I meant to post this yesterday, but was unable to due to LA traffic. I left margins in my schedule so that I would have time to hop on the computer, but the margins were quickly filled by enduring 2 hours to drive the 7 miles! And then, when I got to my gate, where I could jam out the last details of this post, the internet was not cooperating.

Anyhow. Here we are with an amazing meal plan, ready and waiting for you. I titled this week’s plan “Make Margins”. You see, I just worked 40 hours in two days and drove 700 miles in that time. When I drive, I typically listen to sermons. I have a few favorites, like this guy, and this guy, and this guy, but sometimes, I just tune into what I can find on the radio. It amazes me how 99% of the time, I can relate the sermon to what is going on in my life.

On Tuesday, I heard a guy preaching about making margins in your life. You know, time to rest and relax and if you are always going from one thing directly to the other, pressure builds up and a seal eventually will burst. It really hit home because I have a tendency to do this. My family usually takes the brunt of this when I lose my temper, so I am on a mission to change this. So, make margins, guys. If I wouldn’t have yesterday, I would have missed my flight! Minimize pressure, take time to rest and don’t forget that relaxation is part of the balance of life.

On with the food!!!

This week’s meal plan tester: Michael and Giny Diaz of Grand Prairie, TX.  Michael is a CrossFitter who is Level 1 Certified and does his own programing from home. Giny is a runner who is transitioning into CF and training with Michael. They have 3 children who are very active, including 10 year old boy and girl twins, who dance competitively.

Michael and Giny hit the ground running with this weeks selections, choosing some of their old favorites and adding in some new and different options. As Michael stated “We had so much fun cooking this plan!  We got to retest some old favorites with the Pineapple Chicken with Broccoli and the Orange Peel Chicken and even better we have found some new favorites that will become staples in our family’s Paleo Bank!”

Here are some of the pictures from Michael and Giny’s cooking adventure:

15.12 Groceries
Chili Lime Pollo Asado with Chipotle Jicama Slaw
Pineapple Chicken with Broccoli
Portioned out Meals for the Paleo Bank Account

Michael and Giny did an amazing job of testing this weeks plan! They now have some new recipes in their repertoire and a new staple for dressing and marinade with the Chipotle Chive Dressing.  Thank you for the time and effort you put forward in completing this task! People like you are what help keep me going on this journey called life and in the Paleo Test Kitchen. You are greatly appreciated!

My sister, Katie, has been helping with these plans for two months now and pretty much, single handedly built today’s post. She even did the step by step instructions on the plan page, so be sure to let us know how she did. It is my goal to hand this off to her completely, while just overseeing it. Then, you’ll have “Meal Plan Wednesdays With Sister Kate!” And, she’ll have a chance to share her story about being my brother while growing up and how she is currently a mother of two (both under 4 years old) while simultaneously a wife of a fireman paramedic (Cunado Dale). She’ll probably recount the time I threw a bottle of Windex at her head, she ducked, and it shattered the fish tank that was on the dresser behind her! Needless to say, she survived, but the fish didn’t. I bet the were wishing they had some margins built into their need for oxygen, eh?

Alright, guys. Make it a great day. I am off to Minnesota and Iowa to teach some tricks and inspire people to…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(With my boy, “Cheddar”, at CrossFit Ohana yesterday…)


Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store: $ 229.00 (Sprout’s & Kroger)
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $195.00

(Michael and Giny bought most of their produce and other ingredients at Sprout’s. They purchased the whole chickens and chicken breasts from Costco. And finished off their grocery list with a few items from Kroger’s)

The amount you will spend will depend on your geographic location and how much you rely on bulk purchases. As an example, you can get 1 quart of extra light olive oil at Kroger for $19.99 or you can get 4 quarts at Costco for $16.50. You follow? Meat and produce will also be less at the warehouse stores, but might require you purchase more than you’ll need for this plan.

Customize Your Plan and Shop It Up!

I have created a customize-able grocery list in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Even if you’re not good with Excel, I’ve set it up in a foolproof way that even “The Jo!” could handle. Follow these instructions:

  1. Open the document and click on the tab at the bottom that says “Menu item & Ingredient Brkdown”.
  2. At the top, you’ll see the number “1” in bold just below each menu item. You can change this number to correspond with the number of portions that you’d like to make. Say you really like muffins and want 3 dozen, you’d change the “1” below Bacon Berry Muffins to a “3” and the grocery quantities will be updated.
  3. Click back to the tab that says “Meal Plan 15.9 Grocery List” and your quantities will be updated.
  4. Print out the grocery list.
  5. Compare what you need to what you have on hand and finalize your list. Then, head to the grocery store and make your purchases swiftly and efficiently.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

I want you to knock this out in one shopping session, two cooking sessions, and one short finishing session. I’ll explain these now, but want you to scroll down to read my notes on each meal below. They are listed under each picture.

In cooking session one:

  1. Prepare your Beef and Butternut Braise, place it in the slow cooker, set the slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan, and place it in your garage to cook overnight.
  2. Prepare the Pineapple Chicken with Broccoli. Eat a portion to fuel your cooking session. Package and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
  3. Prepare the Sesame Orange Peel Chicken. Container this up and refrigerate or freeze.
  4. Clean up the kitchen.

In cooking session two: 

  1. Portion out your Beef and Butternut Braise and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
  2. Clean out the crock of your slow cooker and load it up with the Pork Chili California. Place the slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan and set it up in your garage to cook overnight
  3. Prepare the Chili Lime Pollo Asado, tear into one of those fresh cooked chicken halves and container up the rest. This meal can be portioned out in halves or quarters depending upon your appetite.
  4. Prepare the Chipotle Chive Dressing and Jicama Slaw. This is a great addition to the Pollo Asado and the dressing can be used on a salad or as a marinade.
  5. Prepare the veggies for the Pork Chili California and refrigerate. Cook these vegetables prior to each meal for the best results.
  6. Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!

In finishing session:

  1. Portion out the Pork Chili California and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
  2. Sit back and take it all in. You just made a beautiful deposit in the Paleo Bank Account and you should be proud of yourself. Be sure to tell your friends about PaleoNick.com!

Beef and Butternut Braise

Notes: The testers really enjoyed this meal!

Pork Chili California

Notes: Prep the veggies for this dish and prepare before each serving is eaten for best results.

Pineapple Chicken with Broccoli

Notes:  This meal is super quick to prepare, equally balanced and sure to please the crowds!

Chili Lime Pollo Asado – Barbecued Chicken

Notes:  A great new twist on BBQ Chicken with a little extra kick and pairs wonderfully with the Jicama Slaw with Chipotle Chive Dressing. This was the testers favorite meal from this weeks selections.

Sesame Orange Peel Chicken

Notes: The testers really enjoyed this meal, but would suggest using orange zest instead of the orange peels that the recipe calls for. They found the taste a little overwhelming and the pieces hard to chew.

Chipotle Jicama Slaw with Chipotle Chive Dressing

Notes:  This was the testers favorite surprise this week. They had never had Jicama before and were very pleased with the outcome of not only the taste, but the amazing Chipotle Chive Dressing that dresses this crispy sensation of crunchie raw veggies. If your out of Massie’s Mayo, you’ll have to mix up a new batch for this one.

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