This week Bianca and I tackled Chef Cat Cora’s 21 meal menu with the goal of staying under $150 for home cooked meals as seen on the Oprah show.   All the recipes appear on and you can visit each recipe by clicking on the recipe title. So let’s see what is for breakfast! Potato Frittata And here is where I yell “Please Chef Cora have mercy on my outside-the-kitchen-loving soul“! Potato Frittata Bianca started this recipe at 7 am.   We did not pre-cook the potatoes so she was starting from the very beginning. After much frustration, a few mild curse words whispered under our breaths and 2 hours later…TWO HOURS LATER…the frittata didn’t stay together and she ended up scrambling it to get it cooked through so we could eat. We finished in the kitchen this morning at 9:30.   That is 2 1/2 hours from start to finish.   It was very discouraging and quite unacceptable. At this point we don’t even care what it tastes like because we are hungry, grumpy and have low blood sugar and the boys are LONG GONE from the kitchen table…like 2 hours LONG GONE…in fact they are back looking for a mid-morning snack. The Verdict? 2/5 tasted it but were too irritated to even care. 3/5 had cold cereal and toast 2 hours before this was completed. The post cooking reality report: Never.   Never.   Never. Seriously, give a mom a break here.   If I had been doing this alone it would have been abandoned at about minute 45 so that I could PARENT my children. Surely lunch will be better! Lettuce “Gyros” with Tilapia and Yogurt Sauce Lettuce Gyros with Tilapia and Yogurt Sauce This recipe was pretty simple to assemble.   It did not take much time.   I had never cooked fish before so this was a new experience for me.   I often order Tilapia when in a restaurant so I was anxious to find out how easy it was to make at home. The Verdict? 2/5 thought the fish tasted good but didn’t quite understand the yogurt sauce and lettuce part. 3/5 thought the fish smelled yucky and wouldn’t try the dish.   at.   all. The post cooking reality report: I will not make this again.   I will try making fish again.   I do appreciate being forced into trying something new, but this recipe was extremely bland.   When I think lettuce wraps I think of Pei Wei’s spicy chicken lettuce wraps which are one of my favorite things in the whole wide world and this fell flat. The portion size is probably good – hard to tell when the majority of eaters refused.   I think breaking the kids into fish gently would be a better idea than wrapping it in LETTUCE which they don’t like either would be a better idea – fish tacos anyone? Let’s eat a snack not on this menu! I think we all deserve some nice big chocolate chip cookies with apple slices and cheese…yum! It is dinner time! Three Bean Salad with Mint and Chicken Strips day-6-dinnerjpeg The Verdict? 0/5 liked this recipe. 5/5 picked out the chicken strips and a few beans and then ate left-overs from the fridge. The post cooking reality report: I will not be making this recipe again.   It was easy, but nobody liked it.   The different elements – beans, mint, chicken, onions – didn’t seem to taste very good together. This is the first recipe that no one liked. Today was a pretty rough food day. On other days we may have spent some time in the kitchen but we ended up with food that people consumed.   All day today was frustrating to spend time (and money) cooking food that no one liked or took so long they didn’t eat it.   I am thankful that this day was not early in the week or we would have totally given up and made more chocolate chip cookies… You can catch up with our Oprah-inspired 21 meal journey based on Chef Cat Cora’s menu- Day one Day two Day three Day four Day five

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  1. Well, I have to tell you that I’ve made the Gyros and they were spectacular. Did you add the onion/tomato/olive toppings??? The only difference with mine is that I used salmon because I had some in the freezer already.

    And for Susanne’s Comment: Cat Cora does have a kid.

  2. There’s something wrong with your frittata recipe–they should be easy. My tip? Slice the potatoes with a mandolin or Cuisinart and microwave them in a bowl with a little olive oil for 10 min. They’ll fry up in no time.

    For really easy fish tacos use good quality fish sticks, bagged shredded cabbage and make a sauce from plain yogurt, sour cream, mayo and spices.

  3. The gyros look disgusting. I’m sorry for saying that about something you worked on, but there is no way that would go in my mouth. It kind of looks like it has already been in someone’s mouth and then reintroduced to the plate.

    I have loved reading this series. Real world testing of this stuff is so helpful.

  4. I make fish tacos with tilapia and they are tasty. I don’t use a recipe, but this is how I make ’em.
    I mix cumin, garlic powder and salt – let’s say a 1/2 tsp each, and sprinkle it on the fillets. Heat olive oil in a skillet, stove set at medium high, and cook until lightly browned on each side and flaky – only a few minutes
    Use a couple of forks to pull fish apart into small pieces and squeeze lime juice over it.
    Serve in a corn tortilla with prepackaged coleslaw mix and sauce made from equal parts sour cream and mayo with lime juice and cumin to taste.
    Done in about 20 minutes.
    Take that Cat Cora!

  5. This is killing me!! I have to echo HeatherW’s comment. I’m amazed you’ve even tried some of this stuff!! Mint with beans? Ewww. I’m icked out and it’s not on my table.

    (There’s a goat cheese and broccoli fritatta recipe in Rachel Ray’s 365 Meals book that’s actually delicious and takes about fifteen to twenty minutes prep time and 10 in cooking, so don’t give up on all fritattas!!)

  6. I make a really good potato frittata that only takes about 20 minutes. I shred up the potatoes and then steam them in the skillet, which I think cuts down on the cooking time.
    It’s been really interesting reading your experiences with this menu. I don’t think I could bring myself to cook 3 meals a day for a whole week.

  7. OK, have you sent this to Oprah…that you guys are doing this? You should be featured on the show & share YOUR experiences with Cat’s menu. I’m impressed you’ve tried as much as you have. Most of it has sounded gross & I wouldn’t have tried as much as you have!