The CrossFit Open starts tomorrow!

If you are a CrossFitter and haven’t signed up yet, I encourage you to do so. You can come up with a million excuses not to, but do it anyways! It gives you a chance to feel the butterflies of nervousness and to see what you are capable of.

I signed up yesterday and, while I haven’t trained as much this year as I have in years past, I am looking forward to some friendly competition and my ever-enduring quest to beat Jon Lipp. I have faced the fact that I have no chance of qualifying for Regionals, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it 100% in the Open workouts. Stay tuned to my Instagram feed and this site as I will be posting my results. Okay. Enough on The Open, time for the meal plan…

The meal plan tester this week was:Drew Pearson of Geaux CrossFit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I worked out at Geax CrossFit back in 2012 when I was in town for the National Bowling Championships. I met Mr. Bujanda and Amber Leonard while there. While I only worked out with them a few times and we haven’t seen each other since, I consider them friends to this day.

Drew has been a member of the site since June 5, 2013. He and I have had many email conversations over the past 20 months and we hope to bring a seminar to Baton Rouge sometime soon.

Here are a few pics that Drew took while testing this meal plan:

Salmon Prep
Moroccan Salmon
Thighs on The Big Green Egg
Nice Thighs, Drew!
Chipotle Bison Chili with Butternut Squash

Sign up for the open, feel the butterflies, test yourself and, most importantly,…

“Keeping It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Throw back to the time I bowled a 233…)


Approximate Meal Plan Cost As Prescribed:

Chain grocery store (Kroger): $175.00
Warehouse store (Costco or Sam’s): $150.00

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 15.1 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 Brisket with Raisin Sauce, place it in the slow cooker, on a sheet pan in case it overflows, and cook in your garage overnight.
  2. Prepare the Butternut Squash Lasagne and get it in the oven. We are going to continue prepping while that cooks, which is about 90 minutes. The last thing you’ll do is remove the lasagne from the oven and allow it to cool overnight.
  3. Marinate your Honey Sesame Chicken Thighs and store them in the fridge.
  4. Prepare the Asparagus and Mushrooms Almondine. I recommend pairing this with the Chicken Thighs and the Moroccan Salmon, so I’d make a double or triple batch if doing so. Cool this on a sheet pan in the fridge as quickly as possible to maintain a bright green color. You can also steam and shock the asparagus separately, make the mushroom, almond, coconut milk mixture and then, once both are cooled, fold them together. That would be a total ninja move!
  5. Remove your butternut squash lasagne from the oven and allow it to cool overnight in the fridge. When the time comes, cut it into 8 slices and portion it up. Each portion is 3 blocks and this refrigerates for up to a week or freezes for up to 6 months.
  6. Clean up the kitchen, pour yourself a cup of tea, and sleep in a cool, dark room because tomorrow’s a big day! Actually, they’re all big days. Think about it.

In cooking session two: 

  1. Portion out your Brisket and blend up the raisins and cooking juices to make your sauce. Top each brisket portion with sauce and container up the extra sauce for use elsewhere. Refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
  2. Now, you have two options. You can make the Chipotle Bison Chili in your slow cooker (which will probably need to be done in 2 batches) or you can cook it on the stove top. If you slow cooker it, place it on a sheet pan and cook overnight in the garage. If you do it in a pot on the stove top, make sure you have at least a 12 quart pot when starting out as this is a big batch. You can also cut the recipe in half. Either way, this portions out into 11 3-block meals and freezes wonderfully.
  3. Prepare the Moroccan Salmon and portion it up with some of your Asparagus and Mushroom Almondine. Refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to 6 months.
  4. Clean up the kitchen and polish up that sink!

In finishing session:

  1. If you went slow cooker with the chili, portion it out at this point and refrigerate/freeze
  2. Grill or sear your Honey Sesame Chicken Thighs and portion them out with the remainder of your Mushroom and Asparagus Almondine. Refrigerate/freeze those babies and smile because you’ll look forward to that meal for sure!
  3. Sit back and take it all in. Your Paleo Bank Account is stocked and you are ready to rock the CrossFit Open! You are a Culinary Ninja who is ready to tackle life with energy, clarity, and confidence. Be sure to tell your friends about!

Moroccan Salmon

Notes: This is a great preparation all around. It tastes great, it freezes well, and it will help those of you who “don’t like salmon” eat salmon. Load it up and pair it with some of the asparagus and mushroom almondine below.

Honey Sesame Chicken Thighs

Notes: This is an old-school recipe from the second shoot I did for the site. By watching this video, you can see how far we’ve come in 2.5 years. I recommend marinating these thighs for as long as possible (up to two days) to ensure the flavor penetrates. However, you can get a decent result by mixing this recipe up and grilling/searing right away. Pair these with the asparagus and mushroom almondine below.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Notes: This is a recipe that is coming out on While I have not released the video yet, you can find the recipe by clicking on the picture or heading above. This is possibly my favorite Paleo/Zone meal ever! Make it and make lots of it because it won’t last long…

Chipotle Chili with Butternut Squash

Notes: Drew (the plan tester) used ground pork instead of buffalo and you can do the same. Any ground protein will work and you can adjust the heat by adding more or less chipotle.

Beef Brisket with Raisin Sauce

Notes: The only slow cooker meal this week, be sure to cook the brisket until tender and sear it at the start for best results. If it is still tough after the recommended cooking time, keep cooking. I’d even go as far as 24 hours on low to achieve proper results.

Asparagus and Mushroom Almondine

Notes:  This is a tasty vegetable side dish that would pair well with the Moroccan Salmon or the Honey Sesame Chicken thighs this week. Just remember that when you freeze vegetables, water is released. You can either drain the water when reheating, or suck it up and enjoy it!

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