Iron Chef Cat Cora Reveals Her Secret to Feeding a Large Family During Quarantine

Celebrity chef Cat Cora knows that people around the world are cooking at home now more than ever. Fortunately, she has some advice for all of us, especially those who are experimenting in the kitchen for the first time.

PureWow recently sat down to chat (via Zoom, of course) with Cora about her latest partnership with Pepsi and their upcoming event, “Dinner & A Movie.” On Friday, May 15, the company invites viewers to order takeout from a local restaurant before tuning in to a special YouTube Premiere screening of the award-winning documentary A Fine Line.

During the interview, the Iron Chef revealed tips for those who aren’t used to cooking for their families “seven days a week, three times a day, at least.”

“What I tell people is, create a meal plan if you can and think ahead,” said Cora. “I try to talk to people about how to cook on a budget. I also tell them to use what they have on hand as much as possible and repurpose leftovers as much as possible, which I know is not the most appealing thing to do. Use your freezer more because things last longer so you can bulk up a little bit and put it in the freezer—frozen vegetables, frozen fruits, chicken, fish, meat—and it cuts down on the number of times you need to go to the store. Also, stock up on canned goods. Things like beans have a lot of protein. Rice, pasta and canned vegetables are all things that will last for a while.”

“I'm using more frozen and canned foods than I’ve ever used. And I'm not ashamed to say it's saving us during this time and it's also cheaper. So, if you don’t have an income coming in, which we don’t right now, it's cheaper, it's easier, it's faster,” she continued.

The 53-year-old entrepreneur also opened up about how her cooking habits have changed and what dishes are key to feeding her family of six: sheet-tray meals.

“We have a big family, so using sheet trays and adding chicken and vegetables and cooking it all at once to make one big dinner is very helpful as well. What’s really changed for me, since I’ve always loved to cook when I’m home, is I’m just cooking more.”

Want to take Cora's advice and try a sheet-tray meal for dinner tonight? Here are 50 sheet-pan chicken ideas.