so cute too. 🙂

  3. By the way – we are just going to have to get used to me being Admin – I cannot seem to logout of our system long enough to be myself (in more ways than one).


  4. It seems interesting that so many of the recipes on the list are lacking a good protein component. Rice, pastas, etc. ARE cheap…is that how she got such a low $$?

    And, I did know Farfalle! Reese lives for pasta, so I could have told you all sorts of pasta names and shapes that match!!

  5. I am so proud of you for sticking to this! I would have called for pizza after the first night. I would have missed all the fun though…then again, pizza and a glass of merlot sound pretty fun as well…

  6. Seems like you all might lose some weight this month in spite of all the carbs! 😉

    I think these posts might lend themselves to Holly’s Illustrated Life, which I miss with a passion. Much better than videos, IMHO.

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